No, It's Not Fake News - Starting Monday, Producers will be Required to File Report on POOP to EPA
Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:01:37 CST
As of Monday, January 22nd, farmers and ranchers that fall within a certain threshold of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions - that is, the breakdown of manure from livestock - must begin reporting their estimates for continuous low-level emissions to the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency as mandated in the CERCLA and EPCRA laws. Also known as Superfund, these regulations were meant to primarily oversee the cleanup of toxic spills and dump sites, but never for agriculture. Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Scott Yager says to require producers to report emissions from their cattle is ludicrous, and is now leading NCBA in a campaign to exempt those in agriculture from this requirement. He explained to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays in a recent phone interview how the industry even found itself in this position.
“This is one of the few times EPA was on our side, because in 2008, EPA crafted a regulatory exemption for agriculture so that agriculture did not have to do these reports under CERCLA and EPCRA,” Yager said. “However, environmental activist groups sued the EPA and forced this bad court decision in April that vacated the EPA exemption for agriculture - which now means around 200,000 ranchers across the country will have to report their emissions.”
Those affected will be determined by a reporting threshold, requiring any livestock operation that exceeds 100 lbs./day of ammonia and/or hydrogen sulfide emissions to notify the EPA and Coast Guard. Figuring out if that applies to you, is the hard part Yager says. Luckily, the University of Nebraska and Texas AgriLife have developed some calculators to help feedlots determine their emission levels. Unfortunately, though, there are no available tools for the cow/calf man, but Yager says that from extrapolating numbers from the feedlot tools, 330 head of cattle or more is the magic number for producers to go by.
Earlier this week, NCBA kicked off a media campaign aimed at spotlighting and correcting a recent court decision, with a new online video featuring Yager donning a yellow hazmat suit and explaining the issue at an actual toxic Superfund site near Fredericksburg, Virginia. He then shows the contrast between the contaminated Superfund site and a cattle farm in nearby Louisa County, Virginia, that would likely have to comply with the new reporting requirements. Click or tap the PLAYBOX in the window below to watch this video.
Listen to Yager and Hays discuss this issue and the process in which affected producers will have to undertake to stay compliant with this new mandate, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
Hear Yager and Hays discuss this issue and the process in which affected producers will have to take