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????
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
News for Release: Friday, January 21, 2005
EPA Announces Air Quality Compliance Agreement for Animal Feeding
Contact: Cynthia Bergman 202-564-9828/ email@example.com
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
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
Sciences called on EPA to improve its method for estimating emissions
from AFOs – a key step in mitigating air pollution from those
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
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
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
R011 # # #