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Factory Farms Regulation - House Bill 152

From the Ohio Environmental Council:

The Ohio House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee will be hearing proponent, OPPONENT, AND INTERESTED PARTY testimony on House Bill 152 on Wednesday, May 7, 2003, at 8:30 a.m. in Statehouse Room 116.

Legislators need to hear from YOU on this bill. To view a complete list of Ohio House Agriculture & Natural Resource Committee members and view their addresses and phone numbers, go to: www.house.state.oh.us/jsps/Committee.jsp?ID=4

Ohio House Agriculture Committee members particularly need to hear from rural residents who live next to facilities with pollution problems - especially those that are avoiding state permits by building facilities just under the regulatory size threshold!!

Write or call your state representative; contact House Agriculture Committee members; or testify at the hearing! If you are able to testify on this bill-either at Wednesday's hearing or at other future hearings, please contact Susan Studer King at 614-487-7506 or susan@theoec.org

The message:

The changes that the HB 152 proposes are the bare minimum to satisfy federal law. Ohio can and should do more to better regulate factory farms.

Even with H.B. 152, the following problems will still persist with Ohio law:

  • The size thresholds do not adequately address environmental risk or reflect the current status of livestock agriculture in Ohio - namely the large number of livestock operations constructed just under the regulatory threshold to avoid permitting requirements and Agriculture Department oversight.
  • No surface water quality monitoring is currently required of large livestock operations.
  • Despite recent studies which have shown air emissions from large livestock operations may constitute a public health hazard, no air pollution controls are currently required.

Please amend HB 152 to address these concerns!

About HB 152:

House Bill 152, sponsored by Rep. Reinhard (R-82-Bucyrus) would update Ohio's Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities Law to comply with recent changes to federal law federal law so that the ODA may accept the final transfer from the Ohio EPA of that portion of animal feeding facilities regulation that is still controlled by the Ohio EPA - namely the issuance of federal Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

The bill appears to do no more/no less than the bare minimum to qualify for acceptance of delegation from the U.S. EPA to take this responsibility over from Ohio EPA. To view the bill, go to: www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=125_HB_152 . You will note that the bill proposes to change animal unit calculations and replace them with "large, medium, and small" size thresholds, which are virtually identical to the current regulatory scheme.

The Ohio Environmental Council will be taking an "interested party" position on HB 152, as we view this as an opportunity to possibly amend Ohio law to be more environmentally protective and to close loopholes in existing law.

Background:

The Ohio General Assembly passed S.B. 141 in December 2000 which transferred regulatory authority of concentrated animal feeding facilities from Ohio EPA to Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). ODA finalized its state rules to implement this law in August 2002, authorizing it to issue state permits.

On February 12, 2003, U.S. EPA published new rules for large livestock operations. Ohio must now revise Ohio law (S.B. 141) in order to comply with these new federal rules: House Bill 152 attempts to do this.

Susan Studer King
Ohio Environmental Council
1207 Grandview Avenue, Suite 201

Not a member of Ohio Environmental Council yet? Join today at: www.theoec.org/join.html Your tax deductible donation will will be put to work right away to advocate for clean air and water and natural resource conservation--right here in Ohio.