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Kobach leads coalition demanding the EPA drop costly wastewater regulation

Release Date: Mar 27, 2024
TOPEKA - (March 27, 2024) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach is leading a coalition of all Republican attorneys general in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a proposed regulation that would cost meat and poultry processors millions.

Under the proposed rule, the EPA will regulate meat and poultry processing plants with indirect wastewater discharges, or wastewater that goes through a city sewage treatment plant before it is released into navigable waters. The proposal would increase the number of plants regulated from approximately150 to potentially 3,879 plants.

Of 5,055 meat processing facilities in the United States, currently the EPA only regulates 171.

“This is yet another example of the Biden administration EPA overreaching and damaging rural America in the process,” said Abhishek Kambli, Kansas Deputy Attorney General. “This proposed rule is not only unlawful but imposes crippling regulatory costs on small meat and poultry processing plants whose wastewater discharges do not even go directly into navigable waters to begin with. This is wrong and the EPA should withdraw the proposed rule.”

In the letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, a coalition of 28 state attorneys general led by Kobach and Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin warn that an EPA proposal to regulate indirect wastewater discharge from meat and poultry plants circumvents existing regulations and could cost local meat processors up to $100 million.

The attorneys general are asking the EPA to withdraw the rule, because the EPA lacks the clear authority for the proposed regulation. The attorneys general also argue that the rule exceeds the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act. Additionally, the EPA plans to adopt the proposed rule following a lawsuit settlement agreement between the agency and environmental groups. That circumstance raises concerns that the EPA cannot legally withdraw the proposed rule without violating the consent judgement.

Attorney General Kobach and Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin lead the coalition. They were joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

To read the full letter, go here.

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News releases issued prior to 2023 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.