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


Date Sent
September 7, 2017
Multi-Industry Coalition
U.S. House of Representatives
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).


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