Groups sue EPA over ‘factory farm’ air pollution |

Groups sue EPA over ‘factory farm’ air pollution

A coalition of environmental, humane and community organizations filed two lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday for failing to address air pollution from factory farms.

“The pollution contributes to significant human health problems, including asthma and heart attacks; endangers animal health; intensifies the effects of climate change; and causes regional haze and ‘dead zones’ in waterways,” the groups said in a news release.

“Across the U.S., an estimated 20,000 factory farms confine billions of chickens, hogs and other animals and emit noxious air pollutants, including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, methane and particulate matter,” the groups continued.

“When the emissions are at their worst, we have had to leave our home for days at a time,” said Rosie Partridge, a family farmer whose home in Sac County, Iowa, is surrounded by more than 30,000 hogs within four miles. “The ammonia and hydrogen sulfide are so strong that my husband has trouble breathing.”

“In California’s San Joaquin Valley, we have suffered a huge increase in factory farm dairies over the past decade,” said Tom Frantz, a farmer and president of the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR).

“Ammonia emissions from factory farm dairies are causing the highest fine particulate matter levels in the United States, which seriously harms our health while EPA has done nothing,” Frantz said.

The lawsuits seek to prompt EPA to take action on two rulemaking petitions. Those petitions, filed years previously, asked EPA to use its authority under the federal Clean Air Act to control emissions of air pollution from factory farms.

“Factory farms have managed to skirt regulation and accountability for far too long,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety.

“With this lawsuit, we seek to defend the neighboring communities and local environment that have dealt with the consequences of these massive operations for decades. It’s time for EPA to fulfill its mandate.”

The Environmental Integrity Project and the Humane Society of the United States filed the lawsuits in in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia on behalf of rural residents and family farmers whose health and quality of life is affected by noxious air pollutants from factory farms.

Other groups involved in the suit are Clean Wisconsin, the Center on Race, Poverty & Environment, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.

–The Hagstrom Report

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