May31

Farmers Must Calculate Ammonia and Hydrogen Sulfide-Report to EPA

In the NAEF Egg Farmers Newsletter sent out Memorial Day (May 29) we reminded all members that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has thrown out a 2008 final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempting farms from reporting ammonia and hydrogen sulfide when above 100 pounds.

 

All members have been provided a spreadsheet from the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University that will help you determine your emissions based on your housing style.  In the Memorial Day release of the newsletter, we provided you the phone number of the National Response Center (NRC). Today is the final day to report to the NRC what the spreadsheet has calculated as to your emissions.

 

Why is this happening now?  During rulemaking, the EPA proposed exempting farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting air releases from animal waste.  “CERCLA” stands for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and “EPCRA” for the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

 

The EPA reasoned that requiring reports for animal waste air releases was “unnecessary” because a federal response would usually be “impractical and unlikely.”  They noted that, as of 2007, they had never taken a response action based on animal waste.  During public comment, the EPA expressly requested comments on whether there could be a situation where a response would be triggered due to air release from animal waste on a farm.

In 2008, the EPA finalized the rule.  Soon after the rule was published, the lawsuits started rolling in.  Environmental groups, led by Waterkeeper Alliance, argued that CERCLA and EPCRA do not allow the EPA to exempt anyone from reporting requirements if there are releases over the statutory reportable quantity.  Further, the environmental groups claim that the rule is arbitrary in treating waste on farms differently than similar waste in other places, such as at a zoo or a slaughterhouse, which would not be exempted from reporting.  

 

So now, under CERCLA and EPCRA farmers must notify the National Response Center (NRC) when amounts of certain hazardous materials over a set quantity of 100 pounds are released into the environment. Below is the telephone number.  NAEF called the NRC on May 25th and spoke to the Watch Commander (this is part of the U.S. Coast Guard). The NRC will provide a report number that is then submitted to the EPA in which you have 30 days to submit.

 

Telephone NRC: 1-800-424-8802

1) Identify your report as "Continuous Release"

2) Provide the name and location of the facility

3) Identify the hazardous substance (ammonia and hydrogen sulfide)

4) Give your name and telephone number

5) Within 30 days a written report is required to be filed

(a) EPA Regional Office (https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/visiting-regional-office&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767128000&usg=AFQjCNHFjPm24kJy3SCWtbmQkL5ZKUJTGQ">https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/visiting-regional-office)

(b) State Emergency Response Commission (https://www.epa.gov/epcra/state-emergency-response-commissions-contacts&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHJ2iPQt8_46CBQf5xOM7GScOojMw">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/state-emergency-response-commissions-contacts

(c) Local Emergency Planning Committee (https://www.epa.gov/epcra/local-emergency-planning-committees&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNGXBbyda7WtGdRhRO9KnZQpSsTXhw">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/local-emergency-planning-committees)

 

For help in reporting see the following websites (the first one is an updated link for egg farmers to calculate the emissions based on your particular housing for hens and pullets. The other two are from EPA):

 

http://www.eggindustrycenter.org/about-us/news/eic-assists-in-creation-of-emissions-estimator-for-egg-industry/&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHduPPNu4LRrJMlOSXvuHfppO3CTw">http://www.eggindustrycenter.org/about-us/news/eic-assists-in-creation-of-emissions-estimator-for-egg-industry/

 

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/reporting-requirements-continuous-releases-hazardous-substances-guide-facilities-compliance&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNGSqsAJWHKSceECamJkXCKxMHWHpA">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/reporting-requirements-continuous-releases-hazardous-substances-guide-facilities-compliance

 

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-continuous-release-reporting%23continuous&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHlHGoNdvQVtacdEYhprYczrLVwPA">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-continuous-release-reporting#continuous release reporting

May18

Egg Farmer Wins CO Lawsuit Against Animal Activists

Egg Farmer Wins CO Lawsuit Against Animal Activists

In its May 22, 2017 Egg Farmers Newsletter, NAEF brought to the attention of the egg industry, poultry press, and some in Washington, DC of a legal case in Colorado that could become precedent setting against farmers by animal activists.  The information came from Linda Chezem, a Professor Emerita at Purdue, who started an Animal Production & Law summer course many years ago for those in law school who wanted to learn about animal agriculture case law. This course is now located at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is transitioning to an on-line class. The current lead instructor is Anthony Schutz.  

Upon receiving permission by Ms. Chezem, NAEF is publishing the facts of this case in the NAEF website to show the extreme lengths animal activists will go to end animal agriculture.
 
