A new livestock emissions reporting rule was 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. The EPA yesterday posted on their website that farms with continuous releases do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the Court’s opinion of April 11, 2017. No reporting is necessary until the mandate is issued. EPA will update the website once the mandate is issued and as new information becomes available.
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.
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.