OMAHA (DTN) -- With a new livestock emissions reporting rule set to take effect on Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked a federal court to stay the rule to allow the agency to help farmers prepare to comply.
Back in April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out an EPA decision to not require livestock operations to report emissions, essentially allowing the reporting rule to take full effect on Nov. 15, 2017. The rule requires livestock producers to report emissions of more than 100 pounds per day of either ammonia or hydrogen sulfide.
Animal feeding operations that confine more than 1,000 head of cattle, 2,500 head of hogs, or 125,000 chickens are defined as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, by EPA. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emitted from livestock lagoons have been classified as "hazardous" and "extremely hazardous."
The National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association filed court briefs last week in support of the EPA's request to delay the mandate in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA.
The EPA asked the court on Monday for an extension of the deadline to either Jan. 17, 2018, or later to allow the agency to draft a better reporting form for farmers to use for compliance.
A number of environmental groups led by the Waterkeeper Alliance asked the court to deny the agency's request for an extension, calling the request a "smokescreen" to further delay the rule.
"Regardless of EPA's preliminary EPCRA interpretation, farmers will have to estimate their emissions and report their releases under CERCLA as soon as this court issues the mandate in this case," EPA said in a court filing on Monday.
"Allowing EPA this short additional time to finalize its CERCLA guidance and streamlined continuous release reporting form will help maximize the number of farmers that submit reports once the mandate is issued."
In addition, the agency said a delay would allow for further coordination in response to what is expected to be an increase in reports made to the EPA.
The University of Illinois Extension has developed a table to help livestock producers know whether they've reached reporting thresholds, http://web.extension.illinois.edu/…. In addition, the EPA has provided guidance for producers as well, http://bit.ly/….
In addition, the EPA announced interim guidance on Monday that allows livestock producers to report emissions by email.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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