Demand Open Environmental Regulation of Animal Farms

cow

Target: U.S. Senators

Goal: Don’t block the Environmental Protection Agency from collecting information about pollution from agricultural facilities

Despite their adverse effects on America’s water supplies, Concentrated animal feeding operations (or CAFOs) face alarmingly few regulations. These large-scale facilities hold huge numbers of cattle and other animals, often dumping manure directly into waterways. Now, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is attempting to stifle the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to collect necessary data about CAFO pollution. This federal-level “ag-gag” amendment (legislation that prevents outside investigators from recording unsightly conditions at farms) will allow Big Agriculture to run its facilities without fear of repercussions for water contamination.

The Grassley amendment to the Senate’s Farm Bill would block the EPA from collecting data about the effect of CAFOs on the nation’s water supply, making it illegal even to use aircraft to observe large pollution spills. It’s known already that CAFOs are a huge source of water pollution. They produce approximately 500 million tons of manure each year—more than triple the volume of yearly human waste. Yet these facilities aren’t sufficiently regulated. No government agency knows exactly how many CAFOs exist.

Letting CAFOs operate unregulated and in secret will only lead to further water pollution. Big Ag won’t police itself; a lack of regulation will let farms run cheaply and without regard to environmental safety. Urge the Senate not to let farms pollute in the dark.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear U.S. Senators,

A recent amendment to the Farm Bill currently facing the Senate would have devastating effects on America’s water supply if passed into law. Grassley’s CAFO amendment would block the EPA from collecting vital data on the pollution activity of concentrated animal feeding operations. The agency wouldn’t even be able to observe pollution spills via aircraft.

CAFOs already operate largely in secret. No government agency has records of how many facilities exist or where they are all located. It’s estimated that factory farms produce 500 million tons of manure each year already. With the EPA barred from collecting data, that number could rise even further.

The EPA must be permitted to enforce air and water quality standards. It can’t do that if CAFOs operate in secret. Don’t pass the Farm Bill with this harmful amendment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Karin Dalziel via Flickr

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