EPA to Amish: Put a Lid on Your Cow Poop

Feds worried Amish polluting Chesapeake with manure runoff
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2010 12:18 PM CDT
An Amish farmer drives a team of horses pulling a manure spreader across a field for an early-spring application of fertilizer in Anthony Township, Pa., March 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise, Bill Hughes)

(Newser) – Think the Amish, with their simple, low-consumption ways, are paragons of environment-friendly living? Think again. The EPA plans to crack down on the Amish, because their cows are generating tons of manure that wash into the Chesapeake Bay, the New York Times reports. Lancaster County generates about 61 million pounds of manure a year, 20 million more than the next highest contributor to Chesapeake Bay runoff.

But the EPA will have to tread lightly, because the Amish are famously wary of outsider intervention, particularly from the government. “These are real people with their own needs and their own culture,” said a Pennsylvania official. “You’ve got to be able to start where they are at.” For now, officials are going door-to-door, suggesting subsidized improvements to individual farmers to reduce runoff. But if carrots fail, they’re prepared to try fines and other sticks.

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