State legislator helps rolls back ‘regulatory overreach’ inflicted on egg producer

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Bill Cook

Bill Cook

NORTHEASTERN N.C. — After a decade of controversy and unnecessary bureaucracy – the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is rescinding its ‘Notice of Violation of the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System’ permit for Rose Acre Farms.

Located in Hyde County, Rose Acre Farms is an egg producing operation consisting of about four million hens, and producing nearly one billion eggs, yearly.  The farm was built with the latest technologies available and is one of the most modern such farms in the entire United States.

The Hyde County egg farm was issued a NPDES permit by DEQ when the farm opened in 2004, and the permit was for a standard five-year period. When the company applied for a new permit in 2009, DEQ made several unusual demands on Rose Acre Farms, which had never been seen before in a permit.

In response to such regulatory overreach, the N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 810 in 2012 that included a provision addressing specific definitions of the terms “emission” and “discharge.” Emission is now defined as a release into the outdoor atmosphere of air contaminants. The law states that a “discharge of waste” shall not be interpreted to include an emission. The Clean Water Act regulates discharges, not emissions.

Subsequently, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2014 included a provision to clarify the intent and amended the effective date to any contested case filed or pending as of July 16, 2012 when the law became effective.

“Since getting to Raleigh, I have worked to keep state government accountable to its citizens, by removing ambiguous, obsolete and sometimes downright ridiculous regulations that increase expenses for North Carolina businesses which hurt job-creation, while doing little to serve the public interest,” said Sen. Bill Cook (R-District 1). “Unfortunately, up until now Rose Acre Farms in Hyde County has been strangled with unnecessary regulations – however this latest action by DEQ represents a significant step toward common sense regulation.”

In 2014, North Carolina’s egg industry contributed nearly $600 million to the state’s economy. More than 13 million layers produced approximately 1.8 billion eggs.  Hyde County ranks number one out of the one hundred counties in the state for egg production based on cash receipts – while North Carolina ranks third in the nation in poultry and egg cash receipts.

“Over the past years, numerous organizations including county commissioners in Beaufort and Hyde Counties have joined with me to advocate for resolving the Rose Acres regulatory overreach and now our call for common sense environmental stewardship has been answered. I am very appreciative of Governor McCrory’s administration for resolving this matter. The state environmental department has shown much courage in righting this regulatory wrong,” Cook said.