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Reporting of hazardous farm emissions delayed

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A federal appeals court offers farms relief from reporting hazardous emissions.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday granted a motion to further stay issues of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) mandate. The stay remains through May 1, 2018.

The court’s stay exempts farmers from reporting certain emissions until the it issues an order, or mandate. CERCLA and EPCRA require farms to report hazardous substances exceeding a reportable quantity within a 24-hour period.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule in December 2008 exempting most farms from certain release reporting requirements in CERCLA and EPCRA. The rule specifically exempted farms releasing hazardous substances from animal waste to the air above threshold levels from reporting under CERCLA. The rule also exempted reporting of releases, under EPCRA, if the farm had fewer animals than a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).

Many citizen groups challenged the validity of the EPA’s final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court struck down the final rule April 1, 2017,¬†eliminating reporting exemptions for farms.

EPA sought additional time from the Court to delay the effective date so the EPA could develop guidance materials to help farmers understand their reporting obligations.