The upcoming EPA regulatory reset of the Renewable Fuel Standard should push the corn ethanol target above 15 billion gallons for the highest annual mandate ever and allow E15 to be sold year-round, said farm-state senators on Wednesday. In a letter to EPA administrator Michael Regan, the senators urged the agency to establish “robust and expanded” biofuel mandates.
California’s San Joaquin Valley is getting drier, hotter and more polluted as climate change intensifies, and its communities will need to embrace more equitable agricultural strategies in order to survive, according to local experts and political leaders.(No paywall)
As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. (No paywall)
The arrival of a Costco chicken processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska, spurred the introduction of the state’s first industrial chicken farms in 2018. With the plant set to begin operations after Labor Day, some residents are pushing for stronger — or any — oversight of large poultry farms in the state.(No paywall)
A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.
Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)
In recent years, agribusiness groups have fought legislation that would require large-scale livestock farms to report what pollutants they discharge into the air. But this week, a Maryland poultry industry group announced a partnership with the state’s environmental regulators to monitor those emissions. (No paywall)
Recent actions by the GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration have exempted big livestock operations from reporting air emissions, according to the latest story from FERN, published with Mother Jones. (No paywall)
The EPA has proposed a rule that would exempt industrial livestock farms from a requirement under a “community right-to-know law” that they notify state and local officials of gases produced by the manure on their farms. (No paywall)
Several national and local advocacy groups are calling on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a bill that would greatly restrict the public's ability to sue large-scale animal farms over negative health and environmental effects. The state general assembly passed the bill on Friday.
Rising ammonia emissions from farm animal waste and fertilizer are a major contributor to air pollution, causing death and illness around the world, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Ensia. “In the past 70 years, global emissions of ammonia have more than doubled,” writes Lindsey Konkel. (No paywall)
Facing a proposed budget cut, an Interior Department agency told the National Academy of Sciences to stop work on a study into the health risks faced by Appalachian residents who live near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites, said the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail.
The U.S. appeals court based in Washington voided a Bush-era exemption for large livestock farms from reporting emission of air pollutants in a win for environmentalists, said Law360. The lawsuit was filed more than a year ago by eight environmental groups, who said the EPA ignored petitions in 2009 and 2011 for regulation of ammonia, methane and other emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The Trump Administration budget calls for cutting EPA jobs by one fifth — from 15,000 to 12,000 — and slicing the agency’s annual budget from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion, says The Washington Post.