WASHINGTON -- January 21 -- The following is a statement on the EPA's signing today of a deal that exempts factory farms from pollution requirements under the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act. In addition to the following statement by the Sierra Club, you can find more information on the background of this issue at: http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/cafo_papers/
"The deal signed today by the Bush administration lets the meat industry off-the-hook for air pollution and reporting toxic releases from factory farms. Rural families have been suffering from this pollution for years, and now they will have to wait at least until 2011 for relief.
"Instead of forcing polluters to clean up their act, the Bush administration has given them a get-out-of-jail-free card.
"This is an agreement of the polluters, by the polluters, and for the polluters. Last year, leaked documents revealed that this deal was crafted behind closed doors, by industry lobbyists, while the public was left in the dark. The Bush administration repeatedly denied that any such negotiations were taking place, until the EPA's own documents proved otherwise.
"The largest corporations in the livestock industry are being let off-the-hook in exchange for agreeing to 'study' their air pollution and paying small fees. Under this deal, the companies are not actually required to reduce any harmful pollution. It's nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and does nothing to protect the health of neighbors and their children. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA already has the ability to require polluting facilities to provide data on their emissions, without exempting the polluters and putting nearby residents at risk.
"This is another example of the Bush administration striking deals behind closed doors. Whether it's Vice President Cheney's Secret Energy Task Force, power companies being allowed to draft rules on toxic mercury, or this new deal with the meat industry, it's clear that this administration is putting polluters before the public."