Farms may be exempt from pollution reporting rules

DES MOINES - Des Moines Water Works and state environmental regulators are opposing an attempt in Congress to protect livestock farms from lawsuits and exempt them pollution-reporting rules.

A House bill that has 170 co-sponsors, including all of Iowa's delegation, would exempt manure from being considered a hazardous substance under the federal Superfund law.

The legislation would prevent farms from being held liable for manure spills and from having to report emissions, supporters say.

A similar bill is expected to be introduced soon in the Senate.

The bills "would make it harder for the state to be able to clean up sites or to enforce clean-water regulations from livestock feeding operations," said L.D. McMullen, general manager and chief executive of Des Moines Water Works, the utility that supplies water to the Des Moines area.

Manure spills are reported in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers every year. When a spill occurs, Des Moines Water Works switches its intake to the unaffected river while the polluted river clears, McMullen said.

Source: Des Moines Register
calendar icon 23 June 2006
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