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A Compromise Plan For N.M. Dairies

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For years, dairymen, the state and environmental watchdogs have been trying to reach an agreement about how to deal with the waste that comes from hundreds of thousands of cows in New Mexico. The Water Quality Control Commission held a hearing Monday afternoon to consider proposed amendments to the Dairy Rule. But that’s not what they ended up talking about.

Just before the hearing started, the stakeholders offered up a compromise plan they’d quickly created, because nobody involved was happy with the amendments coming down the pipe.

The plan would allow the dairies to line their lagoons with two feet of clay—which the industry favors—instead of thick plastic.

This compromise plan also requires more stringent groundwater monitoring and mandatory remediation if pollution is detected. That’s a huge relief to Dan Lorimier who’s part of the Citizens Dairy Coalition.

“Because we have this ability to monitor what’s going on, and the dairies have totally acknowledged their responsibility to fix it—if they mess it up, they have to clean it up—we feel as though this is a much better situation," Lorimier said.

The Water Quality Control Commission applauded the new proposal and decided to vote on it next month.

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