Ag groups seek rehearing on air emissions case

NPPC and USPOULTRY want court to reconsider whether CERCLA and EPCRA reporting are needed for agricultural entities.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

June 8, 2017

2 Min Read
Ag groups seek rehearing on air emissions case

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) are seeking a rehearing following a recent ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The court’s ruling rejected an exemption from reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), two programs that are meant to inform the National Response Center and local first responders of hazards that may call for emergency action.

The Environmental Protection Agency had provided an exemption from CERCLA reporting of low-level emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide generated from the natural breakdown of animal manure after the agency’s evaluation demonstrated that any emergency response to such emissions reports was “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.”

EPA had limited EPCRA reporting of such emissions to one-time reports for continuous releases from large, confined animal feeding operations. USPOULTRY and NPPC intervened in the lawsuit to defend what they called the agency’s commonsense exemption.

The request for a rehearing is also being supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation and the United Egg Producers.

At the end of May, 28 senators signed a letter urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge the D.C. Circuit’s decision and to “provide America’s farmers and ranchers with regulatory relief through agency directive and rule-making.”

CERCLA is used to recover natural resource damages caused by hazardous substances; EPCRA is for state and local emergency responders to use when dealing with hazardous chemical releases. “Congress never imagined normal odors and emissions ... of livestock, poultry and egg production would somehow be captured” under the laws, the senators wrote.

If the court does not grant the requests, its ruling will likely become final on or about June 2, 2017, requiring livestock farmers to comply with emission reporting requirements.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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