Protecting Local Businesses: Legislators Challenge EPA’s Burdensome Meat Processor Rule

In the ongoing battle between regulatory power and local enterprises, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is wielding its pen once again with a proposed rule that could spell trouble for small meat processors across the nation. The Clean Water Act’s Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Meat and Poultry Products Point Source Category, though well-intentioned, may inadvertently devastate family-owned shops, particularly in the Midwest.

The regulation demands that small meat processors undergo the same phosphate and nitrogen testing as their larger counterparts, an imposition that seems unnecessary given the scale of their operations. While major facilities might absorb the costs, the proposed rule poses a significant financial burden on smaller enterprises.

The EPA’s estimated initial costs, ranging from $5,000 to potentially millions, with annual expenses stretching from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands, are alarming. Industry experts suggest the actual costs could be even higher, jeopardizing the livelihoods of local businesses. In Kansas alone, the Kansas Meat Processors Association identifies 55 independent processors, signaling potential economic downturns in rural communities.

The proposed changes have triggered concern among industry representatives, with the Kansas Meat Processors Association expressing worry about the detrimental impact on both the processing industry and related agricultural fields. The question is raised: Should every meat and poultry processing facility, regardless of size, adhere to the same guidelines without scientific evidence supporting such uniformity?

In response to these concerns, Representative Eric Burlison and I have collaborated on the Banning EPA’s Encroachment of Facilities Act. This common-sense legislation aims to halt the implementation of the EPA’s burdensome rule, offering a lifeline to hundreds of rural businesses and the jobs they provide.

As the Federal Register’s open comment period continues until March 25, concerned Americans have the opportunity to voice their opinions on this potential overreach. Visit and search for “Meat and Poultry Products” to contribute to the ongoing discussion.

While challenging the EPA’s rule may seem like a daunting task, it is a crucial endeavor to protect community meat processors and sustain rural economies.