In a bipartisan letter sent late last week to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 19 senators asked the agency to “continue the longstanding exemption for livestock odors” from the reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).
EPA in February was ordered by a U.S. District Court to revise its rules for EPCRA, which requires certain entities to notify state and local authorities about accidental spills and releases of hazardous materials and chemical explosions; it exempted agricultural producers from reporting routine emissions from their farms.
While a U.S. Court of Appeals in 2017 rejected the exemption, a bipartisan Congress in 2018 overwhelmingly approved the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which again exempted farms from reporting emissions from animal waste.
Extremist groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Waterkeeper Alliance, in 2018 sued to have the FARM Act regulations vacated and to force farms to immediately begin reporting emissions. But EPA in a backroom deal agreed to settle the case with the activists and have the FARM Act rules remand to the agency to be redrafted.
NPPC, which strongly supports the emissions reporting exemption for livestock producers, has pointed out that first responders have been clear they consider such reports unnecessary and burdensome.