Petition seeks CAFO ammonia regulation by EPA

Targeting livestock operations, more than 20 organizations filed a petition, April 6, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for an “endangerment finding” for ammonia gas and requesting EPA list ammonia as a Clean Air Act criteria pollutant. The criteria pollutant program requires EPA to establish air quality standards to protect public health and the environment.

The petitioners contend concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are the nation’s leading source of ammonia pollution, which causes respiratory health problems even at very low levels.

The effort is led by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), and includes a diverse group of organizations that advocate for environmental protection, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies and communities.  They include the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and rural community organizations in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

The petition states: “Congress enacted the Clean Air Act (CAA) to protect public health from diverse sources of air pollution, and empowered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations for different pollutants as scientific knowledge evolves, and the dangers they pose to human health and welfare become apparent … [A]mbient ammonia pollution currently endangers human health and welfare, and EPA has an affirmative obligation to exercise its authority to regulate sources of ammonia emissions … Ammonia gas, an air pollutant emitted in vast quantities by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), meets the criteria for listing as a CAA criteria pollutant, because ammonia emissions from numerous CAFOs and other sources ‘cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.’”

For the full text of the petition, go to