The Washington State Dairy Federation is challenging rules meant to protect groundwater, saying it will delay fertilizing crops with manure. The Washington Department of Ecology rules prohibit spreading manure until temperatures are above freezing for a prolonged period. The dairy federation said the formula will work in western Washington’s milder climate but prevent fertilizing in eastern Washington’s colder climate until mid-March or even later in some cases. The federation said that delay will deprive crops of nutrients without any benefit to water quality. Dairies already must follow a separate manure-management law enforced by another state agency.
An Ecology spokeswoman told the Capital Press her agency used the best available science and broad input to develop clear, understandable rules.
Environmental groups separately have sued over the rules, alleging deficiencies.
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