Last week, the National Pork Producers Council, along with the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation, filed a motion to side with the United States Environmental Protection Agency against a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice. Earthjustice filed the suit against EPA on behalf of a broad coalition of animal rights and environmental groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and Waterkeeper Alliance, to force producers to submit onerous emissions reports to state and local regulators under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
In December 2008, EPA issued a rule exempting all farms from having to report releases of hazardous substances emitted to the air from animal waste at farms under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, but requiring the reports to be made under EPCRA. Both NPPC and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association challenged that rule in court. Nearly a decade later, the D.C. Circuit, ruling on behalf of the animal rights' groups, invalidated the 2008 rule in a 2017 decision, which prompted a diverse and bipartisan majority of Congress to pass The FARM ACT, which made clear that farms did not have to report emissions under CERCLA.
Following passage of the FARM Act, EPA issued regulations in 2018 exempting farms from reporting under EPCRA. Tuesday's legal action comes as the industry still awaits EPA's publication of long-overdue emission estimating methodologies, required under consent decrees signed in 2006 to help producers comply with air emission reporting and permitting requirements.
A copy of the motion is here.