The Siting of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs): Information Gaps for Achieving Environmental Justice
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Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are permitted, large-scale animal agricultural facilities that have the potential to negatively affect the environment, human health, and the economic structure of surrounding communities. This study examines whether the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has sufficient location information to ensure environmental justice when they permit these facilities. The goal of this study was to use geographic information system technology to create an accurate coverage of the ten permitted dairy operations in the state using the EPD's location data. This coverage must be precise enough to apply demographic data to ask questions about the proportional risk to low-income and minority communities. The study indicates that the EPD does not have, or is not making available to the public, adequate geographic data about its permitted operations. Therefore, the Environmental Protection Division's ethical obligation to ensure environmental justice for all of Georgia's citizens may be compromised.