The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit has granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s(EPA) request to delay air emissions reporting rules at least until May 1.
The ruling came yesterday, after EPA had requested more time late last year to refine its guidance on who must report and what must be reported.
“In April 2017, the D.C. Circuit ruled that farms were required to report air releases of “hazardous substances” above certain thresholds under two federal environmental laws, despite the fact that Congress likely never intended those two laws to apply to farms,” say attorneys with Michael Best
Friedrich, a Wisconsin law firm that specializes in agricultural issues.
In its ruling last April, the court invalidated 2008 EPA air emissions reporting exemptions for all dairy farms under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and only require Confined Animal Feeding Operations to report emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
In October 2017, EPA issued a guidance that farms with air emission releases above certain quantities under EPCRA would be required to file a “continuous release report.” After releasing that guidance, EPA asked a federal appeals court for a stay (a delay in the court’s earlier ruling) to allow EPA more time to prepare for these reporting obligations.
Still problematic is the fact that there is no accepted scientific methodology to estimate air emissions from livestock operations.
Industry groups continue to work on a legislative solution, arguing that Congress likely never intended livestock operations to be regulated for emissions of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide under either CERCLA or EPRCA.