From the Correcting Inane Regulations Desk:
One could say that EPA has regulated CAFOs under the Clean Water Act for years. Big Ag operations are required to obtain NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits for their discharges and consequently, the Agency has monitored such discharges and protected the public from the environmental hazards these operations create. Of course, if one said all that, one would be wrong
That´s how the story might read if we lived in a rational world. Instead, Industrial Ag operations can claim — without having to provide verification — that its facilities do not discharge into the waters of the U.S. Consequently, many CAFOs do not obtain permits, which means their discharges are not regulated.
The good news is that, thanks to the recent settlement of a citizen suit filed by Waterkeeper, Sierra Club, and NRDC, EPA will have to propose a rule by May 26, 2011 requiring all CAFOs to submit information about their operations including: animal population, manner of manure storage, land application practices, manure transfers, and more. In addition (and most notable for its absence until now), the operations will have to disclose whether or not they’ve applied for an NPDES permit.
Big Ag is not happy. Michael Formica, chief environmental counsel for the National Pork Producers Council, calls the settlement “a one-sided sweetheart deal” that will lead to more factory farms. Baffling logic there; I wasn´t aware the industry didn´t like factory farms. They sure have a funny way of showing their disdain…
In any event, this is (or will be in 2011) actual progress in the battle to hold Big Ag accountable for the grievous environmental damage it causes. The next step will be forcing some accountability for the ongoing cruelty it inflicts.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, environmental law, factory farms Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal law, animal welfare, CAFOS, Clean Water Act, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, EPA, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial agriculture, industrial farming, NPDES, NRDC, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper