Today the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy heard testimony from U.S. Rep. Billy Long on his Superfund Common Sense Act that addresses Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and regulations.
The Superfund Common Sense Act (H.R. 2997) would exempt livestock operations from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The bill would also exempt livestock operations from Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) reporting requirements. The CERCLA law created the Superfund as a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provides broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances which may threaten public health or the environment.
"The EPA continues to illustrate its lack of common sense as it hurries to enact more overzealous regulation that ends up crippling job creators in Southwest Missouri and across our country," Long said. "My legislation would stop the EPA from classifying livestock waste as a hazardous substance."
Long believes it does not make any sense to lump tens of thousands of farms and livestock producers under the same severe liability provisions that apply to the nearly 1,300 federal Superfund toxic waste sites. CERCLA should be used to deal with real toxic waste such as we faced at Times Beach in Missouri and Love Canal in New York, not livestock waste.
Livestock producers face increasing regulatory uncertainty, much of it stemming from potential or proposed EPA rules. Our nation's livestock producers and our agricultural industry as a whole cannot afford to comply with unnecessary regulations. The CERCLA law was never meant to regulate livestock manure as a hazardous substance. This bill clarifies the reporting requirements under CERCLA and EPCRA.
As organic producers are on the rise in Southwest Missouri and across the United States, farmers are relying on organic fertilizers more than ever for farming operations. Since enforcement of the Superfund Law uses a severe liability system, a farmer who applies manure to their field could be held liable for millions of dollars in damages.