Hoeven: Funding Bill Protects Farmers and Ranchers from EPA Emissions Rule

Senator Helped Introduce Legislation Included in Funding Bill to Exempt Ag Producers from Onerous Reporting Requirements for Livestock Waste

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations bill includes the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, legislation he helped introduce that would protect farmers and ranchers from being required to measure methane emissions from livestock in pastures. Hoeven cosponsored the bipartisan FARM Act last month and its inclusion in the funding bill means that agriculture producers will be permanently exempt from burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reporting requirements for animal waste emissions.

“Compelling farmers and ranchers to keep tabs on emissions for animal waste is unworkable and undermines their ability to run their operations,” Hoeven said. “Including the FARM Act in the FY 2018 appropriations bill gives our ag producers greater certainty and protects our farmers and ranchers from these costly regulations.”

Hoeven cosponsored Senator Deb Fischer’s (R-Neb.) FARM Act to exempt farmers and ranchers from requirements to measure emissions from animal waste. The legislation followed a letter Hoeven sent to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging him to find a permanent solution to the agency’s emissions regulations and provide certainty for agriculture producers.

Current law requires reporting when hazardous substances above certain thresholds are released into the air. The requirements were not intended to apply to animal agriculture and, until recently, the EPA had provided agriculture producers with reporting requirement exemptions, except for confined feeding operators. 

Last year, the courts ruled that the EPA did not have the authority to grant these exemptions and that agriculture producers needed to begin reporting emissions. There is no accepted method for accurately measuring emissions from animal waste in a pasture and subsequent court rulings have allowed the EPA to delay implementation of reporting requirements which would create uncertainty and increases costs.