Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bending Over For Big Business (again)

Federal agencies of this Republican dominated government never seem to tire of rewarding big business. And so it continues to be so.

Now the EPA, once again casting its duties to the wind, is proposing that the operators of factory farms decide for themselves whether federal permits are needed for waste discharges into the waterways.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2006 (ENS) - Factory farms could decide if they need a federal permit to discharge animal waste into lakes, rivers and streams under a proposal issued Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency said the proposed rule "furthers the statutory goal of restoring and maintaining the nation’s water quality," but critics contend it lets some of the nation’s largest polluters off the hook. [...} Some of the largest facilities have capacities that exceed one million animals and EPA estimates the nation’s CAFOs produce some 500 million tons of animal waste annually. [...] The revised proposal allows CAFO operators to define what constitutes pollution discharge and to decide if they should apply for a Clean Water permit.

If the operators that land apply manure, litter or processed wastewater decide the discharge from their facilities is only "agricultural stormwater," they do not need to apply for a permit, according to the proposed rule.

While we're at it, why don't we let them decide for themselves if those nasty inspections of meat and poultry are still necessary? Or what nature of feed can be used? And really, if a cow appears sick and unsuitable for the food supply, why have the government second guess those warm and fuzzy factory farm operators? It's all just become too burdensome. Live and let live.

This hits the nail on the head.

NRDC attorney Melanie Shepherdson said the agency is "abdicating its responsibility to protect the public."

I couldn't agree more.


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