Minnesota’s poultry farmers praise bi-partisan bill on CERCLA exemptions

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The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM) praised a breakthrough bi-partisan bill introduced Feb. 13 by 13 senators – including Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) – to correct a pending federal court requirement that nearly a quarter of a million farmers must calculate and report the natural emission of ammonia from poultry and livestock manure.

This legislation is of major significance as it seeks to restore the CERCLA emergency notification reporting to its intended purpose.

The FARM Act, “The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act,” restores the on-farm exemption for reporting low-level livestock emissions. MTGA and CEAM noted that the 2017 Federal Appeals Court ruling had disrupted a nearly 10-year understanding that these are not the type of releases that Congress intended to be tracked under CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act).

With the bi-partisan level of cooperation, the bill demonstrates strong support from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to clarify Congress’ intent.

“On behalf of turkey and chicken farmers in Minnesota, we greatly appreciate Senator Klobuchar and Smith for their leadership on the FARM Act,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of MTGA and CEAM. “This bill will ease the burden of Minnesota turkey and chicken farmers from having to report naturally-occurring low level air emissions with minimal environmental impact.”

In addition to co-sponsors Sens. Klobuchar and Smith, the bill was also introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Senators have been quick to respond in the face of an upcoming May 1 federal court deadline that would trigger the massive reporting mandate on farmers, a mandate that might require compliance in as little as 24 hours after the final court order is issued.

MTGA and CEAM are hopeful a companion version of the FARM Act will be introduced soon for timely consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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