EPA provides EPCRA relief
On Oct. 30, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal to exempt agriculture from reporting under the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).
“This proposed rule is intended to make it clear to the regulated community that animal waste emissions from farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA,” said Andrew Wheeler. “This action provides much-needed certainty and clarity to America’s farmers and ranchers. It also ensures our emergency response officials are focusing their time and resources on hazardous waste emergencies and not routine animal waste.”
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, who hosted Wheeler in his home state, noted, “Farmers and ranchers continue to face numerous challenges, and the removal of this unnecessary and burdensome regulation is welcome news for producers across our state.”
Further, Moran said, “It was never the intent of Congress for normal odors from animal waste on farms to fall under our nation’s emergency hazardous waste reporting requirements.”
“Acting Administrator Wheeler announced a new rule proposal that would de-regulate emissions reporting for agriculture,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Counsel Scott Yager. “This is something we have been fighting for some time.”
This issue stems back to May 2017, when the D.C. Circuit Court vacated EPA’s 2008 regulatory exemption for livestock reporting under EPCRA. Following that court action, the Trump EPA issued guidance stating reporting still does not need to occur from livestock producers based on EPA’s interpretation of EPCRA.
In March 2018, Congress passed legislation that exempted producers from CERCLA reporting, and the Oct. 31 EPCRA exemption provides relief from an additional reporting.
CERCLA, or superfund, was enacted by Congress in 1980 to manage hazardous waste in solid waste landfills, explains Yager. Local municipal waste landfills are regulated under CERCLA, and they must report hazardous waste to the Coast Guard.
“EPCRA is an amendment to the superfund that requires certain reporting to the state and local level,” Yager says. “Under EPCRA, the same information reported to the Coast Guard under CERCLA must be reported to state and local emergency responders under EPCRA.”
The exemption provides welcome relief for farmers and ranchers across the country.
Read the proposed rule at epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-10/documents/proposed_epcra_amendment_signed_10-30-18.pdf. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.