WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today participated in a hearing to examine the impact of federal environmental regulations and policies on American farming and ranching communities. Wicker’s line of questioning focused primarily on burdens imposed on farmers by laws meant to address large-scale industrial pollution and to help communities plan for chemical emergencies.
In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency exempted all animal feeding operations and small farm operations from emissions reporting, recognizing that congressional intent was not to regulate low-level emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from livestock.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down this exemption last year. As a result, all livestock and poultry farmers who have knowledge of air emissions from livestock waste are required to report these emissions to state and local authorities, creating uncertainty and unnecessary regulatory burdens. There is a stay on the decision, giving the EPA until May 1, 2018, to develop further guidance.
Wicker announced his intention to support legislation – expected to be introduced this week – to exempt all animal feeding operations and small farm operations from these reporting requirements.
Witnesses at today’s hearing included:
- Mr. Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau
- Mr. Niels Hansen, Secretary/Treasurer, Public Lands Council
- Dr. Howard Hill, President, National Pork Producers Council
- Michael Scuse, Secretary of Agriculture, State of Delaware
- Donn Teske, Vice President, National Farmers Union