October 20, 2011

Senators Crapo, Blunt Introduce Bill to Prevent EPA From Imposing Costly Regulations on Farmers, Ranchers

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt introduced the "Superfund Common-Sense Act of 2011" (S. 1729) this week, which would prevent the Obama Administration from imposing another needless and burdensome regulation on America's food producers.  Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health.

The legislation would clearly exempt manure, poultry litter and their nutrient components from liability and regulation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) laws.  The bill would also eliminate any reporting requirements for livestock and poultry producers under CERCLA and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) for manure emissions.

Original co-sponsors of the bill also include Idaho Senator Jim Risch, U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).

In a letter to their colleagues earlier this month, Senators Crapo and Blunt noted, "Farmers and ranchers across the country continue to face increasing regulatory uncertainty, stemming from potential and proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

"Our nation's farmers and ranchers have long been leaders in efforts to protect the land and water of rural America.  It is time that we restore the original intent of Congress under CERCLA and EPCRA and give livestock and poultry producers the certainty they need in these difficult economic times.  We must make it clear to EPA and the courts that these producers were never intended by Congress to be liable under CERCLA and EPCRA reporting laws," the Senators concluded.

Earlier this week, farmers and ranchers experienced a small victory when the EPA, under pressure from Senators Crapo, Risch and others, announced that it was going to pull back on efforts to regulate farm dust.  The debate on Capitol Hill over farm dust regulations nearly brought the Senate to a standstill earlier this month, but the EPA recently announced that its review of current standards won't include any changes to existing limits on coarse particles.