The newly introduced and bipartisan H.R. 5275, Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions (ACRE) Act would avoid unnecessary environmental reporting, which has been opposed by Republican and Democratic administrations alike. Reps. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) introduced the bill together with 85 original, bipartisan cosponsors.
“This legislation is critical,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “Without it, farmers and ranchers must comply with a law that was never supposed to affect them – the Superfund program (CERCLA). Congress never meant to include agriculture under these reporting obligations, but because of a misguided court ruling, farmers and ranchers are vulnerable. We support swift passage of the ACRE Act and applaud Reps. Long and Costa for their work on this issue.”
Under current regulations, approximately 200,000 farms and ranches could be legally obliged to report emissions from animal agricultural operations, even though those rules were written to cover industrial emergencies, rather than routine, low level emissions from farms and ranches.
The EPA under both the Bush and Obama administrations supported exempting these agricultural producers, but a federal court found the law did not clearly exclude farms and ranches. The ACRE Act would clarify that such producers are not required to report these emissions.
In the Senate, S. 2421, the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act has been introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The legislation also has bipartisan support and could be brought up in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee soon.