D.C. Circuit Court Strikes Down EPA Rule that Exempted Farms from Reporting Releases of Air Pollutants (US)

On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a decision that vacated the Farm Exemption Reporting Rule, which exempted farms from the reporting requirements of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) for animal-waste-related releases of air pollutants. As a result of the holding, which goes into effect immediately, farms must now report releases of air pollutants that are emitted to the air from animal waste, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, in order to comply with CERCLA and EPCRA.

The D.C. Circuit Court found that, because the Farm Exemption Reporting Rule is inconsistent with CERCLA and EPCRA, the EPA lacked the authority to issue the Rule.  As a result, farms must now report animal-waste-related releases of air pollutants to both the federal government, to comply with CERCLA, and local and state officials, to comply with EPCRA.

Sources:

Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA, no. 09-2027 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 11, 2017), https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/2E91F70B0AF28BBE852580FF004E33FF/$file/09-1017-1670473.pdf.