EPA nears decision on concentrated animal feeding operations; more comments sought

The Environmental Protection Agency is nearing a decision on its regulations and guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations. The agency is making all information available for a final comment period ending Jan. 15, 2002.

November 27, 2001 — The Environmental Protection Agency is nearing a decision on its regulations and guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations. The agency is making all information available for a final comment period ending Jan. 15, 2002.

On January 12, 2001 (66 FR 2959), EPA published a proposal to revise and update two regulations that ensure manure, wastewater, and other process waters generated by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) do not impair water quality.

These two regulations include the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) provisions that define which operations are CAFOs and establish permit requirements, and the Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELG), or effluent guidelines, for feedlots (beef, dairy, swine and poultry subcategories), which establish the technology-based effluent discharge standards for CAFOs.

EPA proposed revisions to these regulations to address changes that have occurred in the animal industry sectors over the last 25 years, to clarify and improve implementation of CAFO permit requirements, and to improve the environmental protection achieved under these rules.

In the proposal, EPA specifically solicited comment on 28 issues (66 FR 3133), in addition to a general comment solicitation on all aspects of the proposed regulations. EPA received comments from various stakeholders, including State, Tribal and Federal regulatory authorities, environmental groups, industry groups, land grant university researchers, and private citizens.

This document presents a summary of certain data received in comments since the proposal and describes how these data may be used by EPA in developing its final CAFO regulations.

Due to the comments and data received, EPA is considering changes to certain aspects of the proposed CAFO rule, including changes to the technology options considered for regulation, as well as changes to the underlying data and methodology that EPA uses to estimate the costs and financial impacts associated with the regulation.

Today, EPA is making these data and comments available for public review and comment. EPA solicits public comment on any of the issues or information presented in this notice of data availability and in the administrative record supporting this document.

How to comment

Comments are due by January 15, 2002. Public comments regarding this document should be submitted electronically to CAFOS.comments@epa.gov. Electronic comments must specify docket number W-00-27 and must be submitted as an ASCII, Word, or WordPerfect file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Electronic comments on this action may be filed online at many Federal Depository Libraries. No confidential business information (CBI) should be sent via e-mail.

You also may submit comments by mail to: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Proposed Rule, Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303), USEPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460. Hand deliveries (including overnight mail) should be submitted to the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Proposed Rule, USEPA, Waterside Mall, West Tower, Room 611, 401 M Street, SW., Washington, DC 20460.

Please submit an original and three copies of your written comments and enclosures, as well as any references cited in your comments. Commenters who want EPA to acknowledge receipt of their comments should enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

The public record for this action and the proposed rulemaking has been established under docket number W-00-27 and is located in the Water Docket East Tower Basement, Room EB57, 401 M Street SW., Washington, DC 20460. The record is available for inspection from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. For access to the docket materials, call (202) 260-3027 to schedule an appointment. A reasonable fee may be charged for copying.

For more information, contact Renee Selinsky Johnson, Paul Shriner, or Karen Metchis at (202) 564-0766, or e-mail these contacts at johnson.renee@epa.gov, shriner.paul@epa.gov, and metchis.karen@epa.gov.

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