3 October 2009 - It's back to the court room

If you are a producer of poultry or livestock, it seems the challenges these days are never-ending. People in organizations all over the planet want to put you out of business. From the Time magazine article a few weeks ago, filled with mis-information that accused livestock and poultry producers of polluting the environment and the world, to the latest attack on the industry brought to my attention by Gary Baise, former Illinois farmer and now, in my opinion, the country's leading agricultural environmental attorney based in Washington, D.C.

Gary informed me of a new attack that has been launched by the Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Irritated Residents, Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups. On September 21st they filed a sixty-eight page petition with the Environmental Protection Agency, which, if implemented, could achieve the environmental organizations goal of shutting down concentrated animal feeding operations, CAFO's, in the United States.

Gary pointed out that in the petition, environmental groups want to control, among other things, the diet you feed to your animals, the pH of manure, as well as the time and temperature that the animal waste is in storage. They also want you to switch from farm animal production systems that are reliant on grains to systems that use pasture-raised, organic or full-cycle farming systems.

The groups are using a legal device to request and possibly force EPA to regulate CAFO emissions under section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The reason they are seeking regulations in this section is they believe CAFO operations are producing large amounts of air pollutants that endanger the health of humans, animals and ecosystems that are far removed from these CAFO operations. Another concern about using this section is that it not only impacts new sources of pollution, it can be applied to existing sources as well. Attorney Baise concludes "This petition by the Humane Society is a much more dangerous legal tactic because the Clean Air Act does not require an absolute certainty of proof of actual harm when making an endangerment finding.

So, it's back to the court room and I truly wonder if the leaders of these groups are intelligent enough to realize that the more money and time food producers spend in the court room, the less time and money they have to produce food, which means more people in the world go to bed hungry every night. I didn't even know there was an Association of Irritated Residents, but I'm ready to join so I can express my extreme irritation with them and the other groups that get in the way of feeding the world!

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