Tennessee sues farmer with 6,000 cows, missing permits over water pollution concerns

Winny

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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Tennessee farmer, Trace Browning is being sued by the state for alleged water pollution caused by owning over 6,000 cows. It's alleged that manure and wastewater got into local waterways, in turn, polluting them. It's also being said that he never renewed his permits after his father, who originally ran the farm, had passed away, thinking it wasn't something he needed to do.

He is tasked with reapplying for required permits and getting his farm in order, as well as creating run-offs that don't reach the waterways. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation otherwise will shut his farms down until everything is in order. Residents are not happy either, as they're dealing with foul smells, flies and even contaminated well water. The water when tested, was said to have contaminants such as; high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrogen.

If Mr. Browning fails to stop running his farms, he could face a civil penalty of $10,000 per day, per violation. So yeah, this is a big problem for him, and I hope he can correct his mistakes.

You can read more about this news here - Tennessee.com
 
Location
Clay County, Tennessee, United States
I get where the guy is coming from. I know if I lost a family member and I was to take control of said business, I probably wouldn't know exactly what I'd need to do either. But that's when you ask questions, and I'm guessing Mr. Browning here, didn't ask any questions and just kept running his fathers business. But it's clear this man doesn't know exactly what he is doing, and maybe this will be a way to teach him how to make it right going forward.

And a possible $10,000 a day fine is going to push him to learn.
 
I get where the guy is coming from. I know if I lost a family member and I was to take control of said business, I probably wouldn't know exactly what I'd need to do either. But that's when you ask questions, and I'm guessing Mr. Browning here, didn't ask any questions and just kept running his fathers business. But it's clear this man doesn't know exactly what he is doing, and maybe this will be a way to teach him how to make it right going forward.

And a possible $10,000 a day fine is going to push him to learn.
I totally understand as well, but you still need to follow the rules set forth. If you have a loved one who passes and you take on the job after him/her, you responsible for knowing what needs to be done. There's no excuse in this case, since his mother was likely aware of the rules herself, so she could have directed him to the right ways.

$10,000 is a lot, and should be enough for most people to truly push for changes sooner than later.
 
As someone who grew up in a rural community, I understand the delicate balance that must be maintained between farming activities and the environment. I've seen the impact that large-scale farming operations can have on local ecosystems, especially when proper regulations and best practices are not followed. Water pollution from agricultural runoff, including manure and wastewater, is a common issue that can lead to significant environmental degradation, affecting not only water quality but also the well-being of nearby residents.
 
One thing regulators account for when investigating cases like this the extent to which the violator's actions were flagrant. If you believe that the landowner really didn't know anything about the TDEC's water quality permitting requirements when he took over the family farm, then TDEC's focus should be less on penalties and more on giving the landowner an opportunity to work in good faith toward achieving resolution. Unfortunately, the landowner doesn't seem to be as proactive as he should be obtaining permits and stopping the flow of polluted runoff downstream. He had problems cooperating with his first consultant and the permit process appears to be dragging out.

Of most concern to me is the farm's continued lack of erosion protection and sediment control measures, which according the TDEC are "leaving bare soils exposed to stormwater runoff and sediment discharge," i.e., facilitating the downstream flow of manure-contaminated water. If the landowner really was motivated to remedy the situation, you'd think he'd be doing everything in his power to get stormwater control measures in place and stop further impairment of downstream waters. I wouldn't be surprised if the TDEC forces him to stop his operations until he cleans up his act.
 
The case of Tennessee farmer Trace Browning being sued for alleged water pollution caused by his cows raises significant concerns. The potential contamination of local waterways, coupled with his failure to renew permits and address environmental issues, has led to justified anger among residents. The consequences of his actions could be severe, with daily penalties and potential farm closures. It is imperative that Mr. Browning rectifies these mistakes and takes responsibility for the impact his farming practices have had on the environment and the community.
 
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