Coalition Letter to Congress Calling for Support of the Bipartisan Long-Costa Amendment

Letter

Date Sent
September 7, 2017
Sender
Multi-Industry Coalition
Recipient
U.S. House of Representatives
Subject
Long-Costa Amendment
17.32 KB, DOCX

Support the Bipartisan Long-Costa Amendment

Clarify that Family Farms are NOT Hazardous Waste Sites Uphold a Policy Backed by Obama and Bush Administrations

September 7, 2017

Dear Representative:

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted to provide for cleanup of the worst industrial chemical toxic waste dumps and spills, such as oil spills and chemical tank explosions. CERCLA has two primary purposes: to give the federal government necessary tools for prompt response to problems resulting from hazardous waste disposal into water and soil, and to hold polluters financially responsible for cleanup. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires that parties who emit hazardous chemicals submit reports to their local emergency planning offices, thus allowing local communities to better plan for chemical emergencies.

In 2008, the EPA finalized a rule to exempt all agricultural operations from CERCLA reporting and small operations from EPCRA reporting requirements, recognizing that low-level continuous emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from livestock are not “releases” that Congress intended to regulate. When Waterkeeper sued EPA in 2009, the Obama administration spent eight years defending this Bush- era regulation. In defending the lawsuit, the Obama EPA argued that CERCLA and EPCRA language does not explicitly exempt farms because Congress never believed that the continuous emissions of agricultural operations would fall into the realm of regulation. However, in April 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court issued a decision vacating EPA’s 2008 exemption, concluding that these statutes are unambiguous.

Not only does this court decision have the potential to bring nearly 100,000 farms and ranches under federal regulatory authority, but will also likely put our nation’s environmental and public health at risk. Currently, Hazardous Substance release reports are taken by the National Response Center (NRC), run by the Coast Guard. This department has averaged 28,351 reports per year over the last eight years. When farms from across the nation are suddenly in violation of CERCLA reporting requirements, reports from over 100,000 agricultural operations will inundate the NRC. This increase of over four times the average annual amount, in less than one week, could potentially prevent the Coast Guard from responding to actual hazardous waste emergencies, entirely defeating the primary purposes of CERCLA.

Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision, the EPA’s options are limited. The court recently granted a stay for three months, providing time for the agency to develop administrative guidance, but buying time does not change the ultimate outcome: thousands of farms and ranches across the nation will be forced to report their daily emissions to the EPA or face liability of up to $53,907 per day. Now, it is up to Congress to ensure that the EPA is not required to implement this overly burdensome court decision. We urge Congress to confirm that it never intended to regulate manure under CERCLA or EPCRA by supporting the attached bipartisan appropriations provision introduced by Representatives Billy Long (R-MO) and Jim Costa (D-CA).

Sincerely,


Agri-Mark, Inc.


Alabama Cattlemen’s Association

Alabama Farmers Federation

Alaska Farm Bureau


American Dairy Coalition

American Farm Bureau Federation

Arizona Cattle Feeders

Arizona Farm Bureau


Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

California Cattlemen’s Association

California Cattlewomen


California Dairies, Inc.


Center for Dairy Excellence


Colorado Dairy Farmers


Colorado Farm Bureau


Colorado Livestock Association

Connecticut Farm Bureau


Dairy Business Milk Marketing

Cooperative Dairy Farmers of America


Dairy Producers of New Mexico


Dairy Producers of Utah


Delaware Farm Bureau


Exotic Wildlife Federation


FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative


Florida Cattlemen’s Association


Florida Farm Bureau Federation


Georgia Farm Bureau


Idaho Farm Bureau Federation


Idaho Dairymen’s Association


Illinois Farm Bureau


Indiana Farm Bureau

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Iowa State Dairy Association

Kansas Farm Bureau


Kansas Livestock Association

Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation

Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

Michigan Farm Bureau

Michigan Milk Producers Association

Milk Producers Council


Minnesota Farm Bureau


Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association

Minnesota Milk Producers Association

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

Missouri Farm Bureau

Missouri Dairy Association


Missouri Pork Association


Montana Farm Bureau


National All-Jersey, Inc.


National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Corn Growers Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Milk Producers Federation

National Pork Producers Council

National Sorghum Producers

National Turkey Federation

Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association


Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation


New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation

New Mexico Cattle Growers Association

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau

New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.


New York Farm Bureau


Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperatives

 Northwest Dairy Association


North Carolina Farm Bureau


North Dakota Farm Bureau


North Dakota Stockmen’s Association


Ohio Cattlemen’s Association


Ohio Dairy Producers Association


Ohio Farm Bureau Federation


Oklahoma Farm Bureau


Oregon Dairy Farmers Association


Oregon Cattlemen’s Association


Oregon Farm Bureau


Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau


Select Milk Producers, Inc.


South Carolina Farm Bureau


South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association


South Dakota Dairy Association


South Dakota Farm Bureau


South East Dairy Farmers Association Southeast Milk, Inc.

Southwest Council of Agribusiness


St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc.

Tennessee Farm Bureau


Texas Association of Dairymen


Texas Cattle Feeders Association


Texas Farm Bureau


Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.


United Egg Association


Utah Farm Bureau


U.S. Cattlemen’s Association


U.S. Poultry and Egg Association


Virginia Cattlemen’s Association


Virginia Farm Bureau


Virginia Poultry Federation


Washington Cattlemen’s Association

Washington Cattle Feeders Association

Washington Farm Bureau


Washington State Dairy Federation


Western States Dairy Producers Association

Western United Dairymen


Wisconsin Dairy Business Association

 Wisconsin Farm Bureau


Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation