Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 7, 2018

Contact: Emily Knobbe, (202) 849-8400,

Senate Committee to Consider Bill Exempting Factory Farms From Hazardous Waste Reporting

Legislation Would Leave Public in Dark During Dangerous Air-pollution Events

WASHINGTON— The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill introduced by Sen. Debbie Fischer (R-Neb.) that would exempt “concentrated animal-feeding operations,” often called factory farms, from hazardous-waste reporting requirements.

Senate Bill 2421’s special exemption would make it harder for people living near factory farms to know when they’re being exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution that might require emergency protective action by agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.

“This outrageous bill would prevent parents from knowing when their children are breathing hazardous air pollutants like ammonia,” said Emily Knobbe, EPA policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s a reckless idea that would endanger farmworkers and people living nearby and curb their ability to hold industrial farms responsible for dangerous pollution.”

U.S. factory-farming operations produce millions of pounds of hazardous air pollutants every year, including particulate matter, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which contribute to respiratory diseases and other health problems.

The proposed bill seeks to exclude factory farms from the hazardous emissions reporting currently required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or “Superfund” law.

In 2008 the Bush administration attempted to exempt livestock-feeding operations from reporting air emissions released by animal waste. In April 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit overturned the Bush administration rule. Enforcement of the emissions-reporting requirements is due to begin May 1.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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