The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers would like to commend the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for finalizing a rule that amends the emergency release notification regulations under section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Congress made it clear they did not categorize the low-level emission of ammonia that comes from poultry houses and barns as manure naturally degrades as a hazard to be covered under an emergency notification program when they passed the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act) in 2018. The FARM Act passed on March 23, 2018, when the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law and exempted farms from the requirement to submit emergency release reports for air emissions from animal waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The rule finalized by EPA today is the result of the Agency considering the will of Congress and a comprehensive review of the criteria for EPCRA section 304 release reporting requirements. The EPA’s review appropriately recognized EPCRA reporting requirements are statutorily tied to CERCLA notification requirements. Because the low-level ammonia releases from animal manure is now exempt from CERCLA notification, EPCRA reporting for these low-level releases similarly fails to meet the reporting requirement as it does not: “Occurs in a manner that would require notification under section 103(a) of CERCLA.”
John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY, remarked, “The removal of this unnecessary burden will ensure that emergency first responder’s important effort and time is not wasted on responding to non-emergencies. EPA’s actions have stimulated a constructive conversation between emergency planning professionals and the animal agriculture industry. This dialogue has led to an agreement to collaborate on a tool that will educate producers on developing emergency management plans for their farm and share information that will help local emergency planning commissions and emergency first responders understand how our poultry and egg facilities operate; so if they are called to respond to a true emergency, their safety and well-being can be enhanced.”