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Deal ends environmental racism complaint against hog farms

RALEIGH (AP) North Carolina officials are resolving a formal complaint of environmental racism by promising tougher oversight of industrial swine operations blamed for polluting the air and water.

The state Department of Environmental Quality and a coalition of environmental groups said May 3 they have resolved a four-year-old complaint about health problems affecting minority communities near large-scale hog operations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year told the state agency it was concerned that minorities might have suffered outsized effects as concentrated animal feeding operations multiplied near their eastern North Carolina homes.

State environmental officials say they’ll now launch an air quality study in Duplin County and expand existing water monitoring efforts in Sampson and Duplin counties.

The agreement ends civil rights complaints filed against the state environmental agency in 2014 and 2016.

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