FRIENDS: A year ago Sierra Club
released the below press release on the “Backroom Deal” which the
Bush EPA has now finalized. As we seem to spiral downwards at the federal
level into a morass of environmental payola, we MUST defend VIGOROUSLY the
The states were the original cauldrons in
which environmental protections were enacted, and as the Bushies undo the 50+ year
infrastructure built to protect human health and the environment, we need to be
We saw the Granholm administration take over a state with drastically reduced expectations and capacity to assure that clean air and water, and healthy land were our birthrights as Americans, and have watched the boa constrictor of structurally preordained downward funding on the already strapped agencies vested with the job of protecting these elements that sustain our life.
On this particular issue, the dreadful and potentially deadly air pollution from animal factories, the state air pollution law was gutted in the 1990s (Engler-ized) with regard to any agricultural pollution, in effect mandating that the hydrogen sulfide, the ammonia, the particulate matter and other noxious pollutants from CAFOs wasn’t pollution unless the Director of the Department of Agriculture said it was, after an agonizing system of trying to see if they met the generally accepted agricultural management practices (GAAMPs) which actually didn’t really address the potentially deadly contaminant put in the air.
So when the DEQ FINALLY at the end of last year cited one of the worst emitters -- a 8,000 head hog operation called State Line Farms in Lenawee County that sits 300 feet from the front door of one of their neighbors -- with a violation of the state’s air pollution act it was cause for rejoicing (see the painful history of this facility at the ECCSCM site, http://www.nocafos.org/violations.htm although the simple enumeration of facts cannot capture the impact of this operation on its neighbors). Neighbors have sent grateful letters to DEQ for taking action, even though the facility has failed to clean up its act yet -- at the very least, the DEQ’s long overdue steps showed that these neighbors had a right to breathe clean air, even if that right has not yet been fulfilled. The failure to fix the problems in early January and additional citation reinforce the difficulty getting this operation to treat its neighbors appropriately.
Now, the Bush Administration has enacted
an effort to try to assure that no matter how horrific the air pollution is
from any of the CAFOs that have signed up for the backroom deal (don’t know
how many in Michigan), these taxpayer subsidized stench holes will once again get
out from under any responsibility, least to the feds. I sure hope we do
not have any obscene suggestions that
Sierra Club Response to EPA’s Backroom Deal with the Meat Industry
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."
Anne Woiwode, State Director
Sierra Club Mackinac (
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of HAMILTREEF@aol.com
WASHINGTON — The Bush
administration will let thousands of factory-style farms escape severe
penalties for fouling the air and water with animal excrement in exchange for
data to help curb future pollution.