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Wednesday, June 4, 2008 03:39 pm

Plan of action

Factory farm critics meet with EPA

Untitled Document The members of a group seeking improved regulation of factory farming voiced their concerns in a two-hour meeting with federal Environmental Protection Agency officials on Tuesday and came away believing that the agency may investigate allegations that Illinois EPA has neglected its duties.
Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water petitioned EPA in March to formally revoke the IEPA’s authority to issue certain permits on the grounds that the state has failed to enforce the federal Clean Water Act [see Dusty Rhodes, “Land of stinkin’,” April 10]. This week, five leaders of the ICCAW met with a dozen EPA officials in Chicago to air their concerns. Danielle Diamond, an attorney and research associate in the Northern Illinois University Department of Anthropology, left the meeting believing that EPA had taken the group’s concerns seriously enough to formulate a plan of action. “They’re going to create a protocol for how they’re going to evaluate the IEPA, and it’s going to be molded after allegations in our petition plus the evidence we gave today,” Diamond says. The ICCAW went to the meeting with a couple of new helpers: Arnie Leder, who recently retired after 35 years with the EPA, and Eric Schaeffer, former director of the EPA’s office of regulatory enforcement, who resigned his post in 2002 after publicly questioning President George W. Bush’s efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act and other laws. Schaeffer went on to found the nonpartisan, nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, which lists power plants, refineries, and factory farms as its top three areas of focus. The IEP has formally backed the ICCAW petition. The IEPA was not represented at the meeting.

Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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