The National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and United Egg Producers praised a breakthrough bi-partisan bill introduced on Feb. 13 by 20 senators to correct a pending federal court requirement that nearly a quarter of a million farmers must calculate and report to federal emergency response authorities the natural emission of ammonia from poultry and livestock manure.
“This is significant breakthrough legislation restoring CERCLA reporting to its intended purpose, a united legislative effort that has been nearly 15 years in the making, and we appreciate their swift action on behalf of America’s turkey, chicken and egg farmers,” said the poultry organizations in a joint statement. “Marking a bi-partisan level of cooperation, the bill demonstrates strong support from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to clarify Congress’ intent.”
Introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), the FARM Act, “The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act,” restores the on-farm exemption for emissions from manure. The poultry groups noted that the 2017 Federal Appeals Court ruling had disrupted a nearly 10-year understanding that these are not the type of releases that Congress intended to be reported and needing an emergency response under CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act).
Senators have been quick to respond in the face of a May 1 federal court deadline that would trigger the massive reporting mandate on farmers, requiring compliance in as little as 24 hours after the final court order is issued.
The poultry groups are also hopeful a companion version of the FARM Act will be introduced soon for timely consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.