To help mitigate some of the unexpected operational challenges created by the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has temporarily suspended through May 15 certain provisions of its rule governing animal feeding operations in the state, including concentrated animal feeding operations.
The Governor’s Office has temporarily suspended Subsection 2 of Section 640.710, RSMo. The suspended provisions apply to permit, buffer-zone, and notification requirements for existing facilities only; the department has not suspended environmental-protection requirements, including “no-discharge” requirements, for any facility, and these suspensions will not allow new facilities to come online without observing the full requirements of the statute and rule.
The COVID-19 emergency has disrupted transportation and animal processing operations, which is preventing some animal feeding operations from transporting animals out of their facilities at a rate consistent with their normal operations and normal regulatory class size. As a result, certain operators may not be able to maintain their normal class size despite best efforts. Without these suspensions, facilities would face increased regulatory requirements for this brief period of time, and in cases of non-permitted operations increased numbers would unnecessarily trigger the requirement to pursue a permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.
The department is developing guidance for operators of animal feeding operations containing best practices for protecting water quality during the operational challenges they face in this state of emergency.