EPA Region 7 Administrator Talks About Working With Agribusiness on Air and Water Laws

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday that, “A year into his second stint as EPA’s Region 7 administrator, Jim Gulliford said he remains committed to compliance over enforcement in working with agriculture and other industries in the four-state region, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

“Gulliford visited with DTN last week at EPA’s regional office in Lenexa, just after EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler had signed a proposed rule in the office seeking to amend the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act to exempt animal livestock emissions from reporting requirements.

“Gulliford summed up the rationale for the proposal: ‘It just confuses them when they are getting reports of emissions,’ he said. ‘Generally when they receive reports of emissions, it’s a key or an indicator they need to respond to something — that there has been an accident, there’s been a release, just generally some kind of concern from human health impacts and the environment. That’s just not the case with these livestock operations.”

The DTN article stated that, “The National Pork Producers Council praised the proposal, citing the rule fits with legislation passed earlier this year by Congress, the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM Act. The law exempts livestock farmers from emission requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, which also is commonly referred to as the ‘Superfund Law.’

“The pork industry wants regulations that are practical and effective, but applying CERCLA and EPCRA to livestock farms would be neither, said Jim Heimerl, president of NPPC and an Ohio farmer. ‘Pork producers are very strong stewards of the environment and have taken many actions over the years to protect it,’ he said.

“Still, the proposal drew criticism from environmental groups over the impact on the health of rural Americans. Food and Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity were among groups critical of the rule.”

Mr. Clayton added: “Agriculture is the largest economic function in Region 7, by far, which puts the farmers in contact with water resources and air quality, Gulliford said. Still, if there are compliance problems with regulations, EPA’s goal is to get the industry, including agriculture, in compliance as quickly as possible.”

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