Bipartisan Farm Emissions Exemption Slated for Omnibus

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By Dean Scott

The omnibus spending bill would shield farmers and ranchers from animal-waste air-pollution reporting requirements under the Superfund law, House and Senate Republican aides told Bloomberg Environment.

The reporting prohibition is drawn from the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (S. 2421) which would specify that routine emissions from farm animals and manure aren’t required to be reported under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980.

The FARM Act was introduced Feb. 13 by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) but has broad backing by Democrats. The measure is part of a larger draft Senate package to reduce regulations for farmers and ranchers.

Senators backed by agricultural producers drafted the language in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s 2017 ruling in Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA, which said the Environmental Protection Agency lacked authority to shield farms from reporting air pollution from animal waste.

House and Senate appropriators are aiming to file the omnibus bill for the 2018 fiscal year later on March 21 to ensure continued government-wide funding through Sept. 30.

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