EPA faces lawsuits for animal confinement air pollution

A pig at St Werburghs City Farm in the United Kingdom. (Ed Mitchell/Flickr)
A pig at St Werburghs City Farm in the United Kingdom. (Ed Mitchell/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | January 29, 2015

Two lawsuits were brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday alleging that the group isn’t doing enough to prevent air pollution caused by large animal confinement facilities.

The lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. were brought about by a coalition of eight groups including the  Environmental Integrity Project, the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Clean Wisconsin, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Association of Irritated Residents (represented by the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment). The coalition says that the lack of regulation by the EPA has allowed factory farms to pollute the air and threaten public health.

Specifically the lawsuits pertain to petitions filed in 2009 and 2011. The 2009 petition was filed by the Humane Society of the United States and called for concentrated animal feeding lots – or CAFOs – to be categorized as a source of pollution under the Clean Air Act and for new standards to be enforced on new and existing CAFOs. The Environmental Integrity Project filed the 2011 petition and sought health-based standards for ammonia emissions. The lawsuit asks for the EPA to respond to these petitions within 90 days.

A spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said that beef producers have made efforts to reduce pollution without government intervention and between 2005 and 2011 were able cut emissions in water by 10 percent and greenhouse gas production by 2 percent. However, Iowa Pork Producers and an Iowa State University professor say that the link connecting CAFOs to health hazards is inconclusive.

Iowa nuclear power meeting delayed

Duane Arnold Energy Center - in Palo, Iowa.

A meeting to discuss House File 561, a bill that would create a regulatory framework for MidAmerican Energy to construct a nuclear power plant in Iowa, has been delayed.

The bill has sparked controversy across the state, and is the subject Wednesday’s dueling advertisements between the advocacy group Friends of the Earth and MidAmerican Energy.

The committee has yet to reschedule their meeting to consider HF 561.

For more information, read the full article at The Gazette.

Dueling nuclear ads released in Iowa

A capture of Friends of the Earth's anti-nuclear advertisement.

Friends of the Earth, an advocacy group that opposes nuclear power expansion in Iowa, launched a television ad today expressing the dangers of nuclear power in Iowa. The ad aims to remind Iowans of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan last year, and

“The rate hike sets MidAmerican up for windfall profits, while strapping consumers with the financial and safety risks,” said Mike Carberry, Iowa nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

In response, Mid American Energy released their own video featuring President and CEO Bill Fehrman.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about what passage of the bill means. This bill does not give MidAmerican Energy permission to build a nuclear power plant or charge any cost for a plant to our customers,” Fherman said in the video. “It does allow our regulators – the Iowa Utilities Board – to determine if nuclear energy is right for Iowa.”

Both advertisements are available after the jump.

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