California, August 4, 2004 (ENS): Five dairies
in California's Chino Basin were held in contempt of
court last week for failing to implement a pilot project
to reduce noxious air pollution from cow manure.
Federal district court Judge Virginia Phillips held
the five dairies in contempt because they failed to
implement a pilot project to cover their wastewater
lagoons and to measure the effect on air quality.
The pilot project was part of November 2002 consent
decrees the dairies filed to settle charges by the Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Defend the Bay
that manure laden water discharges from the dairies
violate federal environmental laws.
Dairies in Chino and across the nation commonly use
open lagoons, which can emit numerous air pollutants,
including carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide
Studies suggest that pollutants emitted from large
dairies can cause headaches, respiratory problems, and
mood alterations, and contribute to poor air quality
throughout the Chino Basin. Chino is located in San
Bernardino County - a part of the South Coast Air Basin
that has the worst air quality in the nation.
Under the contempt order, the dairies will be fined
$500 per day, beginning August 13, for each day they
fail to submit to the court ordered detailed plans and
schedules for implementing the pilot project. The fines
double every two weeks.
The dairies include Desperado Dairy, Ben Vander Laan
Dairy, L&M Dairy, Gorzeman Family Dairy, and Gorzeman
Dairy No. 2.
"A federal court ordered these dairies to work
on ways to stop stinking up Southern California,"
said attorney David Beckman, who directs NRDC's Coastal
Water Project based in Los Angeles. "Until now,
the dairies have reneged on their promises to us and
ignored the order of the court, but fines totaling $17,500
per week should get their attention."
Two of the dairies - Desperado Diary and Ben Vander
Laan Dairy - have also been found in contempt for failing
to develop an Environmental Management Plan to safely
handle in an environmentally sound manner all the manure-laden
waste water and storm water runoff generated by their
"With all five dairies now in contempt and two
in contempt twice over, maybe dairy operators throughout
the Chino Basin and California will pay more attention
to their obligations under federal and state environmental
laws to protect public health and our precious natural
resources," said Defend the Bay founding director
Robert Caustin, whose organization works to protect
Newport Bay and Orange County coastal waters.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is
considering new rules to reduce air pollution from Southern