Letter: Stop The New Manure Rules

The following comments are from my letter to Wellington Mayor Bob Margolis and to the Equestrian Preserve Committee:

Our equestrian community represents a great economic engine to the village. We have always dealt with the animal waste successfully. Now we have an 18-page proposal within the village to simply revoke the few spreading permits existing and require all new regulations for storage bins. This would require removing and rebuilding many bins and relocating them on the property. Perhaps it could end up in the riding ring!

Why go through this? It does nothing to help the ecology and simply dumps our waste on our neighbors. Manure is mostly moisture, and the best solution is to spread it, not pile it up to attract rodents, flies and mosquitoes. We should redirect our efforts to a solution such as burning to produce power or composting at the village level and sell the compost. Spreading is the best solution for small farms with one animal per acre.

The Equestrian Preserve Committee has wisely voted to ask the council to stop this ill-advised effort. I could not agree more.

Peter Granata


  1. I’d like to add my two cents:
    We Have Nuisance Laws That Are Adequate – We Don’t Need an Ordinance

    We have nuisance laws that are adequate in most cases to deal with competing property rights, and often we do not need prior restraints on property ownership, by imposing a one-rule-fits-all government regulation; therefore, we should carefully weigh every government restriction and measure it against the loss of our personal freedom.

    Every time a new rule is promulgated it invades the sacred property rights of every owner. Our laws prohibit public and private nuisances. The common law enforced by the courts protect us from others who invade our right to enjoy the property we own. We often do not need government regulators to prejudge how we might use our property to prevent encroaching upon someone else’s right to use their property. The proposed new “best management practices” proposed by the new Wellington Councilmen is a nice way of saying “we will tell you how you can use your property”.

    I believe in protecting the environment, but the new Wellington proposed ordinance is unnecessary in light of the hundreds of thousands of Federal and State regulations that govern farms. The proposed ordinance overreaches the authority granted to local government. It attempts to regulate matters that are beyond the jurisdiction of Village of Wellington, and beyond the right of any government to impose penalties for non compliance. Local officials should stick to planning and zoning matters and leave Environmental Protection to the experts at the State and Federal level. They can think up enough ways to regulate without any help from every local official in the State or Nation.

    Criminalizing Farming
    I address the issue of “ticking” farm owners for a violation by an independent contractor who hauls manure from the property and later violates some government regulation. There are legal issues involved in imposing a fine on landowner for the acts of a third party with whom the landowner has no connection other than an agreement for a price to remove trash from the property? There are criminal laws that cover the possibility of a conspiracy or complicity might exist between a farmer and a hauler. Those laws are more than adequate to deal with crime.
    Clearly imputing criminal intent upon a farmer is beyond the pale. The farmer does not have a police force or investigators, nor does he necessarily have the expertise to understand the thousands of pages of environmental regulations that would apply.

    Stop and Search And The 4th Amendment – Uniformity
    Mr. Whitlow also reportedly asked about stopping haulers on the road, in effect to conduct a search. Terry v. Ohio (1968), an 8-1 decision with only Justice Douglas dissenting, required that in order for law enforcement agencies to stop a vehicle he must be able to articulate specific facts leading a reasonable police officer to believe a crime might be occurring. Surely not every hauler who has a load of manure intends to dump his load into Lake Okeechobee. If a crime is committed by the hauler, it would not occur until the load is improperly dumped. There are County and State law enforcement agencies with authority under existing laws to apprehend illegal activities without the need for a Village ordinance. Additionally, jurisdiction involved in policing haulers goes beyond the Village of Wellington; such as, in cases where the hauler is dumping his load outside the boundaries of the Village. Leave enforcement to the County or State. Countywide regulations would not put the Village at a competitive disadvantage. Farm operators often lease facilities and they are free to move out of Wellington if the cost of compliance is too onerous. Additionally, the County or State will create a more uniform set of regulations.

    Environmental Concerns
    In an earlier correspondence I requested the citation of the Federal Regulation that requires the Wellington Council to comply with Federal regulations. I have not received an adequate response, except for the suggestion that the new rules will help the South Florida Water Management District to comply with future Federal Environmental Mandates. The reason the Village is considering new regulations that will cost farm owners more is that Wellington residents are “in a better position” than most to afford the cost associated with the new regulations.

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