DNR released its long-awaited draft CAFO General Permits (GPs) for public comment on Friday, triggering a 60-day opportunity for the public to review the permit terms and conditions and submit comments to the agency.

Use of GPs in lieu of Individual Permits represents a step backwards in the level of scrutiny for CAFOs under the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permitting program.  While the same regulatory requirements will continue to apply under the GPs, the DNR is giving up the opportunity to draft each CAFO permit as needed to protect unique local surface waters.  DNR will also not prepare an Environmental Analysis for each individual CAFO.

DNR has stated that its intentions are to increase staff resources available for CAFO inspections and compliance investigations (which have been abysmal recently) but the agency has not been forthcoming with any new policies or protocols to ensure his happens.  Will this represent another step in the dismantling of the CAFO program?  Contact DNR to make sure the answer is no!

See DNR’s Public Notice to see when and where DNR will hold public hearings on the permits and learn how to submit comments.