GAO: EPA needs a defined strategy to protect water, air quality

12:00AM Sep 25, 2008
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By Kim Watson, Beef Today editor


In testimony presented yesterday to the House subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, representatives from the General Accounting Office said that the Environmental Protection Agency needs more information and a clearly defined strategy to protect air and water quality. The hearing was looking into the federal oversight of concentrated animal feeding operations.

According to the report, the amount of manure generated by large farms that raise animals depends on the type and number of animals raised, but these operations can produce from 2,800 tons to 1.6 million tons of manure a year. "Some large farms that raise animals can generate more manure annually than the sanitary waste produced by some U.S. cities." But the report also pointed out that there was a wide variation in the level of pollutants discharged from confined animal feeding operation, and there continues to be confusion on animal waste emissions reporting requirements.

In that study, GAO recommended that EPA complete its inventory of permitted CAFOs, reassess the air emissions monitoring study, and establish a strategy and timetable for developing a process-based model for measuring CAFO air emissions.

Click here to view the GAO report.

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