EPA ABANDONS PROPOSED CAFO REPORTING REQUIREMENT
Farmers no longer have to worry about spending a bulk of their time filing paperwork. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its attempts to require excessive reporting responsibilities July 13.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed the final action preventing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from being subject to additional reporting requirements following a wave of opposition. EPA officials noted they will continue to rely on publicly available information about CAFOs and utilize its authority to require additional reports as needed.
Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker said the decision is a victory for Alabama’s farmers.
“EPA’s decision to abandon these reporting requirements means farmers in Alabama will continue to work directly with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to ensure they remain in compliance with applicable regulations,” said Walker. “Had EPA moved forward with the reporting rule, producers in Alabama would have been forced to submit certain information directly to EPA, in addition to complying with ADEM rules.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation, along with producer groups across the country, submitted comments to EPA opposing the reporting requirement, noting EPA already had authority to request information from state agencies.
“It just did not make sense to add another layer of bureaucracy considering EPA already has the ability to request information they planned to gather from ADEM,” added Walker. “A farmer’s time is better spent caring for his animals and doing things in the field that are protective of the environment rather than filing duplicative paperwork.”
The rule was proposed following a March 15, 2011 decision in a case filed by the National Pork Producers Council against the EPA regarding litigation over EPA’s 2008 amendments for CAFOs in the Clean Water Act. In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated EPA’s requirement that CAFOs, which “propose to discharge,” apply for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The ruling determined that only facilities that actually discharge are subject to permitting requirements.
If passed, the proposal would have allowed the EPA to gather even the most basic information from CAFOs including the geographical locations of the facilities (longitude and latitude), the number of animals contained and the proximity to waterways.