The federal Environmental Protection Agency has handed a costly citation to a feedlot operator in southwest Iowa for polluting water. The E-P-A’s Dan Breedlove says it began with operators of Lauritson Cattle Company agreeing to what the D-N-R calls “The Iowa Plan,” created in 2001.
The Iowa Cattlemens Association made the agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and EPA, after realizing “there were some issues” complying with the Clean Water Act, the group asked for more time for its members to come into compliance. An amnesty period was created, with the EPA and D-N-R agreeing not to pursue enforcement for five years while cattlemen agreed to come into compliance. That 5-year period ends this April first.
There were some deadlines farmers had to meet to remain in that amnesty program. He says this farmer failed to meet some of those deadlines and provide required documentation. That’s when the D-N-R “kicked him out” of the 5-year amnesty program and referred him to the federal environmental agency, which performed an inspection at the feedlot.
The EPA found noncompliance with the Clean Water Act and found manure discharges happened with significant rainfalls, so the agency issued an order telling the farmer to build livestock waste control structures to stop feedlot runoff, and it fined him a little over 29-thousand dollars.
Breedlove says when they arrive at the figure for a penalty they look at the water that was affected in the nearest stream receiving the feedlot waste, the size of the facility, its drainage patterns, controls that are in place, the seriousness of the violation and the impact on the environment. He says the farmer’s agreed to comply. He says there’s a cost to complying with the rules, that can amount to 60 to 100-dollars per head for building the proper control structures that’ll bring a feedlot operator into compliance.
After April first, the EPA’s going to be out checking all the feedlots in that Iowa Open Feedlot Plan and he expects others will be found out of compliance, and there are likely to be more penalties.