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/
(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/
(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/
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):