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Poultry Groups Welcome EPA Final Rule

by 5m Editor
19 December 2008, at 12:27pm

US - The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and US Poultry & Egg Association issued a joint statement welcoming the announcement from the US Environmental Protection Agency granting an exemption for poultry farms from having to report naturally occurring air releases of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide as an "emergency release" under the CERCLA and EPCRA emergency reporting framework. The exemption affects a majority of the family farmers engaged in poultry live production that operate in the United States.

“We have always felt that reporting requirements under the CERCLA and EPCRA programs were never meant to address the release of naturally occurring substances that originate from the breakdown of animal waste,” the poultry groups said. “We believe EPA heard our concerns and has come to a reasonable compromise that addresses the needs and requirements of the regulated community, emergency responders, and the public at large. We particularly appreciate the efforts of EPA to minimize the reporting burdens on thousands of family farms related to the CERCLA and EPCRA programs.”

The three groups filed a petition in August of 2005 to exempt poultry growing operations from EPCRA and CERCLA emergency reporting requirements for ammonia emissions that originate from poultry production operations. The petition for the reporting exemption was based on the fact that ammonia emissions from poultry houses pose little or no risk to the public, and emergency reporting would be an additional burden on emergency response personnel. Furthermore, farmers have no reliable means of knowing how much, if any, ammonia their farms are emitting on a daily basis.

The reporting exemption for the EPCRA program granted today applies to poultry farmers whose operations house fewer than 125,000 broilers, 55,000 turkeys or 30,000 laying hens. The EPA intends to provide guidance to assist facilities that house more than these numbers. The announcement today also provides poultry farms an exemption from filing emergency planning reports under the CERCLA reporting program regardless of the size of their operation.

“The EPA understands that most family farms across the country do not have the scientific data or financial means to measure or file these burdensome emission reports,” said Paul Bredwell, vice president of environmental programs for US Poultry & Egg Association. “The technical data to make that determination will hopefully be available after completion of the National Air Emission Monitoring Study.”

The National Air Emission Monitoring Study (NAEMS) was established by a voluntary agreement between the EPA and the pork, dairy, egg, and broiler industries to address the lack of scientific data on air emissions form livestock. This study is currently underway at 24 agricultural facilities across the United States, and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2009. The exemption granted today by EPA does not impact future regulation of poultry farms under the Clean Air Act, should the NAEMS demonstrate the need for such regulation.

The US Poultry & Egg Association, Tucker, Georgia, is the world’s largest poultry organization, whose membership includes producers of broilers, turkeys, ducks, eggs and breeding stock, as well as allied companies. USPOULTRY focuses on research and education, as well as communications to keep members of the poultry industry current on important issues.