- Category: News
- Published: Thursday, 15 February 2018 23:50
- Written by Jack Wilbur
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Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner Applauds
Introduction of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act)
(Salt Lake City) The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) applauds the introduction into Congress this week of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act) which would clarify that farmers and ranchers are not required to report livestock manure data under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a law intended to regulate toxic Superfund sites.
“Requiring farms and ranches to report natural continuous ammonia and hydrogen sulfide releases during routine agricultural operations does not advance environmental protection and it places an undue burden on agricultural producers,” said LuAnn Adams, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food.
UDAF joins the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and other agriculture groups in supporting the Senate legislation that would permanently exempt agriculture from reporting releases from decaying animal waste.
Dr. Barbara P. Glenn, NASDA CEO, underscored the importance of this timely action given the ongoing uncertainty among producers caused by conflicting court decisions.
“It was never the intent of Congress to regulate animal agriculture operations under the Superfund law. We applaud this commonsense, bipartisan effort by these Senators to restore certainty for farmers under CERCLA. The farms and ranches producing our food and fiber should not be regulated as toxic Superfund sites. We urge the Senate to swiftly act on this bill before new reporting requirements begin on May 1.”
In 1986 the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) was enacted. Section 304 of EPCRA requires all facilities at which a hazardous chemical is produced, used or stored to report releases of reportable quantities of any EPCRA extremely hazardous substance. However later sections in the law do not include “any substance to the extent it is used in routine agricultural operations.” EPA issued an exemption to agriculture in its 2008 final rule, stating it believed that Congress did not intend to impose ECPRA reporting requirements on farms engaged in routine agricultural operations.
A number of citizens groups challenged the validity of the final rule. In 2017 a District of Columbia Circuit Appeals Court struck down the final rule, eliminating the reporting exemption for agriculture. Since that time the Court has granted two stay motions by EPA. Without new legislation the new reporting requirements for farmers and ranchers begin on May 1, 2018.