This past Friday, the North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB) received a favorable ruling from the NC Office of Administrative Hearings in its appeal of three conditions that were included in the 2019 swine, cattle and wet poultry general permits. In that appeal, filed nearly one year ago, NCFB argued that the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) should have adopted those three permit conditions as rules under the North Carolina Administrative Procedure Act before their inclusion in the permits.
In the order, the administrative law judge agreed with NCFB, concluding that NCDEQ, “erred in not submitting for rulemaking the three special conditions added to the General Ag Permits. The three conditions are
Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tests (PLAT evaluations), ground-water monitoring, and annual reporting.
The general permits that went into effect on October 1, 2019, are still in effect but enforcement of the three permit conditions that were challenged in the appeal have been stayed. In other words those three permit conditions no longer apply.
No annual reports need to be submitted.
The stay on those three permit conditions will remain in place unless DEQ appeals this decision to a higher court, or until the agency successfully pursues rulemaking on those conditions.
NCPC has inquired about what DEQ will do with any annual reports that may have already been submitted. We will provide you with that information once we have it.