Bush Administration Exempts Factory Farms From Regulation
Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive Director
WASHINGTON - “The latest in a long list of midnight regulations released by the Bush Administration to undermine federal environmental standards is the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule, published today, that will let factory farms off the hook from reporting hazardous air emissions. This move to exempt confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from reporting requirements sends a clear message that EPA is no longer interested in doing its job.
“Instead, EPA has put itself in the livestock industry’s pocket after years of pressure to exempt factory farms from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund) and the emissions reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). While EPA did not completely shut the door on the air reporting requirements of CAFOs in this rule – since they will be required to report to state and local air health authorities – the agency will not be holding these factory farms accountable under federal environmental law for their air pollution emissions. Coupled with the self-certification process recently approved by EPA for CAFOs to apply for permits to discharge pollutants in waterways under the Clean Water Act, this rule today demonstrates EPA is walking away from its responsibilities to regulate pollution from CAFOs.
“Large confinement livestock operations can be significant sources of pollution affecting hundreds of communities all over the country. They emit toxic chemicals such as phosphorus, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide that can harm human health and cause hazardous air and water pollution. The reporting requirements of CERCLA and EPCRA provided the small but vital amount of information communities could access about the pollutants they were exposed to.
“This last-ditch effort by a lame-duck administration to undo years of environmental protections is putting millions of Americans at risk.”
The rule can be viewed at