What's That Smell

Rural people and local officials have long complained to the Environmental Protection Agency about the sickening air and water pollution coming from the massive, corporate hog factories that have sprung up across the country. And now -- By Gollies -- George W. Bush's EPA is listening ... to the polluters!

These hog factories are huge, cramming tens of thousands of hogs inside and channeling hog urine and feces into open-air cesspools the size of football fields. Oh, the stink! Think of rancid road kill mixed with overloaded Port-a-Potty on a hot day. It's a knee buckling, mind-melting, pass-out stink.

But the stench is not just an "odor" -- it's a substance. In particular, it's fecal dust, and hundreds of tons of these invisible hog-stuff particles drift through the air for residents of the area to breathe. Scientific studies now are proving that the stink is poisonous, ruining people's health.

Instead of enforcing existing laws or enacting stonger protections for people, however, the Bushites closeted themselves with industry lobbyists, privately negotiating on a proposal written by polluters themselves.

Hold your nose, because the plan agreed to by Bush & Company is even stinkier than hog stuff. One, the corporate hog factories are to be given amnesty for any past violations of the Clean Air Act -- even violations that poisoned people. Two, the EPA will pursue no new cases against polluters, and control of factory-farm pollution will be moved from the EPA's enforcement professionals to its political office.

Three, in exchange for this Get-out-of-jail-free card, the industry agrees to have its pollution "monitored" by the EPA on a voluntary basis. But only 30 of the thousands of hog factories will be monitored, and even if they're found to be rank violators of the law, they will not have to make changes in their practices.

To fight Bushstink, call the GRACE Factory Farm Project at 212-726-9161.

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