Bush admin deal exempts thousands of farms from pollution fines

A Bush administration deal announced yesterday will allow thousands of factory farms to evade pollution fines. The U.S. EPA has signed consent agreements with nearly 2,700 companies in the egg, poultry, dairy, and hog industries, exempting them from paying major daily fines for toxic air emissions. The companies will ante up a flat $2,500 to participate in the amnesty, along with $200 to $100,000 in civil penalties to settle past violations and avoid liability four years into the future. In return, they’ll allow the EPA to collect data on their air pollution and will abide by regulations that are expected to eventually result from this research (thanks!). Pork industry spokesflack Randy Spronk says the deal will let the EPA “use sound science to develop practical policies.” But greens are suing, saying the agency should be protecting public health, y’know, now.