U.S. Representatives and Senators Rally to Protect Meat and Poultry Facilities from EPA Rule

By Trish Svoboda

U.S. Representative Tracey Mann along with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Joni Ernst led a coalition of 25 members in petitioning U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to retract a proposed rule affecting meat and poultry processing as well as rendering facilities.

The Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the proposed rule on December 15, aiming to amend wastewater discharge standards for these facilities. The proposal seeks significant reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus levels permitted in wastewater discharge, mandating facilities to elevate their treatment standards. The EPA’s proposal introduces a new requirement for facilities to treat indirectly discharged wastewater flowing into regulated waters, marking a significant departure from previous regulations.

“Given the technical complexity and high costs of wastewater treatment alterations, coupled with the massive expansion of the number of regulated facilities, a 60-day comment period demonstrates EPA is not interested in seeking meaningful input from the regulated community,” the members wrote. “This costly and technically complex proposed rule would burden hundreds of meat, poultry, and rendering facilities with unnecessary red tape. As Members of Congress representing districts with meat, poultry, and rendering facilities and as Members of Congress who recognize these facilities’ essential role within our communities and the larger food supply chain, we urge EPA to withdraw this shortsighted proposal.”

“It is irresponsible for the Biden Administration to propose burdensome federal regulations like this, which diminish processing options for producers, eliminate rural jobs, and reduce product availability for consumers,” said Rep. Mann.

The letter pushes against this proposed rule and advocates for EPA to fulfill its duty to work earnestly with the regulated community in any future rulemaking, ensuring that future actions do not compromise America’s food system.

Those who will be affected by this rule are encouraged to express their thoughts and concerns to the EPA. There will be a public hearing hosted on March 20, and EPA will continue to accept public comments through March 25. Following the close of the public comment period, EPA will begin to review stakeholder input when drafting the Final Rule.

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