The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in November released a “potential future regulation” for Animal Waste Air Emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPA requested public feedback under five separate categories on whether or not the EPA should go forward with crafting a proposed rule in the near future.  NCC joined multiple other trade associations in expressing our desire that no such future rulemaking is ever undertaken.

Classified as an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), EPA requested comments from the public regarding five general categories: (1) health impact, (2) implementation challenges, (3) costs and benefits, (4) small farm definitions and exemptions, and (5) whether there should be a national report on the animal air emissions.

The EPA’s “potential future regulation” can be found here.

Congress in 2018 enacted legislation known as the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which exempted animal agriculture from reporting air emissions under a related law known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This is known as the “Superfund” law.

In response, EPA underwent rulemaking to exempt animal agriculture from air emissions reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Now, EPA is questioning whether it should undo that rulemaking and require emissions reporting from animal agriculture.

“Farmers, ranchers, and others involved in animal agriculture hold there is no legitimate reason for requiring them to report to state and local emergency response authorities estimates of the amount of air emissions from their animals’ manure,” the comments read.

Animal air emissions are not the same as hazardous waste chemicals, the comments noted, and reporting on them serves no purpose for the state and local emergency response authorities expected to assess this data. Officials handling these responses have gone on record in both letters and verbally stating that these emission reports are of no value and are generally ignored. Additionally, EPA has yet to finalize reliable, scientifically sound emission estimating methodologies for modern livestock and poultry farms. The public does not need unreliable emissions estimates, nor should farmers be required to undergo policy with flawed or incomplete methodologies. There is also a high likelihood that this information will only be used by third-party groups to harass farmers, generate unwarranted controversy, and create avenues for increased civil suits to put farmers out of business.

The coalition comments also detailed concerns, comments, and questions concerning the health impacts of the rulemaking and implementation challenges.

NCC was joined in the comments by 47 other organizations, including the Delmarva Chicken Association, Florida Poultry Federation, Indiana State Poultry Association, Kentucky Poultry Federation, North Central Poultry Association, Ohio Poultry Association, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, and Texas Poultry Federation.

The full comments can be found here.