Court of Appeals Rules Against Animal Ag Reporting Exemption in Two Environmental Laws

 

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Image by Lynn Betts, USDA-NRCS

 

This is not a substitute for legal advice.

The smells of livestock are common if you live on a farm or next to a farm. If livestock numbers reach certain sizes, then two federal environmental laws, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) may require the producer to report the release of hazardous substances to the National Response Center. With animal operations, the releases have been focused on ammonia and hydrogen sulfide as manure is broken down. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed an exemption from the reporting requirements for all animal feeding operations from CERCLA and EPCRA but required larger animal operations to continue reporting under EPCRA. Environmental and animal welfare groups challenged this exemption. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently struck down the exemption. Continue reading