Last month, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected an environmental challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Consent Agreements. The ruling is good news for egg producers, according to the United Egg Producers. UEP says the associated monitoring at egg laying and other species’ sites under the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study was not being held up while the decision was pending, but a negative decision from the court could have created significant disruption in that effort. The 200 laying operations involved in the air consent agreement represent about 80 percent of laying hens in the country.
The challenge to the agreement had been filed by the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), which argued that the consent agreement was really a rulemaking, and that the EPA had not followed the appropriate procedures for such a rulemaking. UEP says that AIR wanted the court to tell EPA “to go back to the drawing board,” and AIR wanted more of a say in the nature of the consent agreements.
UEP says that unfortunately, this may not be the end of challenges to the air consent agreement. Some believe that AIR could challenge the air emissions from the specific livestock or poultry operations that are participating in the consent agreement, testing the protections afforded to these operations by the agreements. UEP says that the EPA and others “are convinced that the air consent agreement will fully withstand such challenges if they do appear.”