Senators Introduce Bill to Provide Certainty for Farmers and Ranchers

A news release yesterday from Sen. Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) indicated that, “Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act. The bill, which has a number of other bipartisan cosponsors, would protect farmers, ranchers, and livestock markets from burdensome EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. These requirements were not intended to affect animal agriculture and instead were meant to address dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions, and the release of hazardous materials into the environment.”

Yesterday’s release added that, “The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) are laws on the books that require entities to notify authorities when they release large quantities of hazardous materials. In 2008, the EPA published a final rule exempting most livestock operations from the laws’ reporting requirements.

“In April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled EPA did not have the authority to create this exemption for agriculture, creating confusion and uncertainty for America’s ag producers.  

The FARM Act would:

  • Maintain the exemption for certain federally registered pesticides from reporting requirements within CERCLA.
  • Exempt air emissions from animal waste on a farm from reporting requirements under CERCLA.
  • Provide agriculture producers with greater certainty by reinstating the status quo producers have been operating under since EPA’s 2008 final rule.”
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