North Carolina allows more hog waste pollution despite disproportionate harm to communities of color
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Southern Environmental Law Center today issued the following statement regarding North Carolina’s new one-size-fits-all general permit for swine waste-to-energy biogas projects as directed by the state legislature in a law passed in 2021. It drastically limits public and community input—including from communities harmed.
These biogas projects rely on the primitive system of storing untreated hog feces and manure in waste pits and spraying that waste onto nearby land. This system pollutes waterways, dirties the air, and adversely impacts neighbors’ health; these burdens are disproportionately borne by Black, Latino, and Native American families in eastern North Carolina.
Blakely Hildebrand, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, offered the following statement in response. “As the leadership of the North Carolina legislature directed, the state today issued a one-size-fits-all permit that would allow virtually any industrial hog operation in the state to make more pollution for more profit to the detriment of people—disproportionately people of color—and our waterways. Covering hog waste pits makes more harmful gasses to sell for profit before dumping the leftover feces and urine in an open-air pit and spraying the waste onto fields, increasing harmful ammonia emissions, threatening water and air quality, and making North Carolinians sick. This permit fails to include adequate protections for our clean water, clean air, and the health of people living near hog operations, who are disproportionately Black, Latino, and Native American and have borne the heavy burden of the hog industry’s pollution for too long.”