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Statement by Michele Merkel
Senior counsel for the environmental integrity project
November 21, 2003
The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) commends EPA for filing suit this week
against Buckeye Egg for violations of the Clean Air Act. As an environmental
actor in Ohio for the past decade, Buckeye has been a bad egg. We hope
today’s action, as well as steps recently taken by the state of Ohio, will bring
some measure of relief to citizens who have suffered the ill effects of Buckeye’s
air pollution for far too long.
However, EPA’s action against Buckeye is only a first step. Preliminary data
collected from Buckeye suggest that similar operations around the country are
also violating the Clean Air Act and should not only monitor but control their
emissions. It is only through additional actions against similar facilities that EPA
will demonstrate a real commitment to protecting human health and the
environment from factory farm air emissions.
EIP, together with a coalition of groups and local citizens, urged EPA to take
action against Buckeye—and other factory farm operations that could be violating
the law—in a letter dated September 2, 2003. The letter presented EPA with
specific information on large factory farms in California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa,
Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin. The groups called on EPA to
collect and review emissions data from these operations, starting with facilities
that are the subject of citizen complaints.
We are pleased by EPA’s action this week against Buckeye. If EPA follows
through with its case against Buckeye and investigates other polluting facilities,
the Agency will demonstrate to communities who suffer the direct effects of
factory farm air emissions that they are not forgotten, and that the Clean Air Act
applies to these animal factories, just as it does to other industries.
Administration pulls plug on clean air act enforcement cases