The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board disappointed environmental leaders in October when it allowed largely unregulated concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to continue operating in the state. CAFOs are giant cattle, pig, and other livestock operations that have manure waste ponds, like those that overflowed in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence.
Chris Wilke of Puget Sound Keepers talks to Earth911 about the ruling, its implications for public health. CAFOs pollute groundwater and the air, contributing to cardiovascular, reproductive, and developmental problems, including blue baby syndrome. CAFO pollution is also implicated in cancer. Wilke, though disappointed, said the court battle is not over. The environmental coalition that asked for better regulation of CAFOs will appeal to the Washington Department of Ecology and higher courts for changes.