Washington, D.C. — Despite receiving more than 35,000 public comments last October urging them to protect our waterways from agricultural waste run-off, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today that they would not be issuing a standard to clean up pollution from the nation’s factory farms. Anna Aurilio, director of the D.C. office for Environment America, issued the following statement in response:
“We’re sorely disappointed that EPA is balking at setting tough new standards for protecting our waterways from factory farm pollution.
“Factory farms send 100 million pounds of nitrogen pollution into the Chesapeake Bay each year, turning the estuary into a sewer and contributing to a dead zone where fish and wildlife perish.
“More than 35,000 citizens in the Chesapeake Bay region and across the country have spoken out against factory farm pollution in our waterways. They know that we can’t let corporate agribusiness treat the Chesapeake Bay and waterways around the country like their personal sewer.
“In August of last year, EPA announced that it would begin working on a nationwide rule to limit manure pollution from factory farms with a proposal that was due this spring. Instead, we’re learning that factory farms will be allowed to continue sending manure and other pollution into our waters.
“Waste from factory farms, laden with nitrogen, phosphorous, hormones and pathogens, contaminates our water and threatens our health. According to the EPA’s own reports, giant factory farms generate 500 million to 1 billion tons of manure annually across the country-- three times the amount of waste generated by the US human population alone.
“EPA knows what’s at stake and what needs to be done to protect our waterways. It’s time for action.”