Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | October 6, 2008

Lawyer Sanders says GAO blasts U.S. EPA for ignoring pollution from industrial animals farms throughout U.S.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) blasting U.S. EPA by declaring that EPA doesn’t have a clue how many “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFOs) there are — much less how badly they pollute the atmosphere or water.  “Because no federal agency collects consistent, reliable data on CAFOs, GAO could not determine the trends in these operations over the past 30 years,” the report said. “However, using USDA data for large farms that raise animals as a proxy for CAFOs, it appears that the number of these operations increased by about 230 percent, going from about 3,600 in 1982 to almost 12,000 in 2002.

 

Moreover, GAO found that EPA does not have comprehensive, accurate information on the number of permitted CAFOs nationwide. As a result, EPA does not have the information it needs to effectively regulate these CAFOs.”  The internal watchdog’s finding is disturbing because GAO specifically found that EPA had authority under multiple environmental programs to regulate pollution from CAFOs.

 

GAO estimated that “Some large farms that raise animals can generate more raw waste than the populations of some U.S. cities produce annually.” Animal manure can produce ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and other gases so toxic that they must be reported under federal law.  The report is at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08944.pdf.

 

GAO is is known as “the investigative arm of Congress” and “the congressional watchdog.” GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

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