Eight U.S. senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Michael Regan last week asking the EPA to consider the impact of potential revisions to its Meat and Poultry Products (MPP) Effluent Guidelines and Standards on very small and small meat and poultry processors.
Industry expects EPA to announce a proposal to changes these guidelines, which have not been revised in nearly 20 years, sometime in December, though no official announcement has been made. The senators asked EPA to share the testing methods and data that has been collected from very small and small processing plants, and called on the agency to share the number of those facilities that were engaged in the process of drafting the revisions.
“We need to ensure that these very small and small facilities do not face regulations that will force them to close,” the letter explained. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) signed the letter.
The EPA announced in September 2021 that it would dive in and study and revise the meat and poultry industry’s discharge standards, with proposed rulemaking expected in December 2023 and a final rule to be published by August 2025. Earlier this year, information was released to some industry stakeholders on the potential proposed rules, which has caused concern throughout the small processor community, as it showed discharge data and information anchoring the new guidelines as being focused heavily on large processing plants.
Chris Young, executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), expressed his association’s appreciation for the support of the senators, and said, “From the information we have seen from EPA, the proposed rule could have a major impact on the meat industry and especially small processors.”