Sierra Club: EPA Seeking to Exempt Factory Farms from Reporting Hazardous Air Pollution

DECEMBER 21, 2007
1:59 PM

CONTACT: Sierra Club
Virginia Cramer

EPA Seeking to Exempt Factory Farms from Reporting Hazardous Air Pollution
New Proposal Denies Public the Right to Know

WASHINGTON, DC - December 21 - A new proposal put forth by the EPA would exempt livestock operations from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning Right-to-Know Act, which require facilities that release listed hazardous substances over a certain threshold to report their releases to local, state and federal agencies. In response to the new proposal Ed Hopkins, Director of the Sierra Club's Environmental Quality Program issued the following statement.

"Once again Bush's EPA is poised to put polluters before public health. EPA's new proposal would let factory farms off the hook for releasing hazardous chemicals into our air- exempting these large livestock operations from even the most basic of pollution laws like reporting their hazardous chemical releases. Residents have a right to know when these factory farms spew health threatening air pollution in their area.

"One of the most extensive studies of air quality from large factory farms, done by the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, recently found that emissions of ammonia and other harmful chemicals from factory farms may constitute a public health hazard and precautions should be taken to minimize exposure. There is no way we minimize exposure and protect public health if factory farms are not required to report their emissions.

"Despite the fact that some of these factory farms release more ammonia than large industrial facilities, the EPA is set to give them free reign to pollute. Just six months ago the Agency announced plans to help large livestock operations comply with environmental laws. Now, instead of enforcing the law, the EPA has decided to allow factory farms to operate outside the laws, eliminating any requirement to comply existing regulations.

"EPA should seriously reconsider its proposal and perhaps give some thought to the purpose of these laws, which is to protect public health not corporate interests."