CAFO Background Information

Background Information on the CAFO Problem

So why should ordinary citizens have to help stop CAFO pollution? One of the greatest frustrations anyone faces is having to do the work that someone else should be doing. The state and federal environmental agencies should be monitoring the water and air quality of our community, and taking action to shut down the pollution from CAFOs. The agencies should deny permits for new proposed CAFOs because of the terrible pollution they cause.

The reality is that many officials don't know that CAFOs cause problems, or if they do, they don't have the staff or resources to take all the proper steps to enforce the law on these facilities. In some states, CAFO supporters such as the Farm Bureau are continually attacking the environmental agencies, seeking to shift any control from these agencies to the voluntary oversight of the agricultural agencies. Funding is short in all agencies, and with constant lobbying of legislators, pressure is put on to fund voluntary standards and subsidies and supports for CAFOs, while seeking to reduce or eliminate any fees or funding for regulation and enforcement actions against polluting facilities.

If you are facing problems from an existing CAFO or are fighting to stop the approval of a new CAFO, the smartest thing you can do is to figure out how to help state agencies get the information and political support they need to enforce the laws. For the members of Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) it took about three years before the Michigan DEQ began to pay attention to the information they provided about the pollution from the dozen CAFOs in their area. ECCSCM and Sierra Club have collaborated on thoroughly documenting pollution from these CAFOs and working with officials from state and local agencies to assure they have the information they need.

You need to understand everything about this industry in order to fight it effectively. By being accurate, thorough, persistent and willing to work on building local support and garner media attention to your cause you can help to turn around the fight in your own community. Sierra Club is here to help you be successful.

In our many years of fighting CAFO pollution, we’ve designed an effective pollution tracking and reporting process. By following the steps outlined below you can collect credible information that regulatory agencies can use to take environmental law enforcement action.

Background Information
Investigating CAFOs