Manure Manager

Features Regional Regulations
Court rules against activists


August 16, 2010
By Western United Dairymen

Topics

August 6, 2010 – A
Sacramento County Superior Court judge has dismissed two lawsuits by
environmental activists that sought to challenge water quality regulations
adopted by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in May 2007.


August 6, 2010 – A
Sacramento County Superior Court judge has dismissed two lawsuits by
environmental activists that sought to challenge water quality regulations
adopted by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in May 2007.

The judge ruled in favor
of the regional board and Dairy CARES. The judge completely rejected a laundry
list of arguments made by the activists: That the regulations should have been
tougher, more expensive or at the very least, should have been designed to make
it easier for activists to file more lawsuits in the future against individual
dairy families.

CARES noted there has
always been broad agreement that water quality regulations adopted by the
Regional Board are the strictest in the United States. Among the many
requirements, dairy operators must:

  • Develop and implement
    plans to ensure that manure is applied to crops at proper rates, complete with
    a program of soil, water, manure and plant-tissue testing;
  • Submit engineered plans to
    ensure that all water and manure is properly contained and managed on the
    facility, and that proper drainage and flood prevention measures are in place;
    and
  • Conduct routine
    environmental monitoring, including well testing, to ensure that management
    practices in place are providing environmental protection.

The Regional Board voted
unanimously (9-0) for adoption of the rules in May 2007. Ironically, those most
burdened by the costs and requirements of the new regulations – the dairy
operators – chose to accept the decision of the board and honor the public
process that led to the decision, even though it resulted in requirements more
burdensome and expensive than many had hoped for. But the toughest regulation
in the nation – and a unanimous decision by the Regional Board after a
year-long public process – wasn’t good enough for activist groups. They asked
the State Water Resources Control Board to review the decision, but were again
denied in February 2008. Not deterred, activist groups filed two lawsuits in
March of 2008, repeating many of the arguments previously brought before the
Regional Board and the State Board.


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