FARM BUREAU BATTLES THREAT TO REGULATE FARMS WITH SUPERFUND LAW
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Farm Bureau Federation has issued a statement in strong support of congressional efforts to clarify that livestock farms and ranches are not meant to fall under the severe regulatory provisions of the Superfund law, also known as CERCLA.
According to AFBF President Bob Stallman, bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4341) would clarify that Superfund was never intended to apply to agriculture. That measure, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) has garnered more than 130 co-sponsors and clearly has momentum on Capitol Hill.
"Farms and ranches that raise livestock are some of the most regulated business sectors today in regard to environmental quality," Stallman said. "Numerous regulations are in place to ensure not only public safety and health, but also water and air quality. Any attempt to further regulate America's farms and ranches under the Superfund law, which was designed to clamp down on toxic industrial polluters, is a mockery of congressional intent. Such an effort is not acceptable and can not be tolerated."
Stallman said that Farm Bureau will pursue congressional clarification that Superfund regulations -- intended to clean up industrial waste sites -- "were never intended to be imposed on America's livestock farmers, or to be used as a basis for lawsuits against farmers." He said multi-million dollar penalties of the type included in Superfund were never meant to apply to America's farms.
"Asking America's farm and ranch families to undertake the type of severe liability provisions included in Superfund would present economic peril for most livestock operations," Stallman said. "And due to provisions of Superfund, livestock producers of all sizes would face certain financial peril due to requirements that are totally inappropriate for any agricultural operation."
The AFBF president explained that the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, along with extensive state environmental laws and regulations, do apply to agriculture and represent a comprehensive set of regulatory protection for all facets of environmental quality.
"Likewise, America's farm and ranch families are undertaking numerous voluntary efforts and implementing new methods to even better protect the environment, as they strive to serve and enhance the communities in which they live and work," Stallman said.