What's That Smell? - Eat Drink Better

What’s That Smell?

cows.jpgAg industry lobbyists and lawmakers from agricultural states have pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to drop requirements that factory farms report their emissions of toxic gases — even though the EPA’s findings show the gases pose a health threat.

In a head-spinning move, the EPA complied, citing that the reports are not used by local emergency workers and are thus, unnecessary. Unnecessary to whom? It seems valid that the acknowledged threat to residents living and working nearby would be important information.

Unless, of course, they could be used in a lawsuit against you, which has happened with several industrial farms since 1980 when the EPA was first required to document the emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. These reports are one of the few tools rural communities have for holding large livestock operations accountable for the pollution they produce.

Thus, it’s not a big surprise that the livestock industry has lobbied for years for the rule change. To add insult to iniquity, the EPA posted the proposal in the Federal Register while Congress was on its December holiday recess. The change would take effect in October.

Comment period on this issue ends soon, March 28, make sure to let your representatives know you think this stinks. You can also submit a comment directly to the Federal Register.

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About the Author

Beth Bader is co-author of the book, The Cleaner Plate Club. She is a passionate "Local Food" advocate and an author for the Eat Local Challenge. She loves creating healthy, family-friendly, seasonal foods, family dinners, cooking for friends, and cooking with her child. You can her at The Expatriate's Kitchen.