Press Release from: Biological Diversity.org
Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure.
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today seeking communications between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and beef-lobbying groups. The filing seeks information about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s participation in a promotional video for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in which he urges ranchers to flood the agency with comments in favor of repealing the Clean Water Rule.
“It’s bizarre and appalling that our nation’s chief environmental official starred in a beef-industry infomercial attacking protections for our water supplies,” said Jennifer Molidor, a Center senior food campaigner. “Americans deserve to know why Pruitt would support the private interests of this incredibly polluting industry.”
Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure. Improperly stored manure creates toxic byproducts that frequently leak into rivers, lakes and streams. In addition 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of fertilizer used to grow animal feed leak into waterways.
The Clean Water Rule, a clarification of the Clean Water Act ordered by the Obama administration, prohibited the dumping of waste in “navigable waters” without a permit. The rule exempts most agricultural drainage ditches.
As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued to halt the rule. Industry groups filed similar lawsuits. In all cases the rule was ultimately upheld.
“Pruitt took office already determined to slash Obama-era safeguards like the Clean Water Rule without concern for the dangerous fallout of losing these protections,” said Molidor. “It’s the EPA’s job to protect our environment from big polluters, not the other way around.”
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.