It may seem counterintuitive to think that the agricultural industry would need to comply with environmental laws, but when you consider pesticides, natural gases and other issues, it only makes sense. If you run an agricultural operation here in Georgia, you probably already take measures to comply with the rules.
However, you may not yet be aware that the U.S. Geological Survey has a stake in the environmental impact of agricultural operations across the country, perhaps even yours.
What does the USGS look at?
As it pertains to your industry, the USGS looks at the following issues:
- Examining how the transportation and end use of compounds, such as feed additives, veterinary antibiotics, pathogens in ecosystems on land and in the water, and hormones, could disrupt the endocrine system.
- Looking at how habitat fragmentation and a change in the use of a particular plot of land effects wildlife in the area.
- Discerning how watershed characteristics, such as wet-lands, soils and riparian forests, effect the uptake, retention and cycling of nutrients.
- Searching for a balance between the demands for water in agricultural and urban settings.
- Investigating how pesticides, settlements and nutrients affect the health and habitat quality for wildlife and fish.
- Examining how air, surface water and groundwater interactions influence the quality of the area’s water.
- Finding the tools needed to identify sources of agricultural contamination.
- Finding the assessment techniques required to quickly identify those sources of contamination.
- Researching how agricultural irrigation, drainage and return flow affect the quality of the water.
- Investigating how genetically modified organisms affect native habitats and species.
After gathering all of the above data, the USGS then makes recommendations regarding the implementation of farming techniques to conserve water and soil, and to improve the quality of the water affected by agricultural operations. One of the largest concerns is the use of pesticides that can affect everything from fish to humans and everything in between.
Does your operation take these issues into consideration?
The conservation of our natural resources has grown in popularity in recent years. Environmental regulations attempt to ensure that the water people drink and the air they breathe is clean. The preservation of ecosystems, plant life and wildlife is also considered. It seems as though the regulations tend to change often as research continues to reveal vulnerable areas.
In order to make sure your agricultural operation remains in compliance with the environmental laws, rules and regulations that apply, you may want to work with an environmental law attorney who has the experience and knowledge you need. Part of that knowledge comes from keeping up with any changes in the law that could affect your business, and understanding how federal and state agencies work in tandem to protect the environment.