Does EPA want to turn farms and ranches into Superfund sites?
As reported by Environment and Energy Daily,
Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R) [has introduced a bill to] stop EPA from classifying livestock manure as a hazardous substance for its Superfund cleanup program. Long says such a move is an effort by environmental “extremists” to target and regulate modern livestock operations.
While the Obama EPA denies that it wants to turn farms into Superfund sites,
The legislation seeks to address controversy surrounding concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and the manure they produce. President George W. Bush’s EPA crafted a rule in 2008 that exempted CAFOs from reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) — which established the Superfund cleanup program.
Environmentalists challenged that exemption in court and have strongly encouraged President Obama’s EPA to scrap the exemption for CAFOs. EPA is currently drafting a replacement to the Bush-era policy and if the agency removes the exemption, farms would have to report emissions for several pollutants, including ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, if they exceed threshold limits.
Therein lies the rub. Long and Republicans say that could lead to limiting the use of manure as organic fertilizer — a practice that is becoming common on farms. They also say it could lead to a farmer who uses manure as fertilizer being held liable for millions of dollars in violations.
“It doesn’t make any sense to lump tens of thousands of farms and livestock producers under the same severe liability provisions that apply to the nearly 1,300 federal Superfund toxic waste sites,” Long said when he introduced the bill.
The EPA says,
If a facility stores large amounts of manure, the facility could emit significant amounts of ammonia. If that quantity exceeds a certain threshold under CERCLA, the farm would have to report it. EPA was careful to emphasize, though, that does not mean the farm would have to stop using the manure or reduce the emissions — only report them.
And we’re supposed to believe the EPA because it has a track record of truth-telling and regulatory restraint?