Legal Ledger Briefs: “Poop smells” reporting proposal

Acting Administrator Wheeler signs the proposed EPCRA exemption rule alongside Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey (left), Senator Jerry Moran (second from left), and Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford (right).    

On Oct. 30, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew Wheeler announced a proposed rule that would exempt livestock producers from reporting “poop smells” under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 

“This proposed rule is intended to make it clear to the regulated community that animal waste emissions from farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA,” said Wheeler in his official announcement.

“This action provides much-needed certainty and clarity to America’s farmers and ranchers. It also ensures our emergency response officials are focusing their time and resources on hazardous waste emergencies and not routine animal waste.”

As reported previously in WLJ, the concept that livestock producers would have to report air emissions resulting from livestock waste resulted from a lawsuit by environmental groups that argued EPCRA and CERCLA applied to agriculturally-related air emissions, as well as toxic superfund sites. As of press time, the proposed rule had not been published in the Federal Register, meaning the comment period had not started.

The proposed rule will be open to stakeholder comment for 30 days on regulations.gov under the Docket ID EPA-HQ-OLEM-2018-0318.

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