Hog lagoon phase-out nearing final NC approval

US - The General Assembly neared final approval Monday night of a phase-out of waste lagoons used by hog farmers, replacing them with more environmentally friendly systems paid for in part by taxpayer-funded grants.
calendar icon 24 July 2007
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By a 108-0 vote, the House agreed to a Senate bill that would let a decade-old moratorium on new lagoons expire. Current lagoons, which collect swine waste until it is sprayed on fields, could continue to operate, but the regulatory bar would be set too high to allow any new ones to be built.

Hog farms that are ready to replace aging lagoons would have to convert to a waste management system that meets strict environmental standards. A cost-sharing grant program also would help the first farms to install the expensive new systems, hopefully driving down costs by increasing demand.

Both the House and Senate budget proposals include $2 million in annual funding for the grant program.

Environmental, farm, and pork industry groups support the measure. Rep. Carolyn Justice, R-Pender, who worked with the groups to negotiate a similar House bill, said she is looking forward to seeing how the technology works toward improving the environment.

"This is a good bill," said Rep. Dewey Hill, D-Columbus, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. "It was a lot of work put into this bill."

Source: The Charlotte Observer
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