Manure applicator injecting into a soybean field. National Pork Board

Bill introduced to clarify waste law doesn’t cover nutrient application

Farm Regulatory Certainty Act meant to clarify congressional intent on applying the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 to agricultural activities.

Source: National Pork Producers Council

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), this week introduced legislation to clarify congressional intent on applying the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 to agricultural activities. RCRA deals with the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste; it does not cover agriculture, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency RCRA regulations state that the statute doesn’t apply to agricultural waste, “including manure and crop residue, returned to the soil as fertilizers or soil conditioners.”

Some courts have allowed citizen lawsuits against farmers over application to cropland of manure.

The “Farm Regulatory Certainty Act,” which the National Pork Producers Council supports, would:

• reaffirm and clarify congressional intent that RCRA should not cover agricultural byproducts.

• codify EPA regulations on the treatment of agricultural byproducts under RCRA.

• prevent farmers who are engaged in legal action or making an attempt to work with the state or federal government to address nutrient management issues from being targeted by citizen suits.

Newhouse sponsored similar legislation in the last Congress.

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