A coalition of environmental organizations is suing the New York Department of Environmental Conservation over dairy farm regulations intended to bolster to the state’s yogurt industry.
The groups, including Sierra Club, Riverkeeper and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, allege that the state violated the federal Clean Water Act earlier this year after easing the size requirement on farms that quality as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
Now, farms can have up to 300 mature dairy cows before they are counted as CAFOs, meaning that farms between 200 and 299 cows can escape designation. Previously, farms with 200 or more cows were counted.
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained in an April press release that “eliminating this costly regulatory burden on relatively small farms allows farmers to reinvest their resources to expand operations allowing the state to grow its milk production for the yogurt industry.”
“CAFO farms that discharge remain subject to the Clean Water Act,” Cuomo added.
The lawsuit also claims the Department of Environmental Conservation needed legislative approval to make the change to the CAFO rules, which it did not obtain, according to The (White Plains, N.Y.) Journal News. Read more here.