CERCLA Exempt Reports are not required, except...

February 2, 2009 06:00 PM

EPA has ruled that requiring dairies to report air emissions under CERCLA are unnecessary and burdensome.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided that dairy and livestock farms will not have to report air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The one catch: Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) with 1,000 animal units or more must still report air emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

CERCLA gives the federal government authority to monitor, regulate and respond to releases of some 760 hazardous compounds, some of which include ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds. The CERCLA reports are sent to the Coast Guard National Response Center.

But in its ruling published in December, EPA said that reporting air emissions from livestock operations were unnecessary and burdensome, says Rob Byrne, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation. EPA says it has never and would never have an emergency response to such a report.

But EPA decided that large CAFOs must still report air emissions under EPCRA. Such reporting ensures that local and state emergency response authorities will know where these facilities are located, Byrne says.

EPA also decided CAFOs fall under "continuous release” rules, which means they only need to provide a one-time report to authorities with their operation's normal range of emissions. No further report is required unless emissions occur that are "above the upper bound of the reported normal range,” Byrne says.

Dairy operations participating in EPA's Air Consent Agreement do not need to submit reports until after the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study is completed. The final rule went into effect on Jan. 20, 2009.

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