SW Legal studies in Business

Local Animal Waste Management Rules May Not Be More Strict Than State Rules
Description North Carolina appeals court held that a county could not enact ordinances based on health concerns to regulate swine farm operations more strictly than they were regulated under various state ordinances. When the legislature has put in place a comprehensive regulatory scheme, local governments may not enact rules that are in conflict with state rules.

Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Local Ordinances; State Regulation; Swine Farms
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Chatham County, North Carolina, enacted a county ordinance to regulate swine farms more stringently than they were regulated under the state's Swine Farm Siting Act, the Animal Waste Management Systems Act, and various regulations of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The county contended that the state regulations were not adequate, so stricter local regulations were justified. The Chatham County Agribusiness Council sued to overturn the county ordinances. The trial court held for the county; the Agribusiness Council appealed.
Decision Reversed. The county ordinances, which included health rules, were preempted by the state statutes that provide a "complete and integrated regulatory scheme" of swine farms by providing for a system of permits, inspections, setbacks from other property, buffer zones, and waste management. The county could not establish regulations more strict than the state statutory scheme that is enforced by state agencies. The county rules "could undermine the State's attempts to minimize the regulatory burden and the balance of economic and environmental interests."
Citation Craig v. County of Chatham, 545 S.E.2d 455 (Ct. App., N.C., 2001)

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