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					14 - Lancaster Farming, Saturday, pril 23, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       www.lancasterfarming.com



                                                                  Farmers, EPA Hold a Cranky Conversation
                                                                Agency to Inspect Several Small Virginia Dairies in First Week of May
         Andrew Jenner                                                        Bay watershed — last spring on seven                                                   suring) compliance with (environmen-                                        legal authority to regulate discharge     24 to 48 hours advance notice, coor-
         Virginia Correspondent                                               farms. After those visits, Zolandz said,                                               tal regulations).”                                                          from farms.                               dinate the visit with the Department
                                                                              the EPA decided to focus the current                                                      The pleas did little to convince the                                        “Why are you here?” he asked, add-     of Environmental Quality and contact
   BRIDGEWATER, Va. — A crowd                                                 round of inspections on dairies with                                                   skeptical audience that anything posi-                                      ing that if the state has decided that
of about 200 met Tuesday evening at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the state veterinarian to ensure compli-
                                                                              fewer than 200 cows, meaning they are                                                  tive could come from the federal in-                                        dairies smaller than 200 cattle are ex-   ance with biosecurity measures during
Turner Ashby High School for an event                                         not subject to permitting under the Vir-                                               spections.                                                                  empt from VPA permitting, then the        the visit.
billed as a “conversation” between the                                        ginia Pollution Abatement program.                                                        During the question-and-answer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agen-                                                                                                                                                                                                              EPA shouldn’t need to inspect these          As the evening wore on, the audi-
                                                                                 Zolandz said that while farms regu-                                                 session at the end of the meeting,                                          operations.
cy and the Shenandoah Valley’s dairy                                          lated under the VPA program were                                                       numerous members of the audience                                                                                      ence’s questions and criticisms of the
farmers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “I’m really concerned that you’re      EPA became more pointed, as various
                                                                              generally in good compliance with                                                      voiced concern that the EPA is placing                                      looking for opportunity to come in to
   The meeting’s purpose was to dis-                                          state and federal environmental regula-                                                unfair blame on agriculture as a source                                                                               attendees asked when golf courses and
cuss an upcoming series of inspections                                                                                                                                                                                                           regulate where you’re not needed to       homeowners will be held accountable
                                                                              tions, inspectors identified more prob-                                                of water pollution.                                                         regulate,” Goodlatte said.
the EPA will conduct to monitor com-                                          lems on smaller, unpermitted farms.                                                       Other farmers asked whether data                                                                                   for fertilizer runoff and why the EPA
pliance with the Clean Water Act, with                                                                                                                               gathered during the inspections would                                          During his presentation, Zolandz
                                                                              Nevertheless, agency staff members                                                                                                                                 described the major issues that EPA       needs to be involved at all since agri-
an opportunity for farmers to ask ques-                                       repeatedly emphasized that their goal                                                  be used against them if future regula-                                                                                culture has made significant runoff re-
tions about the process.                                                                                                                                             tion changes, and whether the agency                                        inspectors will be looking for during
                                                                              is to work with farmers to improve                                                                                                                                                                           ductions over the past several decades.
   Mark Zolandz, an EPA water pro-                                            environmental practices, rather than                                                   would be lenient in forgiving extreme                                       the inspections. These include denud-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ed lots near streams or drainages, ma-       “I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t
tection official who led the meeting,                                         punish operations with nutrient man-                                                   weather and other circumstances that                                                                                  learned a doggone thing all night,” said
said his agency will inspect six or sev-                                      agement problems.                                                                      could cause unusual runoff. (Respond-                                       nure stockpiles that could run off into
                                                                                                                                                                     ing to the second question, Zolandz                                         streams, evidence of winter manure        one frustrated man at the end of the
en area dairies during the first week of                                         “Our goal here is not to take enforce-
May. The specific farms to be inspect-                                                                                                                               said each farm would be evaluated on                                        spreading and improper discharge of       session, to applause and laughter from
                                                                              ment action,” said David McGuigan,
ed have yet to be determined, he said.                                        associate director of National Pollut-                                                 a case-by-case basis.)                                                      wash water from milk parlors.             the skeptical crowd of dairy farmers
   The EPA conducted similar inspec-                                          ant Discharge Elimination System                                                          U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.,                                             When the EPA has selected the          uneasy with the prospect of federal in-
tions in the valley — a region the                                            (NPDES) Permits and Enforcement                                                        who represents the Shenandoah Valley,                                       farms to inspect next month, he said,     spections of their farms in the coming
agency has identified as one of three                                         at the EPA’s Region 3 office, who also                                                 also spoke during the question period,                                      the agency will provide farmers with      weeks.
nutrient “hot spots” in the Chesapeake                                        attended the meeting. “Our goal is (en-                                                repeatedly questioning the EPA’s


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