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Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation December 2017 Issue
InAgLaw Hdr

Livestock air emission reporting under CERCLA: How did we get here?

Josh Trenary Pic - 2017
Josh Trenary
Executive Director of Indiana Pork

In an April 2017 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the CERCLA/EPCRA Administrative Reporting Exemption for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms final rule. This rule clarified how two long-standing federal emissions reporting requirements applied to emissions from livestock farms.

Under this rule, livestock farms were exempted from submitting reports on reportable quantities of hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and only farms meeting the federal definition of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) were required to submit those same types of reports under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). After the final rule was vacated, the livestock industry had to once again begin considering how to handle reporting under both CERCLA and EPCRA.

The best way to explain how farmers will navigate these reporting requirements is by looking back at how livestock based air emissions have been handled since the early 2000s. The prevalence of CAFO-size livestock facilities sparked much debate as to how air emissions from that type of facility should be addressed. In 2003, the National Academy of Science released a report titled “Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations.” This report highlighted what the industry already knew—there was not enough data to determine when livestock farms would trigger either Clean Air Act compliance or CERCLA/EPCRA reporting requirements.

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