Several environmental groups have filed a federal complaint against the state over hog waste. In a filing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the organizations say North Carolina has failed to enforce rules regulating disposal of hog waste.
Larry Baldwin is with the Waterkeeper Alliance. He says the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not lived up to a deal struck in 2000 that allowed the agency to require Smithfield Foods and other pork producers to develop better waste management technology. He says communities of color in eastern North Carolina are most often affected by the residual smell and water contamination.
"There is just a disproportionate location of these facilities in areas of the state that do not have the same political clout..or even the same financial clout other areas of the state have. Areas that are both environmentally challenged as well as challenged from a socio-economic standpoint."
Officials with DENR say they aren't commenting yet because the agency's attorneys are still reviewing the complaint.