Environmental Groups Oppose Deregulation of Dairy Farms
Environmental groups are pushing back against the Cuomo Administration's plan to ease regulations on large-scale dairy operations.
Last August the Governor proposed increasing the number of cows a farm can have before it is required to obtain a costly environmental permit, the goal was to increase dairy output to support the growing Greek yogurt industry.
Farms with up to 200 cows are exempt from regulations requiring extra steps to prevent pollution from cow waste, Cuomo’s plan would increase that limit to 300 cows.
Environmental Advocacy groups say the plan jeopardizes waterways from pollution runoff from large dairy operations.
The Sierra Club and other groups say the proposal would likely add 25,000 cows to New York's dairy herd, resulting in more than 3 million additional pounds of urine and feces produced each day. The groups contend the proposed deregulation is a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act and would undermine the DEC's ability to meet runoff limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect Chesapeake Bay.
Supporters say the proposal would help small farmers stay in business by making a small expansion possible without prohibitive costs.