President Bush might not be providing much assurance on the state of the economy these days. But as he prepares to leave office, he is ensuring that the environment takes a hit.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a press release explaining that a new Bush administration rule signed on Halloween--trick or treat?--made thousands of factory farms exempt from needing permits that limit water pollution. In addition, the EPA did not choose to improve controls for bacteria and other pathogens that pose risks to human health and wildlife.
Confined Animal Feeding Lots or CAFOs, as factory farms operations are known, are huge polluters. They create large amounts of waste that doesn't become fertilizer for farms but often runs off into waterways, contaminating drinking supplies and harming aquatic life. The release says that the EPA estimates that these facilities generate three times more waste than people do nationwide.
According to the NRDC, the new rule:
The NRDC says that even though Congress specifically tried to get factory farms regulated under the Clean Water Act, and the EPA has recognized the importance of these operations and pollution control limits, the Bush administration undermined any progress with this new rule.
Ed Hopkins, Sierra Club's Environmental Quality Program director is quoted in the release: "Clean water is too important to allow polluting factory farms to continue business as usual. Yet again, the Bush Administration has put private industry profits before public health."
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