RALEIGH, N.C. — Lawmakers in the country’s No. 2 hog-raising state are pushing ahead with protection for agribusiness by all but blocking neighbors who suffer nuisances from suing farm operations.
A North Carolina House committee on Tuesday approved the proposal that was unveiled and passed the Senate in the past week.
Supporters say sharply restricting nuisance lawsuits against agribusinesses will keep alive rural towns that turned to livestock after the tobacco and textile collapsed.
Opponents say nuisance lawsuits are one of the last tools left to force change from an industrial-scale hog industry that hasn’t changed despite decades of complaints about open-air waste pits emptied by spraying on fields.
A federal jury recently hit pork giant Smithfield Foods with $51 million in penalties after neighbors complained for years about smells and other nuisances.
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