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Washington Watch

The EPA Is Encouraging Farmers To Pollute To Study The Effects Of Animal Feces On The Environment

Just Announced: EPA Asks Auto Companies to Sell Millions of Low Mileage Cars To Determine the Impact on the Economy, National Security, and the Environment

While They're At It, Why Not Do A Study On The Effects Of Whacking Yourself In The Head With A Hammer?

In yet another move seemingly designed to avoid actually enforcing any environmental laws, the EPA is allowing 14,000 livestock producers (mostly hog farms) to pay a small fee to avoid complying with the Clean Air Act. The rationale? Participating farmers are assisting in “the first-ever national study of emissions from poultry, dairy, and swine operations”.

Out of the 14,000 farms that have signed up, only 20 are actually being studied. The other 13,980 basically get to pollute for the next 2 ½ years without any fear of lawsuit.

There are several reasons to view this “study” as yet another delaying tactic from the increasingly ironically named Environmental Protection Agency. Critics note that the scope of the study – 20 farms out of 14,000 signed up – is too small to generate any meaningful data. Also, what exactly does the EPA think they’re going to find at the end of this study? Maybe that pig feces are good for us?

You may be wondering why, if the EPA is only studying 20 farms, do they need to exempt 14,000? The fees being paid by the 14,000 participating farms are funding the $14.6 million study. Thus, on average, each farm gets to pay $1,043 to pollute to their hearts content for the next 30 months.

Right now, our government is subsidizing corn growers who are poisoning our waters (see the links to the two Ethanol stories under “Additional Ways to Get Where You’re Going” below) and allowing livestock producers to pay a nominal fee to pollute our air. If the EPA truly wants to conduct a scientific study and protect the environment, then why not reallocate some of the funding from corn producers?

It’s no coincidence that the study – starting this summer – is scheduled to run until the end of 2009. This helps ensure that no progressive action can be taken during the current administration’s tenure.

We at Better World Club think that allowing livestock farms to flout the Clean Air Act stinks. The EPA hasn’t allowed any sort of public comment on this policy, but if you’re feeling feisty, we encourage you to contact EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson and give him your two cents:

USEPA Headquarters

Ariel Rios Building

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.

Mail Code: 1101A

Washington, DC 20460

Attn: Stephen L. Johnson

johnson.stephen@epa.gov