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EPA proposes rule to exempt ranchers from emissions regulations


ND Ag Connection - October 31, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. - North Dakota Senator John Hoeven spoke publicly after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule to exempt agricultural producers from burdensome reporting requirements for animal waste emissions.

Hoeven has been pressing the EPA to find a permanent solution to provide certainty and prevent the agency's rule from negatively impacting ranchers. The senator also helped introduce the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) that would protect farmers, ranchers and livestock markets from burdensome EPA reporting requirements for livestock emissions.

"Imposing reporting requirements for livestock emissions from animals in a pasture doesn't make sense and only leads to higher costs for both producers and consumers. That is why we've been pressing EPA to find a solution to provide certainty and to help ensure that ranchers are able to maintain their operations," said Hoeven. "This proposed rule will help provide much needed certainty for producers and is common sense."

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Response and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the release of hazardous substances into the air over certain thresholds must comply with requirements. These requirements were not intended to affect animal agriculture and instead were meant to address industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions and the release of hazardous materials into the environment.

The EPA previously provided exemptions to these rules for agriculture producers, except for confined animal feeding operations, as there is no accepted method for accurately measuring the release of substances like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from animal waste in a pasture. However, the courts ruled last year that the agency did not have the authority to grant the exemption and agriculture producers must begin reporting emissions.

Farmers are already exempted from CERCLA reporting as a result of the August 1 final rule. The recently  proposed rule amends EPCRA reporting requirements to exempt farmers from reporting requirements for animal waste.



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