Congress Adds Momentum to Restoring CERCLA Exemptions

March 15, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a federal court order in six weeks set to impose a massive reporting deadline on farmers, the National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and United Egg Producers applauded Wednesday’s bi-partisan House legislation which makes law a policy that had the full support of the Bush and Obama Administrations, with commonsense clarity for on-farm reporting of air emissions from animal manure.  

Introduced by Reps. Billy Long (R-MO) and Jim Costa (D-CA) with 83 cosponsors, the “Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions” (ACRE Act) adds momentum to last month’s similar legislation in the Senate to restore the on-farm exemption for reporting air emissions from manure under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

“Continued bi-partisan support from Congress recognizes that animal manure on farmland was never intended to be considered a hazardous waste site,” said the poultry groups in a joint statement. “We appreciate the responsiveness of Members of Congress and we will be working to support their efforts to keep government focused, instead of wasting time and tax money requiring the collection of reports on manure.” The groups represent the nation’s poultry and egg producers and processors, contributing $441.15 billion in total to the US Economy.  

Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reviewed the FARM Act, “The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act,” to prepare the bill for further consideration in the Senate, which has 37 cosponsors. On May 1, a federal appeals court order is set to trigger massive reporting to the US Coast Guard’s National Response Center by nearly a quarter-million farms although they have only low-level, emissions of ammonia from manure. Through a policy started by the Bush Administration, and with the full support of the Obama Administration, the EPA had exempted low-level continuous emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. The Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia found the EPA exemption vague, disrupting a nearly 10-year understanding that these are not the type of releases that Congress intended to be reported.    

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