From the Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes, we rely on our nation’s waterways to provide clean water and the economic benefits of fishing, tourism, and recreation. Yet the health of these waterways is threatened by pollution from massive concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These facilities generate hundreds of millions of tons of animal waste a year, often causing water pollution because of poor manure management.
Pollution associated with CAFOs is a significant and growing threat to our water resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the sources of drinking water for an estimated 43 percent of the U.S. population have already suffered some level of pathogen contamination associated with industrial animal agriculture. While animal agriculture may play an important economic role in many communities, they should be subject to reasonable rules to protect our water.
The EPA is considering a new rule to help control CAFO pollution nationwide. Such a rule, requiring more CAFOs to obtain CWA permits and to take responsibility for proper management of all the manure they generate, would significantly help to improve the health of many waterways and ensure that all pollution sources do their share to clean up.