On March 23, 2018, the president signed into law the “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act” that exempts the reporting of “air emissions from animal waste at a farm” under CERCLA. For several years agricultural groups have been asking Congress to enact this exemption to reverse a court decision that required livestock emission reporting.
A 2011 court case invalidated a 2008 EPA regulation exempting livestock emission reporting. In 2008, EPA published a rule that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in CERCLA and EPCRA. Specifically, the rule exempted farms releasing hazardous substances from animal waste to the air above threshold levels from reporting under CERCLA. For EPCRA reporting, the rule exempted reporting of such releases if the farm had fewer animals than a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).
Environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging EPA’s 2008 regulation. On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down EPA’s rule, eliminating the reporting exemptions for farms.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals it is expected to issue a mandate vacating the 2008 final rule as soon as May 1, 2018. Fortunately, since Congress has now exempted livestock operation emission reporting requirements farms will remain exempt from the CERCLA reporting requirements as a result of the “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act.”
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