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Animal Manure Debate Continues (May 29, 2007)
Last week we aired a report on pending legislation in the US Congress that would exempt animal manure as a hazardous waste under federal pollution law. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club oppose the legislation because they say that farm waste is a real problem and that rural communities need better protection. But Tulsa Republican Representative John Sullivan and an Oklahoma livestock producer interviewed in the report say that classifying manure as a hazardous material would have a large economic impact on Oklahomaís farmers and ranchers. We hear more about the issue from Harlan Hentges, an attorney representing several families near Watonga who are currently suing a large feed lot operator they claim polluted their well water with animal waste (4 minutes).

FOLLOWUP: Mason Mungle, the Oklahoma livestock producer and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Oklahoma Farmers Union who was interviewed in our original report on this issue disputes the characterization of his group as a lobbying organization for corporate farming operations. He says the Farmers Union opposes measures that label manure as a hazardous material because pollution is often caused by leaking septic tanks and municipal waste water rather than animal waste. The group feels that a better approach is to work with Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to reach a solution that satisfies all parties.

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