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PR EPA AND PORK PRODUCERS AGREE TO VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE INITIATIVE TO PROTECT AMERICA’S WATERS

Release Date: 11/25/98
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FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1998
EPA AND PORK PRODUCERS AGREE TO VOLUNTARY
COMPLIANCE INITIATIVE TO PROTECT AMERICA’S WATERS



As part of President Clinton’s Clean Water Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) announced today a voluntary compliance program to reduce environmental and public health threats to the nation’s waterways from runoff of animal wastes from pork-producing operations.
Under this initiative, participating pork producers will have their operations voluntarily assessed for Clean Water Act violations by certified independent inspectors. Producers who promptly disclose and correct any discovered violations from these audits will receive a much smaller civil penalty than they might otherwise be liable for under the law.

“This program is an example of government and industry working together to find common-sense solutions to protect public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “President Clinton has pledged to finish the job of cleaning up America’s waterways through his Clean Water Action Plan, and today we are taking another step to help make good on that pledge by controlling runoff from animal feeding operations, a major source of water pollution. The National Pork Producers Council is to be commended for working with us to address one of our nation’s most serious environmental problems.”

The Clean Water Action Plan, which is the Administration’s blueprint for completing cleanups of our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams, has identified polluted runoff from industrial feeding operations as a leading source of water pollution. In conjunction with the Clean Water Action Plan, EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a joint animal feeding operations draft strategy to control agricultural animal waste runoff. The amount of animal manure and wastewater generated from animal feeding operations can pose risks to water quality and public health. Potential impacts include the absence or low levels of dissolved oxygen in surface water, harmful algal blooms, fish kills and contamination of drinking water from nitrates and pathogens. Excess nutrients in water also may result in outbreaks of microbes such as Pfiesteria piscicida found in the Chesapeake Bay and in North Carolina.

The compliance audit program provides an incentive for pork producers to take the initiative to find and correct Clean Water Act violations and prevent discharges to waterways without compromising the ability of EPA or states to enforce the law. Pork producers who undergo the assessment and promptly report and correct violations will receive seals from the NPPC.

The NPPC, a national association representing all state pork producers, plans assessments for more than 10,000 pork production facilities. NPPC developed the assessment program at a cost of $1.5 million, and will fund the training of independent inspectors and the program’s oversight. EPA has provided a $5 million grant to America’s Clean Water Foundation to assist with the assessments.

The compliance audit program does not extend to slaughterhouses, pork-processing and packing facilities or other ancillary operations.

EPA will consult closely with the states in implementing the compliance audit program. States may elect to administer the program directly, in which case, EPA will refer any disclosures to the states for consideration and response.

Additional information about the compliance audit program can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oeca/ore/porkcap. EPA’s National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center can provide additional information about EPA’s environmental regulations and voluntary pollution prevention opportunities. It can be accessed through Internet address http://www.epa.gov/oeca/ag or a toll-free phone number at 1-888-663-2155.


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