Delay Persists at EPA for Measuring Livestock Emissions

Donnelle Eller reported last week at The Des Moines Register Online that, “After 11 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has failed to come up with the tools needed to measure whether large animal-feeding operations are exceeding federal air pollution standards, according to an EPA inspector general’s report released this week.

“That delay has left nearly 14,000 livestock facilities largely exempt from federal air emission oversight, and residents living near those facilities unprotected from harmful emissions that include ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, environmental groups say.

“‘It’s another example that the EPA, through more than one administration, has really been afraid to take on the livestock industry,’ said Wally Taylor, an attorney for the Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter.”

Ms. Eller noted that, “The EPA blamed the delays on problems with data collected through an industry-backed air-monitoring study and a ‘lack of expertise and resources’ to develop the air-emission measurement methodologies, among other issues, according to the report.”

The Register article added that, “In 2005, the EPA and the livestock industry reached an agreement: Producers would fund an air-emissions study and the EPA would not sue participating livestock operations for clean air violations.

“The air monitoring study, which cost $15 million, was completed in 2010, and EPA released an emission measurement draft in 2012.

“But a scientific board said the study data wasn’t strong enough to be broadly applied outside the study group, which included 27 facilities.

“By 2013, the EPA halted most work on developing air-emission measuring tools, the report said.”

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