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Bi-partisan effort to remove livestock manure from Superfund

by 5m Editor
19 March 2007, at 11:32am

US - Back in 1980 Congress passed the “Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act” to address the growing concerns about the need to clean up uncontrolled, abandoned hazardous waste sites and to address future releases of hazardous substances into the environment.

Lately some environmentalists have been demanding, with some support from isolated judicial cases, that livestock manure should be classified as a hazardous waste and thus come under the Superfund Law. To counteract this move, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation on March 8 that would clarify the Superfund Law that has unintentionally impacted America's farmers and ranchers.

The bipartisan “Agricultural Protection and Prosperity Act of 2007” would clarify that livestock manure is not classified as a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant under CERCLA. Those introducing the legislation contend that if normal animal manure is found to be a hazardous substance under the Superfund Law, then virtually every farm operation in the country could be potentially exposed to liabilities and penalties under the Super-fund Law, and this is an outcome that Congress never intended.

During a telephone news conference, three of the co-sponsors of the Agri-cultural Protection and Prosperity Act of 2007 issued opening statements indicating the importance of getting this legislation on the books.

But getting urban Senators and Represen-tatives to agree to this exemption legislation may prove to be difficult, according to Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-Minn.) who is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and one of the sponsors of this legislation.

In addition, he fears without clarification of CERCLA, some aspects of the renewable energy efforts could be derailed.

“This is a tough issue and a tough one to explain to those people who don't live out in the country and not affiliated with farming,” Peterson noted. “It's not going to be easy, but we have a lot of folks working on this and will do whatever we can to make it happen. "

Source: Livestock Roundup