EPA, Livestock Farms Seek to Cut Deal on Air Pollution

Large livestock farms could gain immunity from air-pollution lawsuits by agreeing to monitor their emissions, under a new plan proposed by the U.S. EPA. The agency says the plan would benefit environmental regulators by generating data on how much air pollution is emitted by pork, poultry, dairy, and cattle farms; that data could then be used later down the line for establishing controls on farm-based sources of air pollution. In the meantime, though, participating farms would not be subject to the federal Clean Air Act. Environmentalists criticize the proposal, saying it will let large farms off the hook for the nitrogen, methane, ammonia, and other pollutants they produce. Industry groups not only support the plan; they originally proposed it to the EPA, and hope to hand-pick the independent organization that will monitor emissions if the proposal takes effect.