EPA Final Rule Excluding CAFOs from Emissions Reporting

August 16, 2018

U.S. EPA followed through on its commitment to issue a rulemaking clarifying that CAFOs need not report their emissions of ammonia and other substances under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) statutes.

UEP has been working to resolve CERCLA-EPCRA reporting matters for more than 15 years. The latest chapter began in April 2017 when the federal D.C. Circuit Court struck down the 2008 CERCLA-EPCRA rule relating to CAFO reporting.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 1.

This rule was made possible by efforts initiated by the Bush EPA, supported by the Obama EPA and expanded by the Trump EPA, all of which recognized that CAFO reporting under CERCLA and EPCRA made little public policy sense.  A statutory solution became necessary after the Circuit Court’s decision. UEP worked with other animal agriculture groups to secure passage of the bipartisan Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act in March 2018. The Farm Act excluded CAFOs from CERCLA reporting, and this spring EPA lawyers reached the conclusion that statutorily this had the effect of excluding CAFOs from EPCRA reporting as well.   EPA issued guidance this spring to that effect, noting that a rulemaking would ultimately be needed to implement the FARM Act.  The final rule, issued on August 1, is the product of that commitment.