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Air Emissions Reporting Still Not Required After Court Further Stays Mandate Until January

December 8, 2017

National Milk’s advice to dairy operators not to file air emissions reports with the National Response Center was affirmed Nov. 22 after the D.C. Court of Appeals granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) motion to further stay until January a mandate that could eventually lead to a reporting requirement.

At issue is the lengthy court battle over whether large livestock operations must report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide manure emissions under either the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) regulation, and/or the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Last April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that a 2008 reporting exemption granted by EPA was improper. EPA asked for and was granted a stay of the appeals court’s decision, but that stay ended on Nov. 14.

The stay’s expiration last month caused a great deal of confusion because many interested parties believed the expiration of the stay automatically triggered the reporting requirement. However, as NMPF repeatedly advised its members, the appeals court must first issue a mandate to EPA initiating the reporting requirement. The court did not issue its mandate to EPA and, in fact, on Nov. 22, the D.C. Court of Appeals granted EPA’s motion to further stay the mandate until Jan. 22, 2018.

NMPF is continuing to work with other animal agriculture organizations, the EPA and members of Congress to find a long-term solution which will preclude the need to file air emission reports stemming from the decomposition of manure.  In case farmers do need to report, NMPF has prepared guidance and instructions on how to report and will hold a conference call to explain the process further.