Smithfield Foods has withdrawn its applications for general state operating permits at 10 of the 11 CAFOs in question and will seek to have their site-specific permits renewed instead. General state operating permits would have meant less monitoring and less frequent site inspections for these massive hog CAFOs, with some of the dirtiest agricultural pollution track records in Missouri. MCE is glad to be among Missourians who submitted public comments on the permit applications and that these CAFOs will retain a greater level of accountability for their environmental and public health harms. Read more in the Missouri Independent.
On October 2, 2020 11 Class IA Smithfield CAFOs in Northern Missouri requested to terminate their site-specific NPDES operating permits and apply for General NPDES operating permits. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has recently posted Notices of Intent (NOI) to issue all 11 of these permits with only two weeks of public notice for interested parties to submit their comments and concerns.
General NPDES permits do not reflect the site-specific conditions of a facility and typically allow for more discharging activities. Further, many of these facilities have recorded compliance issues, permit violations, and/or poor waste management practices while operating under their site-specific NPDES permits. Class IA CAFOs are the largest class of CAFOs operating in our state and they should be regulated under the most stringent permits available. DNR’s Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue these permits demonstrates yet another move in favor of corporate interests over water protection. It also sets a precedent for the largest CAFOs in our state to request less stringent regulation in spite of the risks they pose to public health and our environment.