Agricultural Emissions Reporting

The Situation

Following an April 2017 decision by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a lawsuit filed by activist groups, pork producers and over 200,000 other livestock farmers across the country will be subject to the Superfund law and required to report “guestimates” of air emissions from their farms to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center, as well as local and state emergency responders under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Because their systems are designed to handle emergencies – and the existence of livestock farms does not constitute an emergency – these authorities view these reports as an unnecessary and dangerous resource drain that interferes with their legitimate emergency response functions.

Further complicating the situation is that livestock farmers have no way to accurately estimate emissions. NPPC has long advocated for the Environmental Protection Agency to complete its review of data from the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study and to complete its development of Air Emissions Estimating Methodologies. The lack of such methodologies leaves livestock farmers without scientifically valid data to estimate emissions.

Nevertheless, producers who fail to make the reports —or make inaccurate reports —will be subject to lawsuits by activist groups, federal enforcement actions and subjected to tens of thousandsof dollars in fines and penalties.

NPPC's Position

  • NPPC supports proposed, bipartisan Senate and House legislation – the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, S. 2421, and the Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions Act (ACRE), H.R. 5275 – that would exempt U.S. pork producers and other livestock farmers from reporting emissions generated from routine handling of manure
  • NPPC also supports regulatory efforts at the U.S. EPA to characterize the collection and use of manure on livestock farms as a routine agricultural operation

Additional Resources