The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Gutting of Industrial Dairy Farm Regulations Puts New York's Water Quality at Risk
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
A coalition of environmental groups—Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Waterkeeper Allliance—provided the following statement in disapproval of Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that the state will roll-back environmental regulations, which for years have protected the state’s waterways from the polluting effects of industrial-sized dairy operations, based on the claim that it would increase yogurt production in New York:
Our organizations have a shared goal of protecting and promoting dairy farming in New York. We are proud that New York has grown to be the largest yogurt producer in the United States, and it has done so with proper environmental protections in place for our waters. However, by gutting the law that ensures that medium size dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) are run in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, more than three million pounds of cow manure produced each day in New York are at risk of being improperly handled, resulting in contamination of adjacent waters that can expose local communities to disease-causing bacteria and threaten fish habitat.
Just last year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) asserted in a filing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that a non-regulatory approach to medium-sized CAFOs, which the state has just announced it intends to pursue, is ‘neither credible nor effective’ to protect the health and environment of New Yorkers.
By rushing this regulatory revision through the approval process, New York has denied the public the opportunity to help the the state find a way to support dairy operators in complying with the law that insures clean water for all New Yorkers. In addition, DEC has ignored the federal government’s responsibility to review the state’s regulatory change prior to implementation, calling into serious question the legal validity of the new regulations. Finally, DEC has not adequately examined all impacts the deregulation will have, nor fully considered alternative strategies that could provide both an economic and environmental benefit to the state and its dairy farmers.
In pursuing these rollbacks, Governor Cuomo is ignoring the true problem—the need for critical investments to operate industrial-sized dairy operations safely. Our coalition will continue to pursue a solution that would promote dairy farming in New York without putting the health and environment of New Yorkers in jeopardy, and are prepared to take legal action to protect the waters that all New Yorkers use for fishing, swimming, drinking and farming.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Paul Brown
When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.
By Lakshmi Magon
This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.
By Tara Lohan
If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.