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U.S. EPA Seeks to Collect CAFO Information

U.S. EPA Seeks to Collect CAFO Information

Proposed rule published in the Federal Register aims to push the envelope on gathering information.

The Environmental Protection Agency has published in the Oct. 21 Federal Register a proposed rule that "co-proposes two options for obtaining basic information" from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to support EPA in meeting its water quality protection responsibilities under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

EPA said the purpose of this "co-proposal is to improve and restore water quality by collecting facility-specific information that would improve EPA's ability to effectively implement" the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program and "to ensure that CAFOs are complying with the requirements of the CWA."

EPA said under one co-proposed option, it would use the authority of CWA section 308 to obtain certain identifying information from all CAFOs. Under the other option, EPA could use the authority of CWA section 308 to obtain this information from CAFOs that fall within areas that have been identified as having water quality concerns likely associated with CAFOs (focus watersheds).

However, EPA said it would make "every reasonable effort" to assess the utility of existing publicly available data and programs to obtain identifying information about CAFOs by working with partners at the federal, state and local level before determining whether an information collection request is necessary.

EPA also requests comment on three alternative approaches to gather information about CAFOs, which could be used to achieve the objectives of this proposed action in protecting water quality.

In the Federal Register notice, EPA said it plans to hold two webinars in November to provide an overview of and answer questions about the proposed rule requirements.

Comments on this proposed action must be received on or before Dec. 20 and can be submitted through under docket number  EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0188.

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