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What They Are Saying | EPA Adds Reporting Exemption Under EPCRA for Air Emissions from Animal Waste

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On Tuesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule amending the emergency release notification regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The amendments clarify that reporting of air emissions from animal waste at farms is not required under EPCRA.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (Nebraska), FARM Act author: “Due to unnecessary federal regulations, our ag producers in Nebraska were facing worry and frustration about calculating emissions from animal waste. I was proud to lead the bipartisan legislation that delivered a permanent fix on this issue. Now that the EPA administrator has officially implemented this rule, farmers and ranchers will have more regulatory certainty.”

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (Kansas), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and FARM Act cosponsor: “I’m pleased the EPA has acted to give further certainty to farmers, ranchers, and local emergency responders who were never meant to be subject to these onerous reporting requirements. I appreciate this Administration’s deregulatory approach toward the American farmer and rancher, who need a reprieve from government red tape.”

John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY (in a joint statement with the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers): “The removal of this unnecessary burden will ensure that emergency first responder’s important effort and time is not wasted on responding to nonemergencies. EPA’s actions have stimulated a constructive conversation between emergency planning professionals and the animal agriculture industry. This dialogue has led to an agreement to collaborate on a tool that will educate producers on developing emergency management plans for their farm and share information that will help local emergency planning commissions and emergency first responders understand how our poultry and egg facilities operate; so if they are called to respond to a true emergency, their safety and well-being can be enhanced.”

David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council: "The pork industry wants regulations that are practical and effective, but applying CERCLA and EPCRA to livestock farms is neither. Pork producers are very strong stewards of the environment and have taken many actions over the years to protect it. We applaud President Trump for relieving America's farmers from filing these unnecessary reports."

Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: “Farmers, ranchers, and emergency response officials all agree: routine emissions from agricultural operations are not a threat to local communities. Congress made a common-sense decision to exempt livestock producers from frivolous reporting requirements at the federal level with its passage of the FARM Act, and we are glad to see EPA fully implement the law by providing relief from burdensome state and local reporting requirements. Rather than submitting needless paperwork, talking to responders about potential on-farm hazards can save lives. The removal of this unnecessary burden will allow first responders to focus on real emergencies, and will allow livestock producers to focus on feeding the world.”

Chad Gregory, president and CEO of United Egg Producers: “UEP thanks Administrator Wheeler and the EPA team for their rigorous work in securing the final rule for the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know Act. The new rule recognizes that EPCRA/CERCLA reporting was not needed for farms and ensures that emergency first responders do not lose valuable time and effort responding to non-emergencies.

“UEP members are committed to responsible farming and will continue to work closely with their local first responders. This rule increases efficiency and reduces unnecessary regulatory burdens, all while protecting our environment. Preserving the land, air and water around U.S. egg farms is a top priority for America’s egg farmers, and responsible farming is a commitment made by UEP’s farmer-members every day.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation: "We are pleased with the outcome of EPA's painstaking efforts. This final rule codifies what's been the right thing to do all along."