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E-M:/ No CAFO Polluter Left Behind: EPA and livestock industry have signed the "sweetheart" deal



No CAFO Polluter Left Behind: EPA and livestock industry have signed the "sweetheart" deal

 

In what is best called the "No CAFO Polluter Left Behind" agreement, the USEPA has signed a deal with the largest corporations in the livestock industry that lets concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) off the hook regarding the emission of noxious and even toxic fumes in exchange for simply "signing up" for a "study" of air pollutants and paying a few thousand dollar fee. 

 

Continuing the double-speak of the Bush Administration's assault on the environment, Acting EPA Administrator Thomas Skinner (formerly Regional Administrator for our region of EPA) says in the below EPA press release that this is a step forward, when in fact this plan promises to not only give the Bush Administration's blessing for continuing horrific air pollution from these facilities, it will prevent the victims of these dangerous air pollutants from getting our federal environmental agency from taking enforcement action against those facilities. 

 

This is unilateral surrender by the nation's environmental cops in what has been a long struggle by rural families and family farmers exposed to hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, air borne pathogens, etc. to get justice.  The victims have seen these massive CAFOs not only eat away at their quality of life, but receive huge federal and state subsidies to build dirty, stinking operations that ruin their water, destroy their health, and also drive these little guys out of business. 

 

Please take time to read this agreement and to offer your comments (see links in below EPA press release) -- this is an admission by the CAFO industry that they NEED to poison people's air in order to run the way they want -- isn't it about time that our tax dollars and the Bush Administration stop giving them everything they want????

 

Anne Woiwode

Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter

 

 

News for Release: Friday, January 21, 2005

 

               U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

 

   EPA Announces Air Quality Compliance Agreement for Animal Feeding

                               Operations

 

     Contact: Cynthia Bergman 202-564-9828/ bergman.cynthia@epa.gov

 

 

(Washington, D.C.- January 21, 2005) The Environmental Protection Agency

today announced an air quality compliance agreement to address emissions

from certain animal feeding operations, also known as AFOs.  This

agreement is part of the Agency’s ongoing effort to minimize air

emissions from animal feeding operations and to ensure those operations

comply with the Clean Air Act and other laws.

 

"This agreement is a huge step forward," said Thomas V. Skinner, EPA’s

Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

"It will allow us to reach the largest number of AFOs in the shortest

period of time and ensure that they comply with applicable clean air

requirements."

 

The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that AFOs comply with

applicable environmental requirements and to gather scientific data the

Agency needs to make informed regulatory and policy determinations.  The

agreement will establish an industry-funded emissions monitoring program

that will help provide this information, leading to better tools to help

the farm industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and EPA determine

the compliance status of feeding operations.

 

In recent years, the increased size and consolidation of agricultural

operations including poultry, swine and dairy operations have been the

focus of an increasing number of citizen complaints and concern about

possible health impacts.  A 2002 report by the National Academy of

Sciences called on EPA to improve its method for estimating emissions

from AFOs – a key step in mitigating air pollution from those

operations.

 

The emissions of air pollutants and hazardous substances from certain

feeding operations may be subject to requirements of the Clean Air Act

and notification provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,

Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Emergency Planning and

Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  Though EPA previously has brought

Clean Air Act enforcement actions against AFOs, more data are necessary

to determine whether operations are in violation, the nature and extent

of any violations and the best practices to control industry-wide

emissions.

 

AFO operators participating in the agreement will pay a civil penalty of

between $200 and $100,000, based on the size and number of farms in

their operation, and also will contribute to a fund that will cover the

cost of the two-year emissions monitoring program.  Qualifying AFOs may

sign up to participate within 90 days following publication of the

agreement in the Federal Register.

 

Data from the monitoring program will help EPA develop a method for

estimating emissions from different types and sizes of feeding

operations. Once these methods have been established, operators will be

required to apply for all applicable air permits, install all needed

controls, implement all required practices, and otherwise come into full

compliance.

 

Though participating AFOs will not be sued for past violations, provided

that they comply with specific conditions, the agreement does not limit

EPAs ability to take action in the event of imminent and substantial

danger to public health or the environment. AFOs that are the subject of

current enforcement actions may be barred from joining the study. The

agreement also preserves state and local authorities’ authority to

enforce local odor or nuisance laws.

 

EPA will accept public comment on the agreement for 30 days following

publication in the Federal Register.  For information on how to submit

comments, go to http://www.epa.gov/compliance/agreements/afo

 

 

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