Feds to inspect Yakima Valley dairies

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GRANGER, Wash. (AP)  —  Federal regulators plan to inspect large dairies, feedlots and other operations in central Washington's lower Yakima Valley that are suspected of discharging pollutants and causing groundwater contamination.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it would pay unannounced visits to various operations.

The agency has worked with several state agencies for the past 10 months to compile a report on the problem first reported in a series of stories in the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper.

The EPA says it will also begin sampling well water early next year in an effort to identify the sources of nitrate and bacterial pollution.

On Wednesday, the Yakima Herald-Republic made its readers aware of a YouTube video entitled "Dairyman Blues" that is critical of large dairy operations in the lower Yakima Valley.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press

The new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has her sights set on large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In prepared testimony in front of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Oct. 15, Administrator Lisa Jackson cited CAFOs as one of the biggest threats posed to clean water. So, with CAFOs in the cross-hairs, it would be best to lay low. But, in Washington’s Yakima Valley, some of the dairies have already created a stir, as chronicled in a YouTube video entitled “Dairyman Blues.” Large dairies and feedlots are suspected of causing groundwater contamination. Many of the people attending a public meeting on Oct. 21 felt that enforcement action was long overdue. Read this article from the Yakima Herald-Republic.  The dairy industry doesn’t need this kind of publicity. And, keep an eye on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. – Tom Quaife, editor.



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