For years, complaints about North Carolina’s hog pollution vanished in state bureaucracy | Food and Environment Reporting NetworkA joint investigation by The Guardian, Food & Environment Reporting Network, and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting backs up those residents’ assessments. In response to a public-records request, DEQ released only 33 public complaints against livestock operations in North Carolina from January 2008 to April 2018. Over the same period, other hog states have registered literally thousands. And then, abruptly, the DEQ reversed that policy this spring, saying it had validated 62 complaints against animal operations over a six-month period and then posting them online. The offenders included 11 industrial hog farms, some of which had let their waste discharge into ditches and streams. The change of policy meant that state regulators had publicly documented nearly twice as many violations in the six months ending April 2019 than in an entire decade. What happened?