The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule providing an administrative reporting exemption for air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms.

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks, who is currently president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), said NASDA and other agricultural organizations have urged the EPA to address this issue for some time and strongly supported EPA's original proposal in 2007 to exempt farm operations from the reporting requirements.

“This announcement takes away any ambiguity or inconsistencies in previous language,” said Sparks. “The EPA has made it clear that livestock and poultry farmers do not have to report air emissions on their farms as it is not considered a hazardous substance release. This type of disposal has not been acted on by state or local officials in the past and will not be acted on in the future.”

EPA officials said the rule will enable response authorities to better focus their attention on hazardous substance releases that require a response, while reducing reporting burdens for farms.

Animal Feeding Operations will continue to keep a record of their waste disposal as required by Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

Large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) will continue to submit emergency notification reports under EPCRA. Notifications must still be made to response authorities when hazardous substances are released to the air from sources other than animal waste (e.g., ammonia tanks), and when hazardous substances are released to soil and water.

More information on the final rule is at: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/epcra/index.htm.