The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), accompanied by inspectors from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF), U.S. Marshals and officials from the Hughes County Sheriff’s Department, executed a warrant at Bishop Farms I and II, in Hughes County, Oklahoma, the EPA announced today.
Once the warrant was served on Tuesday, July 6, EPA and ODAFF conducted a joint annual inspection of the two permitted facilities.
Bishop Farms I and II are located on 700 acres near Wetumka, Oklahoma, and at one time raised as many as 2,400 swine at each permitted facility, although no animals have been on site since Fall 2009. Oklahoma rules require that a closure plan be submitted and approved by ODAFF and that manure retention lagoons be closed within one year of cessation of operations.
Representatives from ODAFF were denied access to the farms on March 9 and April 22, 2010. ODAFF inspectors, accompanied by inspectors from EPA, were again denied access on May 27, 2010.
The warrant, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma in Muskogee, allowed inspectors from EPA and ODAFF to gain access to the facility to complete the annual inspections, verify the status of the retention lagoons, and determine if discharges of animal wastes were occurring.
EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/jul2010.html