Companies that are part of Idaho's $2.4 billion dairy industry are no longer at risk of losing their operating permits if caught illegally dumping waste into streams and waterways.
The Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee approved new rules Tuesday that would no longer allow the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to revoke a facility's permit for the offense. Instead, dairies would face a fine up to $10,000.
The rules come after Idaho lawmakers passed the Dairy Environmental Control Act in 2014. That's the same year most of the attention on dairies was being focused on a contested law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities. However, the Idaho Dairymen's Association called the passage of the act a "significant change" for the industry and added that the dairy industry would now be held to the same standards as other businesses.