Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't like CAFO regulations? Tell the EPA.

On October 31, 2012, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") provided notice that it was undertaking a review of its regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations, or "CAFOs" as they are often described (or "factory farms" as their opponents describe them).  Under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the EPA must review regulations every ten years to determine their continued necessity.

The federal CAFO Rule, which sets the standards for regulation of CAFOs across the United States, was promulgated in 2003 pursuant to the Clean Water Act.  Since 2003, the CAFO Rule has been successfully challenged in court twice:  first in Waterkeeper Alliance v. USEPA, and then in National Pork Producers Council v. USEPA.  I've written extensively about these cases before.  To read my past summaries of the impacts of these cases, click below:

Decision in Waterkeeper May Have Significant Impact on Farmers
How does National Pork v. EPA Impact Hoosier Farmers?

Now the EPA is asking for comments on the continued viability of the CAFO Rule. Specifically, the EPA asks impacted citizens and stakeholders to submit comments on the follow topics:

  1. The continued need for the rule; 
  2. The nature of complaints or comments received concerning the rule;
  3. The complexity of the rule; 
  4. The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other Federal, State, or local government rules; and 
  5. The degree to which the technology, economic conditions or other factors have changed in the area affected by the rule.
In the next few weeks, I'll be working with livestock owners and industry groups to submit comments on these subjects to the EPA.  Send me your thoughts if you would like me to consider including your feedback with other comments.  To submit your own comments to the EPA, email them to  The deadline is December 31, 2012.  

To read the CAFO Rule, click here.

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