An egg farmer who produces organic, free-range eggs, applied to the Delta County Commissions in Colorado for a land use change permit in July 2012.  A lawsuit was filed from some neighbors claiming the farm was not agricultural, but really a "factor farm". This is additional proof that animal activists seek to end animal agriculture altogether as free-range egg production is not "factory farming".
 
The Colorado 7th Judicial District ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the Colorado Court of Appeals overruled the verdict against the farmer and Delta County Commissioners.  A subsequent lawsuit was filed alleging civil trespass (the plaintiffs claim that dust from the farm was injurious to their health) and is scheduled for a hearing in May 2017.
 
On May 31st the court returned a verdict for the defendant on all counts in the case of Western Slope Layers, LLC owned by Edwin and Eileen Hostetler in Delta County, Colorado. The cause number for the case is 2014-CV-30062. This case is an example of the damage done by activists who prey on families and small communities.
 
According to Delta County Farm Bureau, one of the plaintiffs has stated she doubts she'll win the case in court, so she's trying to bankrupt the farmer.  $750,000 in legal fees have accrued.
 
Delta Country Farm Bureau, 322 West 51st Street, Delta, CO  81416 is helping collect donations to support the farmer and have asked the case be made known to others.  This is just another reminder that there is no compromise with animal activists.
Apr12

Klippen Defends Caged Layers Before House Committee

Klippen Defends Caged Layers Before House Committee

On April 6th, Ken Klippen testified before the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in Providence, Rhode Island against H6023 mandating cage-free by 2022.  Klippen joined the sole egg farmer in the State (name withheld due to confidentiality agreement) who has struggled with these efforts by animal activists for the past several years.  See website for Klippen's testimony.

 

https://www.ecori.org/government/2017/4/13/one-farm-stands-in-way-of-ban-on-battery-cages

 

The egg farmer explained the bill, if passed, would put him out of business. He also noted that cage-free eggs were not selling well, effectively squelching one activist’s survey claiming consumer preference for cage-free eggs. Dianne Sullivan from Massachusetts also testified in opposition. Readers of this newsletter recall Sullivan worked with a coalition of farm groups in Massachusetts including NAEF in trying to overturn that State’s ballot initiative last November. Sullivan cited the impact of her State, Massachusetts, on those impoverished consumers from the prices of eggs escalating as a result of a cage-free mandate. She also unleashed a barrage of verbal attacks against HSUS for their misleading donation solicitation tactics and the millions of dollars they are hoarding in offshore pension accounts for the HSUS staff instead of supporting local pet shelters with the donations as the ads infer.

 

The hearing lasted about 4 hours, starting at 4:40 pm and had a packed room of animal activists and just a few of us opposing. The HSUS and ASPCA were present in force and willing to testify enthusiastically in support, but only using their "feelings" about caged layers.  One tried to use her experience of flying to Japan in the middle seat on an airplane and equated that with chickens in cages.  The egg farmer is proactive and has invited legislators to his farm. One legislator spoke out favorably about what he saw occurring on the farm. The State Veterinarian Scott Marshall also spoke out in opposition to the bill saying that it would not improve the welfare of the chicken. The HSUS did cite "research saying cage free will only increase the price by a few cents per egg."  Klippen refuted those claims by presenting data from California's experience and their price differential for the entire 2016 at 90% higher prices than the rest of the country after California’s 116 square inch per chicken law went into effect.  HSUS spoke of offering the egg farmer a financial grant of $90,000 to help him transition to cage-free.  Some of the House Members were encouraged by this offer.  Klippen told the committee (and HSUS) that $90,000 would help transition only 2,200 chickens whereas the egg farmer in the State would need $1.6 million for his current flock since the average cost to transition is $40 per bird.  HSUS cited food safety concerns associated with large scale egg farmers (in reference to the 2010 egg recall).  Klippen refuted that claim by citing the Penn State research released in September 2016 where they tested more than 6,000 eggs from 200 different selling points and concluded that backyard chickens were more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella.  In the end, some House Members announced they still prefer cage-free.  Klippen asked that many food companies are planning to transition to cage-free, so why is the legislation necessary?  He objected to removing consumer choice by mandating one style of production system. Klippen added that California had the voters decide on their ballot initiative (Prop 2 in 2008), but in Rhode Island, if consumers asked why egg prices were increasing (assuming the bill passed), he would remind them their legislators voted in this cage-free mandate.

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