Coalition: End CAFO emission exemption

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – A coalition of environmental, animal welfare and food safety organizations renewed a lawsuit to force the US Environmental Protection Agency to remove emissions exemptions for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Members of the coalition include The Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, The Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance.

The coalition sued the EPA in 2009 after the agency adopted a rule in 2008 exempting large meat producers from reporting emission data on ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. After filing the first lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the EPA under the Obama administration asked the court to leave the rule intact and send it back to the agency for review and possible revisions. The coalition argued that the EPA has not acted to amend the rule.

“The Obama Administration has broken its promise to swiftly reconsider the illegal carve-outs for industrial meat producers from right-to-know laws that apply to all other polluters,” said Eve Gartner, staff attorney at Earthjustice and lead attorney for the petitioners. “Because EPA has admitted that it is not moving forward to revise the exemptions as promised, we have no choice but to ask the court to reopen this case and strike down the exemptions that are denying communities critical information about pollution from industrial meat production in their area.”

The coalition is asking the federal appeals court to re-open the case and order the agency to make a final decision on the exemption.
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