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EPA to Hold Public Meeting on Proposed Permits for Animal Feeding Operations

Release Date: 8/14/1998
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 has scheduled a public meeting and a formal public hearing Aug. 20 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to explain and to obtain comments about proposed permits regulating concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

      A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is required by the Clean Water Act if pollutants will be discharged into our nation's waterways. These permits spell out the types and amounts of allowable discharges and are written to protect human health and preserve aquatic life.

      EPA proposes to reissue the CAFO general permit which prohibits discharges from CAFOs except during catastrophic rainfall. Also a new permit is being proposed for CAFOs located in watersheds which have been affected by excessive nutrient runoff. In addition to prohibiting discharges, this permit also restricts how manure from these operations is spread on land.

      The meetings will be held in the auditorium of the Corbett Center Student Union on the campus of New Mexico State University. A meeting between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. will provide an informal setting for citizens to ask questions about the proposed permits.

      The formal hearing, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., will allow for public input into the permitting process. Citizens' comments will be officially recorded and EPA staff will respond to these comments before the final permits are issued. Concerns presented at the hearing will be considered when the final permits are issued.

      Registration will begin 30 minutes before the formal hearing. Those registered will be allowed five minutes to make a presentation, voice their opinion or ask questions. Speakers will be heard in the order they register. Others who do not register but wish to speak will be heard as time permits. Written comments also will be received.

      Similar meetings were held earlier in Texas and Oklahoma.

      A summary of the proposed permits as well as the complete text may be found on the Internet at Hard copies may be obtained by contacting Ms. Wilma Turner at EPA Region 6 at (214) 665-7516.