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NMPF Endorses House Bill Clarifying Regulation of Nutrient Management Practices

February 6, 2017

NMPF is supporting new bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that would exempt dairy farms and other livestock producers from being subject to the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which governs the safe disposal of solid waste.

The RCRA measure was enacted more than 40 years ago to regulate solid wastes in landfills, but more recently, the regulation has been used inappropriately to target agricultural sources of farm nutrients, particularly dairy farms in the Northwest – even when producers have demonstrated they are following approved plans for the proper use of manure.

Last week, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the Farm Regulatory Certainty Act (H.R. 848), which clarifies the that RCRA law was never intended to regulate agricultural operations such as dairy farms. It would also protect farmers from citizen suits if they are undergoing efforts to comply with federal requirements.  Newhouse was joined by 29 other House members in co-sponsoring the bill, and NMPF is working with him to develop broader support for the measure in Congress. An identical measure is expected to be introduced in the Senate in the next few weeks.

"Dairy farmers need certainty regarding the application of environmental policies and regulations to their operations," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.  "RCRA was not intended to govern farms, and we are working with Congress on advancing this legislation to make that point crystal clear to state and federal regulators."

Mulhern noted that NMPF supports the use of safe and efficient environmental practices – such as anaerobic digesters and nutrient recovery – to help dairy operations remain stewards of a healthy ecosystem.