The EPA has approved final rules which ensure farmers and ranchers do not need to report animal waste emissions.
Legislation introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer opened the way for the EPA actions.
“Due to unnecessary federal regulations, our ag producers in Nebraska were facing worry and frustration about calculating emissions from animal waste,” Fischer said.
“I was proud to lead the bipartisan legislation that delivered a permanent fix on this issue. Now that the EPA administrator has officially implemented this rule, farmers and ranchers will have more regulatory certainty.”
Fischer’s bipartisan Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act was signed into law in March 2018 by President Trump. She said the bill protects farmers, ranchers, and livestock markets from “burdensome EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions.”
“These requirements were meant to address dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions, and the release of hazardous materials into the environment,” Fischer said. “They were not intended to affect animal agriculture.”
Fischer’s legislation was supported by the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said that there is a “time and place for sensible regulations that protect our environment and our citizens.
“However, past efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require farmers and ranchers to report air emissions from their operations were nothing more than regulatory overkill,” Nelson said.
“With that said, we greatly appreciate Administrator Wheeler’s recent action to eliminate EPA’s unnecessary air emission reporting requirements for livestock farms under EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) regulations.”
Nelson said the goal of EPCRA was to prepare communities for emergency threats related to hazardous chemical releases.
“Routine emissions from livestock farms do not in any way constitute an ‘emergency threat’ that would present a risk to community members and first responders,” he said. “We appreciate EPA’s common-sense action that accurately reflects Nebraska farmers and ranchers long-track record of being good environmental stewards.”
Nelson said passage of Fischer’s “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act” legislation last fall eliminated similar reporting requirements for livestock farms under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
“The adoption of that legislation and EPA’s recent action on EPCRA provides regulatory consistency for livestock farmers across both emission reporting regulations,” he said.