Attorney General Bonta Leads Multistate Coalition in Support of the EPA’s Proposed Rule to Reduce Water Pollution from Meat and Poultry Processing Facilities

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, leading a coalition of 6 attorneys general, submitted a comment letter supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Rule that would revise the outdated effluent limitations guidelines and standards for the meat and poultry products (MPP) under the Clean Water Act (CWA), which apply to wastewater from MPP facilities. For the first time in 20 years, EPA is updating standards for the MPP industry which would reduce nutrient pollutant loads to surface waters by tightening nitrogen limits and regulating phosphorus from some MPP facilities. In today’s letter, the attorneys generally commend the rule, recommend that the EPA should adopt stronger standards that apply to more facilities to protect water resources and environmental justice communities, and encourage EPA to provide funding to assist facilities in complying with stricter standards. 

“For too long, our nation’s waters have been severely polluted and have posed significant health risks to communities across this country, particularly those of color,” said Attorney General Bonta. “That’s why, I, alongside other attorneys general submitting this letter, support the EPA’s Rule, which reduces some water pollution from meat and poultry processing facilities, but strongly urge EPA to go farther and adopt the most protective option it proposed, along with federal funding to support compliance. By prioritizing environmental justice and taking action to protect the health and well-being of all residents, we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for generations to come.”

MPP facilities introduce high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous into wastewater from animal tissue, manure, cleaning compounds, and other sources. The MPP industry discharges the highest phosphorous levels and second-highest nitrogen levels of all industrial categories regulated by the CWA. MPP wastewater contains these and other harmful pollutants that can impair waterways and overwhelm publicly owned wastewater treatment plants that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to supporting the CWA  and ensuring clean and safe water for all. In January 2024, Attorney General Bonta co-led a coalition to defend the Biden Administration’s final rule for Section 401 of the CWA. In August 2023, Attorney General Bonta led a coalition in calling for 3M to pay more and sooner for contaminating Americans’ drinking water supply with toxic PFAS. 

In submitting the comment letter, Attorney General Bonta leads the attorneys general of Wisconsin, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.

A copy of the letter can be found here.


# # #