Senate committee dives into bill to limit emissions reporting

Beginning May 1, nearly 200,000 animal agriculture operations will be considered toxic "Superfund" sites without a legislative fix. On Thursday morning, the Senate environment and public works subcommittee on superfund, waste management and regulatory oversight held a hearing to look at a legislative solution -- S. 2421, the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act -- to prevent it.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted by Congress to give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to respond to hazardous industrial pollution that threatens the environment and public health. In 2008, EPA finalized a rule to clarify that farms and ranches are exempt from air emissions reporting requirements under CERCLA.

The Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was enacted to ensure that parties that emit hazardous chemicals submit reports to their local emergency responders to allow for more effective planning during chemical emergencies.

In April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated EPA's 2008 exemption, putting nearly 200,000 farms and ranches under the regulatory reporting authorities enshrined in CERCLA and EPCRA.



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