By the time the 2010 session of the Minnesota Legislature convened Monday, proposals that would have weakened environmental standards for factory farms and undermined environmental review on the local level were dead. As a result of work on the part of members of LSP and other organizations, lawmakers got the message that factory farms already cost Minnesota’s communities too much in terms of pollution, displacement of family farms and lost property values, and environmental standards should be strengthened, not weakened.
NPDES permits for factory farms
Bills proposed by Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) and Sen. Steve Dille (R-Dassel) would have lowered state environmental standards for Minnesota’s largest factory farms (those over 1,000 animal units) by removing the state requirement that they apply for a Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ?(NPDES) permit.
In addition, Rep. Juhnke’s version of the bill would have created additional work for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) through necessitating a new and confusing factory farm permitting process. The cost was estimated at $367,000 in 2011, $211,000 in 2011 and $120,00 in 2013.
Ultimately the NPDES proposal died in committee due to strong opposition.