Congress to EPA: What’s Your BEEF with Meat Packers?

Feb 6, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new regulations that take aim at meat and poultry processors. 


And some members of Congress have a BEEF with the EPA’s proposals.


The proposed rules: In late January, the EPA released the details of its proposed “Clean Water Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Meat and Poultry Products Point source category.”




Basically, the EPA formally published its proposals to combat wastewater contaminants that come from slaughterhouses.


Okay… that makes more sense.


At the heart of the rules proposal is a concern from environmental groups about nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants that originate from slaughterhouses. In some cases, the wastewater goes directly into waterways. In other cases, the water goes to municipal wastewater treatment facilities.


But not everyone is on board with the EPA’s suggestions…


Congress responds: Last week, two U.S. representatives—Eric Burlison (MO) and Ron Estes (KS)—pushed back against the EPA and introduced the “Banning EPA’s Encroachment of Facilities (BEEF) Act.” If passed and signed by President Biden, the law would prohibit the EPA from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing the rule.


According to the lawmakers, the proposed rules place undue burden on small processors—costs that can be absorbed by larger companies.


Soundbite: “The… proposed regulation isn’t just an attack on family-run small businesses, it’s an attack on rural communities,” said Burlison. “These meat and poultry processors are the lifeblood of our communities. The BEEF Act… lets these hardworking Americans do what they do best, produce safe, affordable food for our families.”

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