Roberts cosponsors legislation to protect farmers and ranchers from reporting requirement

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS, on Feb. 13 co-sponsored bipartisan legislation introduced by new Committee member Deb Fischer, R-NE. The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act would exempt air emissions from animal waste from being subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act reporting requirements.

“I’ve heard from Kansas farmers and ranchers that, unless Congress acts, they will be subject to another burdensome and unnecessary reporting requirement that costs time, money, and paperwork,” Roberts said. “In fact, more than 100,000 operations across the nation would be forced to abide by this reporting requirement that was never intended to affect agriculture. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act swiftly on this legislation and to get these producers the help they need.”

Recent court action has delayed the reporting requirements from taking effect until May 1, allowing time for Congress to craft a legislative solution to protect farmers and ranchers who were never intended to be subject to this requirement.

Without congressional action, livestock and poultry farms that emit hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emissions from animal waste in excess of 100 pounds per day will be required to report these emissions under CERCLA. This threshold translates to farms with roughly 200 head of cattle or a pig farm with two swine finishing barns potentially being subject to the reporting requirement. A recent D.C. Circuit decision involving the CERCLA reporting standards has prompted this requirement that will leave many livestock and poultry producers struggling to comply.

Cosponsors of the bipartisan legislation include Sens. Deb Fischer, R-NE; John Barrasso, R-WY; Pat Roberts, R-KS; Mike Rounds, R-SD; Joe Donnelly, D-IN; Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND; Chris Coons, D-DE; and Tom Carper, D-DE.