October 07, 2011

Crapo Fights for Farmers and Ranchers

Supports legislation to curb increased federal regulations

Washington, D.C. - Farmers and ranchers across the United States continue to face regulatory uncertainty, stemming from potential rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In response, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works with oversight of the EPA, is taking proactive steps to lessen federal regulations on Idaho's food producers.  Crapo is a lead proponent of two bills that will provide much-needed support to Idaho's agricultural industry: the Superfund Common-Sense Act of 2011 and the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act.  

The EPA is weighing options for reinstating a rule that would require large livestock operations to report emissions of manure and poultry litter under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund).  The Superfund Common-Sense Act amends CERCLA to clarify that the EPA shall not manage manure as a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

The EPA is also reviewing standards pursuant to the Clean Air Act concerning the regulation of so-called farm dust from farming and ranching operations.  In rural, agriculture-based states like Idaho, agricultural activities and the unpaved roads that support them can result in naturally occurring, non-hazardous dust.  The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act would prevent the EPA from regulating these farm dusts in rural areas, while maintaining the law's current protections to public health. 

"Efforts for a clean and healthy environment must be balanced with common sense," said Crapo.  "The agriculture industry has been under immense financial and regulatory pressure in recent years, and these bills represent proactive steps to keep our farmers and ranchers on the land, as they have been doing for generations."   

The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act was introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) on September 8, 2011, and currently has 25 bipartisan cosponsors.  The Superfund Common-Sense Act will soon be introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) with Crapo as an original cosponsor.  The senators expect more support for their bill in the coming days.  Both bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.