published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Environmental regulator backs easing Georgia hog rules

By RAY HENRY

Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgia's top environmental regulator said he supports allowing farmers to raise more hogs before they face stricter pollution rules.

Regulators are debating at what point hog farmers should be required to comply with a set of stricter rules intended to make sure pig manure does not contaminate streams and rivers.

The plan would raise the threshold at which farmers must comply with the tougher rules from 7,500 pigs to 12,500 pigs for animals weighing 55 pounds or more. The same threshold for hogs weighing less than 55 pounds would rise from 30,000 to 50,000 pigs.

The director of the Environmental Protection Division, Judson Turner, said Tuesday that he was "comfortable" with the proposal, saying it would allow for modest industry growth without posing a greater risk for the environment.

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