Why do we want Clean Water Act Permits?
Clean Water Act (CWA) permits hold factory farms to higher standards and it can shut them down! As of today, the DNR has not issued a single Clean Water Act permit to a hog factory farm in Iowa.
Here’s why Clean Water Act permits can be game-changers as we build a farming system that works for People and the Planet!
- Broader coverage of enforcement
- CWA permits must prevent discharges from the production area as well as land application areas. Iowa’s Manure Management Plans (MMPs) only address land application areas.
- More transparency
- When permits are proposed the public must be given notice of the proposed permit and an opportunity to comment on it. NPDES permits, and all associated reports, must be publicly accessible.
- Fixed terms
- Unlike Iowa’s MMPs, CWA permits have fixed five-year terms. That way, they are subject to being reviewed, updated, or terminated on a regular basis. DNR admitted in an Ag Appropriations Sub-Committee this year that DNR does not review MMPs because they do not have the capacity to do so.
- Operation & maintenance requirements
- CWA permits have operation and maintenance requirements so that factory farm operators prevent problems before they happen. Currently, factory farm owners may have to fix a problem after a discharge, but aren’t required to use basic practices that would prevent many discharges in the first place.
- Higher penalties for violations
- State law caps penalties at $5,000 per day per violation and the state cannot collect more than $10,000 per violation. Under the CWA, penalties are up to $37,500 per day per violation, which would include penalties for discharges or other violations of a permit. Higher penalties mean greater deterrence from pollution. When facilities have NPDES permits, permit violations are also CWA violations that can warrant these heightened penalties, even if the violation does not cause a discharge to a surface water.
If you think the Iowa DNR should start issuing Clean Water Act permits to polluters, join the fight!
Join the Fight
Factory farm proposing to build near you? Have concerns about an existing facility? We can work with you and your community to fight back and stand up for clean air and water and your quality of life.
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