U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) earlier this week led a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan urging the agency to withdraw a proposed rule covering wastewater discharged by meat and poultry processors. Nine of their Senate Republican colleagues and 17 of their House Republican colleagues also joined the letter.

“Given the technical complexity and high costs of wastewater treatment alterations, coupled with the massive expansion of the number of regulated facilities, a 60-day comment period demonstrates EPA is not interested in seeking meaningful input from the regulated industry. As such, we urge EPA to withdraw the rule,” wrote the Members.

NCC is also on record supporting an extension.

In their letter, the Members called on Administrator Regan to earnestly work with stakeholders in any future rulemaking, ensuring that the EPA’s actions do not compromise the U.S. food system.

“The proposed rule exposes hundreds of operators to a new regulatory regime with significant costs and a disregard of the ramifications on stakeholders … We are concerned the number of potential closures is likely much higher than estimated, and we believe it is irresponsible for EPA to propose regulations that will arbitrarily close plants and eliminate jobs from the rural economy,” the Members continued.


On January 24, 2024, the EPA published its proposed rule on the Meat and Poultry Products (MPP) category wastewater discharge regulations and standards. The rule included three regulatory options that the EPA estimates will impact between 844 and 1,618 facilities.

The proposed rule only provides a 60-day comment period and will close on March 25, 2024. The EPA recently announced to stakeholders that it will not extend the comment period.

The letter calls on EPA to withdraw the proposed rule. It claims that a 60-day comment period does not allow time for meaningful feedback on the three proposals and expanding regulations on meat, poultry, and rendering facilities.