WASHINGTON — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it would reject two petitions from environmental advocates advocating for more stringent concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) regulations.

After the agency made the announcement, meat trade associations lauded the move and how it would benefit farmers and ranchers.

“America’s pig farmers applaud the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Biden administration’s denial of two baseless petitions seeking dramatic changes to long-standing and well-designed regulatory systems to protect the environment and provide affordable food for the world,” said Scott Hays, president of National Pork Producers Council. “Farmers work hard every day to adopt climate-smart farming practices by promoting soil health, conserving water, using nutrients efficiently and caring for our animals. We are grateful for the Biden administration’s continuous commitment and support of agriculture.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) also acknowledged the EPA’s action and how it will help its members. 

“NCBA appreciates the EPA recognizing that America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to ensuring clean water and investing in a sustainable future,” said Mary-Thomas Har, chief counsel for NCBA. “By rejecting these two petitions that sought to directly attack animal agriculture, the EPA is protecting cattle producers from frivolous distractions and allowing them to return to the important job of stewarding our natural resources and feeding the nation.”

In 2017, more than 30 groups filed a rulemaking petition to modify the EPA’s regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under the Clean Water Act.

Food & Water Watch and other activist groups sued the EPA in October 2022 for not acting “within a reasonable time” regarding the petition it filed five years before.