December 11, 2018

Judge Dismisses Challenge on EPA Factory Farm Data

In Minneapolis yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a challenge brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council against the EPA. Those groups wanted to block the EPA’s ability to release public information about polluting factory farms to citizens and groups concerned about clean water.¬†Food & Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Environmental Integrity Project, represented by lawyers at the Government Accountability Project, intervened on behalf of citizens.

GavelsEPA released documents in 2013 about the location, size, and ownership of thousands of industrial factory farms that are a significant source of pollution to streams, rivers, and bays across the country. These farms are largely unregulated and hidden from people who live near them.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “many of our public waterways suffer from nutrient impairment and factory farms are some of the biggest nutrient polluters in the country. Instead of looking for ways to avoid responsibility by filing these kinds of law suits, maybe Farm Bureau and other industry front groups should be looking for ways to clean up these facilities and make the big meat companies control their pollution.”

One of the problems is phosphorous pollution, which causes algal blooms. These create dead zones in streams, rivers, and bays and kill fish. Another problem is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), factory farms that produce three times as much waste as humans.

Jeffrey Gulley, Food and Public health Counsel for the Government Accountability Project said in a statement, “we’re grateful that the judge saw through industry’s improper attempt to keep their polluting ways in the dark. Hopefully this ruling will enable the public to hold this industry accountable for the damage it continues to inflict on waterways and communities in almost every state in the country.”

 

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