Manure a hazardous waste?

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?

10 thoughts on “Manure a hazardous waste?”

  1. The main problem with ammonia is oxygen demand in runoff. Ever heard of the Gulf Dead Zone? That is a giant region of low-oxygen water caused by all the fertilizer runoff from every farm between the Rockies and the Appalachians. Also, in large concentration, it is a severe irritant to lungs.

    Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you (see junk science on herbal remedies), and ammonia doesn’t exist in concentrated form in the natural environment. It’s the concentration that causes problems.

  2. You can control the amount of emissions by controlling the amount of manure. Manure can be controlled by limiting the number of cattle.

    This is leading into another series of leftist agendas. The goal of limiting food to help trigger instability. Instability helps their Cloward and Piven agenda.

  3. Animal manure will emit ammonia, methane and baddus smellus. I’ll take BoH’s estimate as good, because it seems to be in the right direction. If you have high concentrations of feed lots and dairies, like in Northern Iowa, you can have a manure management problem because you are generating more than you can use as fertilizer. Let them deal with the the problem of storage, treatment, runoff and the like, don’t put agriculture into the abyss of air regulations.

    The EPA is overstepping its bounds by creating new problems to solve and ever more restrictive regulations to solve them. We need to stop the cycle of more and more regulations covering less and less pollution.

  4. Ammonia is one of those chemicals that reminds me of, maybe CO2? It is a nutrient, it is used in industial processes and it is emitted naturally. If it is emitted by human activies, it is bad, but the effects of ammonia on the environment are generally good, have you spent lots of money on fertilzer with ammonia in it?

  5. “just having to report it” is the first step to heavy handed regulation. They know they cannot sell outlawing farms and ranches openly, they have to do it gradually, the old frog in the water trick.

  6. RST, it’s not gone. It either washes out in rain or evaporates out in gas. This is why we have odor ordinances and why most cows are kept en-masse out in the middle of nowhere. Manure is stored before it is sold as fertilizer (or for any other use). If you pick up a dump truck once a week, a farmer.

    Don’t discount an emissions source just because it sounds silly. Fecal matter is a large pollution issue for both air and water. I discount this idea mostly because there is no effective way to handle it, not because there aren’t emissions.

  7. If a facility stores large amounts of manure, the facility could emit significant amounts of ammonia. …………

    could emit? wouldnt the people around the manure know if large ammounts of ammonia were emitted??

    fake story anyway.

    who stores that much manure?? after a resonably quick ammount of time isnt the ammonia gone anyway??

  8. While I would like to put the emissions in perspective (if my estimates and half-baked guesses are correct, the Texas cattle industry produces 2-5 times the air pollutants of the Texas Oil industry), there is no viable method of controlling emissions from manure. If it cannot be controlled, you are wasting your time measuring it.

  9. This proposed ruling points out the growing schism that exists between town and country in the United States. In one case a town near me outlawed spreading manure on fields because of its odor. The local farmers delivered several truckloads of manure that they dumped in front of the doors of town hall; the law was repealed.

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