mIEKAL aND dtv at mwt.net
Thu Dec 18 10:56:14 EST 2003


Date: Dec 2003 14 From: "BushGreenwatch" {info at bushgreenwatch.org}

December 17, 2003

Perhaps taking its cue from the Cheney Energy Task Force, the EPA has 
been holding secret meetings with the agribusiness industry this year, 
putting together a "sweetheart deal" with lobbyists to exempt factory 
farms from Clean Air Act and Superfund regulations.

The EPA has proposed offering "an industry-wide pardon" for air 
pollution violations to massive hog, cattle and chicken farms, says 
Sierra Club attorney Barclay Rogers.

"This deal is being negotiated behind closed doors, and the Sierra Club 
and other environmental groups are trying to pry those doors open 
through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act," Rogers told 

The lawsuit demands the Bush Administration divulge information about 
the secret meetings between EPA and industry.[1] Even though documents 
had been leaked to environmental groups, EPA denied the existence of a 
deal until after the lawsuit was filed in September. The plaintiffs 
have asked the court to order EPA to immediately turn over its records.

A copy of the deal obtained by environmentalists indicates that EPA 
would agree not to pursue factory farms for polluting if they paid a 
$500 penalty and agreed to take part in a study to monitor emissions.[2]

Localities, some of which have been unable to meet air quality 
standards because of farm emissions, have complained.

"The result would be an evisceration of states' and localities' ability 
to address air quality problems emanating from agricultural 
operations," two organizations representing state and local air quality 
officials said in a letter to EPA.

A small number of corporate farming giants dominate the U.S. meat 
industry - in 2001, for instance, 75 percent of all hogs were packed 
into just 9 percent of U.S. hog farms, resulting in roughly 5,000 hogs 
per operation.[3] With so many animals - and manure - concentrated onto 
so few farms, they are a major source of air emissions of hazardous 
gases and particulate matter proven to cause lung ailments and even 
premature death.

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