Intriguing blog post by Mark Bittman, of all people, wondering whether industrial meat could be illegal under TSCA , the Toxic Substances Control Act (not to be confused with Tosca, the Puccini opera). The argument would be that TSCA gives the EPA authority to regulate substances that pose “an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment,” which greenhouse gases do, and industrial agriculture is a prime source of greenhouse gases (which they are). So… there’s a potential case to be made for the strict regulation of industrial agriculture under TSCA.
It’s a creative argument and I, of course, salute the intent. But I’m skeptical. As an initial matter, TSCA “does not include chemical substances subject to other US statutes such as foods and food additives, pesticides, drugs, cosmetics, tobacco, nuclear material, or munitions.” Greenhouse gases are indeed subject to other U.S. statutes (i.e. the Clean Air Act); this was the gravamen of the Massachusetts v. EPA case and the reason for the EPA’s recent “endangerment finding” that Bittman references in the post.
Also, even if it were possible to regulate industrial agriculture under TSCA, the statute merely provides EPA with the authority to do so; it does not require the agency to act. Given the vacuum that is federal agricultural regulation, I would not expect to see any agency cavalry riding into this particular breach anytime soon.
But hey; I’d love to be wrong.
Filed under: animal law, environmental law, factory farms Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal law, animal welfare, Clean Air Act, climate change, endangerment finding, environmental advocacy, environmental law, Environmental Protection Agency, environmentalism, EPA, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, greenhouse gases, industrial farming, Mark Bittman, Massachusetts v. EPA, Puccini, Tosca, Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA