Hoeven Urges EPA to Permanently Address Livestock Emissions Regulations

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven recently urged Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to find a permanent solution to the agency’s livestock emissions regulations after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA’s request to delay the implementation of the rules.

“Requiring farmers and ranchers to accurately measure emissions from animal waste in an open pasture setting is unreasonable and unworkable,” Hoeven said. “Producers will face tremendous uncertainty as they attempt to comply with these mandates, meaning higher costs for them and consumers. While the court’s decision to grant a delay is a positive step, the EPA needs to permanently resolve this issue and protect our farmers and ranchers from these burdensome regulations.”

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Response and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the release of hazardous substances into the air over certain thresholds must meet reporting requirements. Until recently, EPA had provided exemptions to these rules for agriculture producers, except for confined animal feeding operations, as there is no accepted method for accurately measuring the release of substances like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from animal waste in a pasture. Imposing the regulations on farmers and ranchers would create uncertainty and increase costs.

The courts ruled last year that the agency did not have the authority to grant the exemption and agriculture producers must begin reporting emissions. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the EPA’s request to delay emission reporting regulations for livestock producers until at least May 1, 2018.

Hoeven’s letter to Pruitt presses the agency to find a permanent fix, either through the regulatory process or by working with Congress to pass legislation, to prevent these regulations from negatively impacting the nation’s agriculture producers. The full text of Hoeven’s letter can be found here.