A so-called Yogurt Summit in New York state aimed at promoting growth of medium-size dairies to help supply the state's yogurt industry has left a sour taste in the mouth of some environmentalists.
One outcome of the mid-August summit was a policy announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would raise the permitting threshold for dairies from 200 to 300 cows. The intent was to promote agriculture and support the yogurt industry which is experiencing a boom in the state.
Environmental groups blasted the move, which would allow medium-size dairies to grow by a third without having to meet confined animal feeding operation requirements such as construction of adequate waste storage facilities and water diversions to protect streams.
A coalition of six groups said in a statement that "we believe that alternatives to the proposed regulatory rollback that will provide both an economic and environmental benefit to the state and its dairy farmers must be considered before throwing away the standards New Yorkers fought for decades to put in place to protect the waters we use for fishing, swimming and drinking."