Peggy Sanner, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Virginia Assistant Director and Senior Attorney, released the following statement regarding CBF’s lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia seeking requirements that large livestock farms fence their animals out of streams:
“In our lawsuit, CBF asked a Richmond Circuit Court judge to find that, under Virginia law, the Commonwealth’s largest animal operations must ensure livestock are fenced out of streams to protect downstream users from manure-carried pathogens and other pollutants. We are disappointed by the decision of the court, which disagreed with our position.
“CBF has decided not to appeal the judge’s order. Instead, CBF will press legislators and the McAuliffe administration to fully fund state stream fencing programs and continue our work with farmers to ensure that their farms are not polluting local waters and the Bay.
“Across the Commonwealth, farmers recognize that stream fencing improves herd health and farm bottom lines, and they have been signing up in unprecedented numbers for state cost-share funds to assist them in excluding livestock. To ensure adequate funding and technical assistance are available to meet the demand, currently estimated at over $70 million, CBF will work closely with legislators, agency staff, and other partners in the coming months and years. With more than 8,000 stream miles in Virginia polluted by pathogens and other manure-carried pollutants, Virginia has much work to do.”