Trump administration challenged on farm air pollution decision

Posted: 10 July 2019 | | No comments yet

The EPA is being sued by environmental agencies for exempting factory farms for producing air pollution information.

"Once again, Trump's EPA is siding with corporate polluters at the expense of the public's health and safety," said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at Center for Food Safety.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued for exempting factory farms from pollution-reporting requirements, according to the Centre for Food Safety (CFS).

The lawsuit, which was issued by community and conservation groups, wants to ensure that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CFAOs) report their toxic releases of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

“Once again, Trump’s EPA is siding with corporate polluters at the expense of the public’s health and safety,” said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at the CSF. “People who live near factory farms have a right to know whether the air they breathe is safe.

It boggles the mind that EPA’s policy to address the toxic emissions of factory farms is to tell the people who live near them to ‘breathe at your own risk.'”

Federal pollution-reporting requirements are designed to guarantee that communities and emergency responders have access to information necessary to protect themselves against harmful exposure to hazardous substances like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.

The reporting requirements also provide information that is crucial to developing effective emergency-response and preparedness plans.

“Citizens have a right to know if hazardous chemical releases are affecting their health.”

“EPCRA reporting was designed by Congress to put this information in their hands,” added Steve Brittle, president of Don’t Waste Arizona.

The lawsuit states that ‘For more than a decade, EPA has taken steps to undermine the effectiveness of EPCRA’s reporting requirements by exempting CAFOs from this obligation.

Federal pollution-reporting requirements are for communities to protect themselves against harmful exposure to hazardous substances.

‘These efforts weaken the protections against toxic releases that EPCRA provides to local communities.’ 

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Don’t Waste Arizona, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, Sound Rivers and Waterkeeper Alliance.