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  • Summary date: Apr 19 2023 - View Summary

    Includes whereas clauses.

    Part I

    Amends definition of animal operation set forth in GS 143-215.10B (definitions pertaining to animal waste management systems), to mean 30,000 confined poultry (currently, 30,000 confined poultry with liquid animal waste management system), in addition to other listed animals. Makes conforming changes to GS 143-215.10C (applications and permits for animal waste management systems) to account for expanded definition of animal operation. Removes permitting provisions specific to dry litter poultry facilities.

    Enacts GS 143-215.10J, forbidding any component of an animal waste management system for an animal operation to be constructed in a 100-year floodplain. Defines 100-year floodplain to mean any area subject to inundation by the 1% annual chance flood event, as indicated on the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the National Flood Insurance Program. Makes conforming change to GS 106-850 (agricultural cost share program) to provide for closure of facilities under GS 143-215.10J.

    Effective January 1, 2024.

    Part II

    Directs the Environmental Review Commission (ERC) to conduct a study of environmental and public health impacts of dry litter poultry waste and potential regulatory and technological solutions for addressing these impacts.  Applies the definitions set out in GS 143-215.10B (regarding animal waste management systems).  Lists required areas of study to include: (1) growth of the poultry industry including current location, size, and number of dry litter poultry facilities; (2) location, size, and number of those facilities in the 500-year floodplain and options for removing them or making them more resilient; (3) amount of dry litter poultry waste produced by those facilities and methods of disposal; (4) impacts on environment including to surface water, groundwater, and soil; (5) impacts on public health including drinking water contamination and pathogens or disease vectors and pests; (6) health impacts on waste workers; (7) cumulative environmental and public health impacts of these facilities and animal operations for swine; (8) current regulations, deficiencies in current regulations, and potential regulations of these facilities that would better protect the environment and public health, taking into account regulations in other states as well as regulations for swine operations in this state; (9) disposal of dead poultry after severe storms or flooding events; (10) current and potential animal waste management technologies that could reduce or eliminate environmental and public health impacts; and (11) need for additional resources, including appropriations, professional expertise, and scientific studies needed to comprehensively examine the issues identified in this act.   

    Directs all state agencies to assist ERC upon its request.  Authorizes ERC to request recommendations from any of the named state agencies related to any of the topics enumerated for study.

    Directs ERC to report its findings and any recommendations to the 2024 Regular Session of the 2023 General Assembly upon its convening.

    Part III

    Amends GS 143-215.10C(f) to require annual, digital submission of an animal waste management plan that meets the specified criteria to the Department of Environmental Quality by owners or operators of a dry litter poultry facility that is not required to be permitted under the identified federal law but involves 30,000 or more birds (current law requires submission of the plan without specifying a time frame or format). Effective January 1, 2024.

    Appropriates $25,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Environmental Quality for 2023-24 to be allocated to the Division of Water Resources to develop education resources and provide technical assistance for owners and operators of dry litter poultry facilities in complying with the reporting requirement of the act. Effective July 1, 2023.

    Part IV

    Amends GS 106-24.1, pertaining to confidentiality of information collected by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS).  Specifies that complaints of violations of GS Chapter 106 (agriculture) or violations of Part 1a of Article 21 of GS Chapter 143 (Animal Waste Management Systems) relating to a farm operation and all other records accumulated in conjunction with the  investigation of these complaints are considered confidential records and may be released only by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Removes records that may be used to identify a person or private business subject to regulation from records that cannot be disclosed with the owner’s permission. In addition to current exception, lists the following new exceptions to provisions pertaining to records that cannot be disclosed without the owner’s permission: (1) if the disclosure is necessary to meet statutory requirements imposed on other State agencies and (2) the information is limited to the location, size, and ownership of an individual farm operation.

    Contains severability clause.