NC Agrees to Up Investigations of Hog Farms

North Carolina’s environmental agency is revising internal policies after complaints the agency under former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory repeatedly failed to investigate when industrial-scale hog farms violate anti-pollution rules.

The Waterkeeper Alliance and other groups say they’re settling their complaint with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The groups launched an administrative process a year ago to force DEQ to live up to its obligations and investigate complaints that swine growers violated pollution rules governing the spraying of hog waste on their fields. Since then, McCrory’s agency heads were replaced by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

DEQ now agrees to adopt a new process to promptly investigate citizen complaints. The agency also agreed to monthly updates for an online list of farm operations that have violated pollution laws.

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The Department of Transportation has released details on the initial 90-day waiver from the requirement for agricultural and livestock haulers to obtain electronic logging devices or ELDs.

On Monday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD mandate went into effect except for those transporting agricultural commodities and livestock. Those haulers were granted an initial 90-day waiver from compliance.

Most farmers and ranchers should be exempt from the ELD mandate because they can claim covered farm vehicle status.