The April 12 editorial “Hog farmers still rule” about House Bill 467 was way off the mark.
The legislation clarifies an area of law that a federal judge has said is “not clear.” It narrowly applies only to nuisance lawsuits – not claims of negligence, personal injury, harm to health, etc. It does not change or limit anyone’s ability to bring a lawsuit of any kind.
When a nuisance exists, most people want to eliminate the underlying problem. That’s not the situation facing North Carolina farmers.
In a lawsuit often associated with this bill, the plaintiffs are not asking for any changes on the farms. They just want money, and lots of it.
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House Bill 467 is important to all types of farmers. It has the strong support of the N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Chamber, N.C. Poultry Federation, N.C. Farm Families and others who recognize that our farmers need protection from predatory lawyers looking to line their own pockets.
While you used its passage in the state House as a chance to attack Republicans, the bill passed with bipartisan support. The pork industry has made a lot of positive changes over the last two decades (including changes chronicled by The N&O) to better protect our environment and our neighbors.
Innovation continues. Yet, you claim that our industry can “do as it pleases.” The reality is that North Carolina hog farmers must follow the toughest environmental regulations in the nation. A moratorium on building new farms has been in place since the 1990s. Our permits include strict regulations about how and when irrigation and fertilizer can be applied and, unlike municipalities, do not allow any discharges into the state’s waters.
CEO, NC Pork Council
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.