Three controversial conditions that were included in the 2019 General Permit are now permanently voided, according to an order issued yesterday by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
A previous order in the case issued in May 2020, had barred NCDEQ from enforcing the three permit conditions in question while the case was pending. Yesterday’s order marks the resolution of the challenge.
The three conditions that will be removed are:
· Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tests (PLAT evaluations)
· Groundwater monitoring wells for farms in the 100-year floodplain
· Annual reports *
The remainder of the 2019 General Permit is still in effect.
NCDEQ has thirty days to appeal the Final Decision to the Wake County Superior Court.
Last May, the North Carolina Farm Bureau won a favorable ruling from the NC Office of Administrative Hearings in an appeal of three conditions that were included in the 2019 swine, cattle and wet poultry state general permits. In that appeal, filed in 2019, NCFB argued that the NC Department of Environmental Quality should have adopted those three permit conditions as rules under the NC Administrative Procedure Act before their inclusion in the permits.
In that May ruling, an administrative law judge agreed with NCFB, concluding that DEQ “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.”
* Annual reports submitted before the OAH ruling are, by law, a public record, therefore cannot be destroyed and will remain on file with DEQ.