According to independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan news organization InsideClimate News, the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is examining the agency’s failure to measure potentially toxic air emissions from U.S. factory farms.
Numerous environmental groups report that the agency’s inaction has allowed livestock operations to spew pollutants without government oversight for more than a decade.
In the early 2000s, the EPA said it would create a system for measuring emissions from feeding operations. Emissions from factory farms can fall under three different federal laws if the pollution they generate hits a certain level; however, the article states that “the government and livestock industry have struggled to agree on accurate ways of measuring emissions, allowing these farms to get away with pollution.
While the main concern has been water pollution, which falls under the Clean Water Act, communities near factory farms have long complained about the stench, as well as the health and environmental impacts of emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulates, and other pollutants. High levels of methane and nitrous oxide emissions have also been linked to factory farming. Both of these gases cause global climate change.
Jonathan Lovvorn, an attorney with The Humane Society of the United States, states:
The EPA has put in regulation on oil and gas, and proposed regulations on landfills, but they’ve done nothing on CAFOs. So when we’re looking at the goals for the Paris agreement, this is a huge leak in the safety net. They’ve done nothing on this.
A report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization found carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprit.
While a report on the investigation isn’t expected until next spring, the uncertainty of the current political climate is leaving many worried that still nothing will be done.
Thankfully, you need not wait for the EPA to take action against factory farms. By switching to a vegan diet, you help your health, farmed animals, and the planet.
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