Friends of the Earth Statement on EPA’s Final Strategic Plan

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency released its final strategic plan for fiscal years 2022-2026, which provides a roadmap to the agency’s environmental priorities over the next four years. Administrator Michael Regan references impacts to his own health and acknowledges its link to hog operations where he grew up in eastern North Carolina. Yet the plan his office released omits any robust strategies to address the climate and environmental justice impacts of animal agriculture.     

Animal agriculture is responsible for 36% of all U.S. methane emissions, more than any other sector. Factory farms are also a major polluter of local communities, particularly communities of color. EPA’s Draft Strategic Plan, released in November 2021 for comment, contained almost no mention of animal agriculture. The final plan does slightly more to acknowledge agricultural impacts to the environment and the need to gather data around water quality and emissions data. However, the plan still does not include any regulatory or enforcement strategies to rein in Big Ag and protect the communities suffering from air pollution, water pollution, noxious smells, and adverse health conditions caused by concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs or factory farms.

Adriane Busby, Senior Food and Climate Policy Analyst at Friends of the Earth U.Ssaid:

For EPA to live up to its commitment to environmental justice, it must use its authority to protect the health and wellbeing of local communities by providing federal oversight of polluting factory farms. Acknowledging the harmful impact of industrial agricultural operations on public health and the importance of data collection is a crucial first step. But, EPA can no longer afford to ignore the massive public health and environmental harms that communities living near CAFOs face.  

EPA should take a science-driven approach that utilizes its authority to hold industrial agricultural operations accountable to the communities they are polluting.  We urge Administrator Regan to do better by communities that continue to suffer in the face of unregulated factory farm pollution.

Communications contact: Kerry Skiff, [email protected], 202-222-0723

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