Target: The Coalition of environmental and food safety groups
Goal: Demand enforcement of a rule requiring factory farms to provide water pollution information
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently decided to withdraw its own rule requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to provide water pollution information about their facilities. Publicizing this information is the only way the EPA can carry out the Clean Water Act (CWA)’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting program. Instead of enforcing this necessary regulation, the EPA bowed to pressure from big agribusiness corporations and publicly announced that they would withdraw the rule, saying that they believe that “it is more appropriate to obtain CAFO information by working with federal, state, and local partners instead of requiring CAFO information to be submitted pursuant to a rule.”
The US General Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2008 that “no federal agency collects consistent, reliable data on CAFOs,” and from their study concluded that, “[w]ithout a systematic and coordinated process for collecting and maintaining accurate and complete information on the number, size, and location of permitted CAFOs, EPA does not have the information that it needs to effectively regulate these operations.”
Accordingly, a coalition of environmental and food safety groups has undertaken a lawsuit against the EPA for withdrawing the rule, alleging, as the GAO report demonstrates, that the EPA does not possess the necessary information to properly regulate CAFOs and the enormous amounts of waste that they empty into our air and water supplies. The CAFO reporting rule was proposed because of a lack of available information, and the suit also excoriates the EPA for its failure “to provide a reasonable explanation for its withdrawal of the Rule.” Therefore, in withdrawing the rule, the EPA is essentially acknowledging that it will neglect its duty under the CWA to regulate CAFO pollution.
By signing this petition, you are voicing your support for this coalition for their brave defense of the environment and our communities, in the face of opposition by the huge agroindustrial complex. You are calling on the EPA to reintroduce their CAFO reporting rule, so that they can adequately regulate the pollution of these facilities. You are urging the EPA not to bow to pressure from agribusiness, because the health of our environment and communities is more important than the bottom line.
Dear Environmental Integrity Project and comrades,
I am thrilled to read of your lawsuit against the EPA’s recent decision to withdraw their CAFO reporting rule. This decision by our environmental regulatory body is tantamount to an acknowledgment of refusal to perform their basic duty, which cannot be tolerated. CAFOs must be tightly regulated in order to ensure that their infringement on animal and human rights, as well as the environment, not be permitted to continue.
Thank you for dedicating yourselves to the fight for clean water and justice in environmental regulation. Thank you for taking on the fight against the EPA’s historical tendency toward arbitrary regulation, to try to steer the EPA toward concern for our communities rather than the bottom line.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USDA via Wikimedia Commons