Factory Farm Emissions: No Solution = No Problem

AP reports that EPA has exempted the nations “farms”  from having to “report to authorities the toxic, smelly fumes released from manure.”  I have complained elsewhere about the use of term “farm” to refer to industrial confinement facilities so I’ll not belabor that issue.  Instead, let me just note that the Bush administration has reached yet another new low on yet another important animal/environmental issue.

Typically, the government adopts a band-aid approach when dealing with the dangerous, fetid emissions (which are also potent greenhouse gases)  from confinement facilities.  It issues a token regulation or asks for voluntary compliance with some standard that does pitifully little to address the pollution problem while wholly ignoring the accompanying ethical quagmire.  Our lame-duck president (apologies to ducks everywhere) has done this strategy one worse.

He (through his minions) has decreed that there is actually no problem and therefore no need for any solution.  Reaching this conclusion required a stunning display of reasoning backwards.  Barry Breen, Director of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, notes that “[w]hen there is a lagoon full of manure there is nothing our folks can do when they show up.” This impotence led the agency to conclude that there must not be anything to resolve.

Meanwhile, Senator Tom Harkin, Chair of the Agriculture Committee, criticized not the substance of the rule but its timing.  He complained that under the circumstances, the rule will almost certainly “be revisited by the new administration and Congress.”

Breathtaking.

David Cassuto