Factory farms, also known as "concentrated animal feeding operations," raise
thousands of animals in close quarters and generate about 500 million tons of
manure every year, roughly three times the waste that humans produce. Often
factory farms dispose of these huge quantities of waste by over-applying it
onto their land, from which it can run off and pollute surrounding waters.
Animal waste contains nitrogen and phosphorus, the main culprits in creating
algae "blooms" that rob water of the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life
need to survive. In addition, animal waste pollution can reduce water quality
and cause many illnesses.
Claiming to respond to a 2005 court decision, the EPA recently proposed a new
rule that would allow the factory farm industry to essentially police itself.
Under the proposal, factory farm operators would themselves decide whether they
discharge pollution and whether they need a permit that limits their pollution
and requires them to monitor and report on their discharges (currently,
thousands of factory farms that should be operating under a permit do not have
one). The proposed rule would not even require a factory farm operator to show
authorities how the facility will ensure that it does not pollute. The EPA also
would not require factory farms to control pathogens -- disease-causing
bacteria and other micro-organisms -- in their waste even though technologies
exist to reduce pathogens by up to 99 percent.
The EPA is accepting comments on its proposed rule through August 14th.
== What to do ==
Send a message, before the August 14th comment deadline, urging the EPA to
strengthen controls of factory farm pollution and not to allow the factory farm
industry to police itself.
== Contact information ==
You can send an official comment to the EPA directly from NRDC's Earth Action
Center at http://www.nrdc.org/action/. Or use the contact information and
sample letter below to send your own message.
Att'n: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2005-0037
Environmental Protection Agency
Mail code 4203M
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Speaking of non-point pollution
The Environmental Protection (giggle) Agency is now accepting comments on a proposed rule that would allow factory farms to dump as much crap into rivers and streams as farm operators feel neccessary. Just another example of the Bush Administration keeping us safe and free from good health and a decent environment. From the National Resources Defense Council: