The 500 million tons of manure waste created by factory farms each year are damaging the health of animals and people - and no one is regulating it, two new lawsuits allege.
A coalition of groups has filed the suits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to address air pollution created by the country's 20,000 factory farms.
The lawsuits state that the EPA has failed to respond to two petitions, filed in 2009 and 2011, asking the agency to address factory farm pollution. The first petition asked the EPA to classify factory farms as a source of pollution under the Clean Air Act, while the second petition called for health-based regulations for unsafe levels of ammonia, a chemical released by factory farms that has been shown to have adverse effects on human health.
Now, the two lawsuits call on the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to force the EPA to respond, and to regulate toxic levels of air pollution from factory farms, Tarah Heinzen, an attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday.