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EPA Sets Two-Year Timeline for NAEMS Air Emission Estimating Methodologies

August 7, 2018

NMPF staff recently met with scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss the agency’s renewed effort to finish the farm-related air quality research that began more than a decade ago under the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS). The EPA said it will issue draft Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEMs) for ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and particulate matter in July 2020, and an EEM for volatile organic compounds in November 2020.

The NAEMS study was launched in 2006 to obtain modern, accurate data about the volume of manure-related emissions coming from animal agriculture operations across the nation. NMPF was one of the livestock organizations that provided input to EPA on how to develop a scientific survey that would generate useful data both for the government and dairy industry. Dairy industry funding for the research was provided in part through Dairy Management Inc. and the national dairy checkoff program.

When the NAEMS study was initiated, dairy farms were facing potential reporting obligations under three separate federal statutes: the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Despite an appellate court decision that eliminated a 2008 agriculture limitation on reporting, NMPF and several agriculture groups were successful in removing the reporting requirement under CERCLA and EPCRA, subject to additional legal challenges. The reporting obligations under the CAA are still unknown and won’t be understood until the NAEMS study is further along.

NMPF will monitor the progress and continue to share input with the EPA as it proceeds with the analysis of the data it has collected and the subsequent development of models for helping farmers assess their own air emissions.