02.13.18

Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Provide Certainty for Farmers and Ranchers

Bipartisan Legislation Would Exempt Ag Producers from Reporting Requirements for Animal Waste Emissions

WASHINGTON –U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with seven of his Senate colleagues, today introduced the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act. The bipartisan bill would protect farmers, ranchers and livestock markets from burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. These requirements were not intended to affect animal agriculture and instead were meant to address dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions and the release of hazardous materials into the environment.

 

“Treating farms, ranches and small livestock operations like Superfund sites is not what Congress intended when it passed CERCLA,” said Rounds. “These programs were enacted to clean up land that has been identified by the EPA as hazardous or contaminated and make certain America’s communities can safely manage hazardous substances.  They were not intended to be imposed on family farming operations, who are working to use the best science in order to produce enough food and fuel for a growing global population. Our bill codifies this intent into law to prevent activist interest groups from attempting to redefine congressional intent related to CERCLA in the future.”

 

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) are laws on the books that require entities to notify authorities when they release large quantities of hazardous materials. In 2008, the EPA published a final rule exempting most livestock operations from the laws’ reporting requirements.

 

In April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled EPA did not have the authority to create this exemption for agriculture, creating confusion and uncertainty for America’s ag producers. 

 

The FARM Act would:

 

  • Maintain the exemption for certain federally registered pesticides from reporting requirements within CERCLA.
  • Exempt air emissions from animal waste on a farm from reporting requirements under CERCLA.
  • Provide agriculture producers with greater certainty by reinstating the status quo producers have been operating under since EPA’s 2008 final rule.

 

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