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Rick Worthington Senator Mike Rounds
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: March 20, 2018

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U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds is Chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Work's Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight.

Rounds discusses the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which would prevent animal ag operations from being regulated as if they were toxic Superfund sites under the CERCLA law.

According to the Capitol Press: The legislation would exempt farms from a law spawned by careless handling of industrial waste in the 1970s. The bill, however, leaves open the possibility that producers will someday have to report the volume of gases released by livestock under a different law inspired by the 1984 chemical leak in Bopal, India, that killed up to 20,000 people.

Farm groups had sought to exempt producers from both laws, commonly referred to by their acronyms, CERCLA and EPCRA.

The Environmental Protection Agency has, under the George W. Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, sought to exclude agriculture from CERCLA and EPCRA.

CERCLA mandates reporting chemical leaks to federal authorities, while EPCRA requires providing the same information to local and state emergency officials.

The EPA asserted in 2008 that telling emergency responders, federal or local, that decaying manure was releasing gas was a useless exercise. Environmental groups convinced the D.C. Circuit Court that the EPA was wrong.

The CERCLA exemption for agriculture will end when the D.C. court finalizes its order, which could be as soon as May 1.

The EPA maintains the court’s ruling didn’t apply to EPRCA, a position environmental groups are challenging. EPA says it intends to write a rule to clarify whether EPCRA covers animal waste.

Under CERCLA, farmers would have to report manure emissions, but there would be no requirement to reduce emissions.

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