Sierra Club Victory Protects Rural Americans Nationwide
November 17, 2004
The Sierra Club dealt another blow to the factory farming industry today, with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Seaboard Corporation must report the ammonia gas pollution from its giant hog operation in western Oklahoma. The court held that the entire 25,000-head hog operation was a single "facility" and that Seaboard must report the combined emissions from all its waste pits and confinement buildings. In an effort to avoid regulation, Seaboard had argued that each pit and building should be counted separately. The appellate court found Seaboard's arguments "unconvincing" and decided that reporting total emissions from the animal factory will help protect public health and the environment. As a result of the 10th Circuit's ruling, large factory farms across the nation are responsible for reporting and dealing with toxic ammonia, which can cause respiratory problems for people forced to breathe the polluted air. As staff attorney Barclay Rogers summed up, "This decision will force corporations to tell the public about the poisonous gases coming from these factory farms and to clean up their act."
August 1, 2004
Sierra Club lawyers went back to court in May to argue another aspect of the ongoing case against Seaboard Farms in Oklahoma. The case, which was filed in 2000, centers on the definition of a factory farm “facility” and the dangers of ammonia, a toxic chemical released from hog waste. Sierra Club argues that ammonia emitted from hog houses should be reported to the EPA in the same manner as other toxic emissions because they constitute a single large facility. However, Seaboard Farms and other big polluters would prefer to count each hog house as a separate facility because it allows them to stay below the threshold for pollution regulation. If Sierra Club prevails, large factory farms across the nation would be responsible for reporting and dealing with the toxic ammonia which contributes heavily to air pollution in surrounding regions. As staff attorney Barclay Rogers summed up, “The goal is to force corporations to tell the public about the poisonous gases coming from these factory farms and to force them to clean up their act.”
Details and Documents:
You can read the full decision by the 10th Circuit by clicking here.
See other "Safeguarding Communities" cases.