There’s a glimmer of hope that common sense does exist in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule exempting livestock farmers from reporting routine emissions from their farms to state and local authorities.
The ruling is considered the final step in implementing the FARM Act, which passed Congress earlier this year eliminating the need for livestock farmers to estimate and report to the federal government emissions from the natural breakdown of manure, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM, Act fixed a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Commonly known as the “Superfund Law,” CERCLA is used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component.
The appeals court ruling would have forced tens of thousands of livestock farmers to “guesstimate” and report the emissions from manure on their farms to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center and subjected them to citizen lawsuits from activist groups.
EPA’s latest proposed rule would exempt farmers from reporting to state and local first responders under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) – an adjunct to CERCLA – that they have “hazardous” emissions on their farms.