Whatcom Family Farmers wishes to publicly thank Bellingham-based RE Sources for Sustainable Communities for their decision not to join other environmental groups in an appeal of the recently concluded Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) ruling on the Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) permit.

The recent ruling by the PCHB, a board consisting of three experts appointed by Governor Inslee affirmed WFF’s position. The ruling followed two weeks of testimony from environmental groups who claimed pollution from dairy farms required massive new regulations.

The Hearings Board rejected every one of their claims while upholding the claim of the dairy community that the Ecology permit wrongly modified the way manure lagoons are measured.

Sadly, other anti-farm activist groups have decided to continue their battle and file an appeal of the decision in Thurston County Superior Court.

RE Sources was one of seven groups who initially appealed Ecology’s CAFO permit to the PCHB.

RE Sources’ decision to not participate in the continuing effort to impose major new regulations is an important step forward in recognizing the efforts our community is already making as well as the damaging costs such unnecessary regulations would impose on many of our local family farms.

“We are pleased with RE Sources’ decision to step back from the appeal,” said dairy farmer Rich Appel, vice president of Whatcom Family Farmers.

“From the outset of the CAFO permit discussions we felt that the accusations being made were not consistent with reality on our local farms.

Our efforts to communicate what the science really shows locally are making a difference.

We certainly hope RE Sources is willing to work with farmers on concerns about the environment and are gladly willing to meet and discuss local solutions rather than rely on outside groups with no expertise in our local community.”

Unfortunately, the appeal by outside groups including Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and others means yet more uncertainty for our family farmers already struggling with low prices and burdensome regulatory costs.

Whatcom Family Farmers will continue its efforts to set the record straight on the environmental performance of our local farming community and the true cost associated with unneeded regulations that will drive our farms out of business.