New EPA Deal Lets Factory Farms Pollute Air Without Restriction
The EPA is ignoring public opposition and approving a Bush Administration proposal that allows factory farms to freely violate any and all clean air standards for the next four years, while forgiving these same companies from paying massive fines for past air pollution violations. Focus: N. Carolina has 10 million hogs and 8 million people!
Focus: The number two hog state in America, North Carolina, has 8 Million people whose wastes/excretions have to be treated, while having 10 Million hogs, whose wastes come out at 4-6 times the amount per human, and do NOT have to be treated. #1 and #2 running out into Carolina rivers, creeks, streams, standing in massive stanking “lagoons” that often break their levees, and smell up entire towns, causing disease, irritating lungs and minds, especially think ASTHMA!….
“In exchange for the freedom to pollute without any restrictions, the EPA has decided to simply require that factory farms agree to allow the EPA to monitor their air pollution. The deal will forgive more than 6,700 factory farms from having to pay fines of up to $27,500 per day for violating clean air standards in the past or over the next four years. The EPA claims this arrangement is needed in order to gather data necessary to further refine air emissions regulations for egg, chicken, turkey, dairy and hog industries. According to the EPA’s rule, the main goal of this deal is to “reduce air pollution.” *
More Orwellian doublespeak. People who live around these hydrogen sulfide, methane, toxic particulate spewing industrial “farms,” located usually around smaller towns outside of the urban celebrity television radio media consciousness, have to live their lives like they are dwelling inside a rotten egg, enduring terrible smells and respiratory reactions. Not good if your kids have asthma. Or if you have emphysema or mesothelioma.
And just think of those unfortunate chickens and hogs who have to live their entire lives packed together in cages, hardly able to move, chickens often being de-beaked because they are so close to their neighbors, and naturally tend to peck a bit to protect their limited space. Some of these “farms” have tens of thousands to millions of chickens on the ole industrial “farm.” And, thanks to our brilliant President, those hogs living so they can hardly move or turn around, shalt be allowed to continue excreting their wastes untreated into our waterways. Mr. Bush refused to sign a bill that would have required treatment of hog waste on his very very first day in office back in January of 2001.
Hogs make 4-6 times as much waste as humans, per
individual. So, a hog farm with 100,000 hogs makes
as much waste as a city of 400,000 to 600,000 people, but the people’s city wastes DO have to be treated.
Meanwhile, yes, environmentalists are preparing legal challenges to our twisted EPA’s rules and governance on this issue.
“This decision is a great disservice for people who live around large factory farms,” said Ed Hopkins, environmental quality director for the Sierra Club. “It basically gives these farms a free ride on the backs of the public. There’s really nothing in this that holds the polluters accountable for the toxic air emissions they release.” ** And this has been going on for a long time, as industrial farms get bigger and bigger and bigger and badder and badder.
“Over the past decade, as the meat, dairy, and egg industries have boomed and been consolidated, massive factories — known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or “CAFO’s” — have replaced many smaller-scale farms. The huge numbers of chickens, hogs, and heifers in these densely packed facilities produce even huger piles of waste, which in turn produce ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and particulates. Exactly how much of these pollutants, we don’t yet know; CAFOs’ emissions haven’t been systematically studied.
Bush officials say they need to gather emissions data before they can “make informed regulatory and policy determinations” about how to curb CAFO pollution, and they say their new plan is just the way to do it. In exchange for amnesty for air violations during the next two years, as well as any previous infractions, CAFOs participating in the voluntary program will fund emissions
“Enviros counter that while new data would be warmly welcomed, there’s no need to paralyze the law-enforcement process in order to collect it. “It’s true that much of the consolidation has happened in the last decade, so everybody agrees that additional data collection is appropriate,” said Michele Merkel , a former staff attorney in the EPA’s enforcement division who filed the agency’s first suit against a CAFO for Clean Air Act violations in October 1999, under the Clinton administration. “But the Clean Air Act on its own requires polluting facilities to provide this kind of data. EPA does not need to suspend its enforcement authority while the monitoring takes place.”
Merkel, now an attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project , says that a halt to enforcement could mean increased health risks for CAFO employees and nearby residents from toxic emissions such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide released by decomposing feces. A 2002 study by Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Study Group revealed widespread cases of bronchitis in workers exposed to these pollutants.
According to Ed Hopkins, environmental quality director for the Sierra Club , the biggest CAFOs have emission levels comparable to those of industrial manufacturing facilities. One egg farm in Iowa was recently found to have ammonia emissions on par with a fertilizer manufacturing plant ranked as the ninth biggest producer of this hazardous gas in the country, he said.
Environmentalists also note that the fees required to participate in the program are a pittance compared to penalties that can be levied under the Clean Air Act. In addition to the $2,500 membership fee, CAFO-owning companies will be asked to cough up a one-time penalty of between $200 and $100,000 (according to the number and size of their facilities) to be pardoned for “presumed” past air-quality violations. “This is chump change compared to the fines violators have faced in the past,” said Merkel. Under the Clean Air Act, farms violating the law can be fined up to $27,500 per day per facility.” ***
Tyson, as in Tyson Chickens, was among the biggest contributors to George Bush II’s second inaugural festivities back in January of 2005, having given more than $100,000 for the celebrations. “Among the goodies Tyson execs received for their donation were VIP tickets to the inaugural parade and a candlelight dinner for 10 with Dubyah and the Veep. But, enviros argue, even those party favors don’t hold a candle to the get-out-of-jail-free card they got handed on the full first day of Bush’s second term.” ***
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