Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 27, 2017

Contact: Jennifer Molidor, (707) 888-9261,

Is EPA Working With Big Ag to Weaken Water Safeguards for Factory Farms?

Public Records Sought on Agency Meetings With Trade Groups

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today seeking records from meetings between the Environmental Protection Agency and animal-agriculture trade groups about the Clean Water Act.

Today’s request specifically seeks records of any meetings EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and other agency officials had with industry representatives about concentrated animal feeding operations.

The EPA recently began taking steps to weaken or dismantle clean-water safeguards placed on these huge factory farms, which typically confine thousands or even millions of animals and their waste. Animal agriculture is a leading source of water pollution because toxic runoff from improperly contained animal manure is often discharged into nearby waterways.

“It’s infuriating that Pruitt would threaten our water by pushing for lax, industry-friendly standards for industrial agriculture,” said Jennifer Molidor. “Americans have the right to know how cozy Big Ag has gotten with the EPA. We need to understand how polluters are influencing the agency tasked with protecting our environment.”

The request seeks records regarding EPA meetings with 11 animal-agriculture trade organizations: The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Fisheries Institute, National Milk Producers Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, Poultry Federation, U.S. Poultry and Egg Council and United Egg Producers.

Pollution causes major damage to waterways. More than 40 percent of American rivers and streams are classified by the EPA as impaired, which means they’re polluted and in poor condition to support aquatic life.

“The EPA exists to protect Americans, not the interests of big polluters,” said Molidor. “These records will shed light on how these industries are influencing legal safeguards that keep our waterways clean.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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