Four Organizations Challenge EPA Factory Farm Backroom Deal
The Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Association of Irritated Residents (great name, but I couldn't find a website) filed a lawsuit on May 26 and released a statement on June 1st to challenge a deal that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made with the livestock industry to allow factory farms (two words that creep me out when put next to each other) across the US to continue polluting the air without threat of prosecution by the EPA, and in return "a commitment from a handful of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO, more or less a synonym of "factory farming") to study the problem for a number of years." This even undermines efforts by states like Iowa and California that have tried to address the CAFO air pollution problem on the state-level.The agreement with the meat and milk industry was drafted without consulting those who suffer from the pollution caused by large livestock operations, and with only minimal input from the scientific and environmental communities. We object to the sweetheart deal because of the sweeping nature of the purported liability shield, the scientific flaws in the monitoring program, and the lack of public participation in the process to date among other concerns.
The deal with the livestock industry will put many communities at risk. The American Public Health Association and the National Academy of Sciences have stated that pollution from massive animal factories jeopardizes public health in rural communities across the nation. Bearing no resemblance to the traditional family farm, these facilities pack thousands of animals into small spaces, produce as much waste as a small city, and spew toxic gases and other pollutants into the air. Livestock production is the single largest contributor of ammonia gas release in the United States (ammonia is both a toxic gas and a fine particulate matter precursor), and giant animal factories also emit hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds (smog precursors), and fine dust particles - all of which are linked to respiratory illness - in dangerous quantities.::Citizen, Farm Groups Challenge EPA Factory Farm "Sweetheart Deal" Permitting Unchecked Pollution