Poultry industry still in crosshairs (Editorial)
Will the harassment of the agricultural industry — and the poultry industry in particular — never end?
Is there really no recognition or awareness, in the mind of the die-hard environmental activist (or simply of the environmental enthusiast for that matter) of the role which agriculture assumes in life on the planet, and in this case, in the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay?
Try this on for size:
A group known as the Environmental Integrity Project, made up of former EPA enforcement attorneys, is commending EPA plans to “measure and regulate air pollution from factory farms.”
What does EIP define as a factory farm?
In this case, it’s any farm with four broiler houses or more.
According to EIP, the draft measurement tools, referred to as “Emissions Estimating Methodologies,” are EPA’s first attempt to estimate the quantities of toxic gases — including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulates, and volatile organic compounds — emitted by large livestock operations.
The EPA, the EIP reported, based the methodologies on an industry-sponsored study of 21 operations.
And EIP noted, what it called “the factory farm industry” — whatever that is — proposed the study in 2002.
The EPA agreed to grant amnesty from enforcement of clean air laws to more than 14,000 facilities in exchange for each facility’s contribution to study costs and agreement to participate in the study if selected.
This first set of draft methodologies covers emissions from broiler houses and open waste pits at mega-dairy and hog operations.
Environmental Integrity Project Attorney Tarah Heinzen said: “Establishing estimates for factory farm air pollution is a step in the right direction to regulating air emissions to protect public health and the environment.
“In order to make this a truly effective reform, however, EPA must clarify that all factory farms — not only those that signed up for EPA’s sweetheart deal in 2005 — will be required to report emissions estimates and comply with clean air laws without further delay.”
Here’s the kicker:
The draft methodologies for the broiler chicken sector indicate that a typical facility with at least four chicken houses will exceed the 100 pound per day reporting threshold for ammonia, a requirement, EIP said, that would likely apply to “hundreds of facilities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
And it’s not only a clean air issue for these envirocrats.
It’s also a Chesapeake Bay issue as well.
EIP argues that “in addition to providing data and reducing health impacts, the estimates will help EPA measure and reduce ammonia emissions that re-deposit into waterways — a major source of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and other critical water resources.”
So, four poultry houses constitute a broiler “factory.”
Here’s a suggestion: The National Chicken Council or the Delmarva Poultry Industry or Jim Perdue — or all three — invite Tarah Heinzen and some of her fellow EIP attorneys to visit some of our factories, the grand tour, pull out all the stops.
Allow them to explore a “factory” building, properly outfitted of course. Explain that we don’t need hard hats in this “factory” just plastic shoe coverings.
Allow them to smell our “factory” and see what me “make” in this “factory” all running around on that organic fertilizer, apparently healthy and well fed.
Invite the press.
Serve barbecued chicken for lunch (as we did with Robert Kennedy Jr. on his ‘self-proclaimed “summit” visit.)
And then explain, if these “factories” go someplace else because they can no longer afford to “make” broilers here, all sorts of bad things might happen, like the collapse of the economy of the Eastern Shore.