D.C., March 8, 2007 – U.S. cattle producers are applauding the introduction of legislation supported by 66 members of Congress, to clarify that livestock manure is not a hazardous substance under Superfund laws.
In recent years, opponents of animal agriculture have suggested Superfund laws should be applied to manure from animal feeding, farming and ranching operations. (Superfund is the common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, CERCLA of 1980, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, EPCRA of 1986.)
Eight Senators and 58 House leaders from both political parties are now saying that Congress never intended for America's farms and ranches to be slapped with liabilities and penalties under the Superfund law.
“Superfund is about toxic waste sites and chemical spills, not livestock manure on farms and ranches,” says NCBA Director of Legislative Affairs Stacey Katseanes. “The Superfund laws were created in the 1980s to provide for cleanup of toxic waste dumps and hazardous chemical spills, to force reporting of releases of hazardous chemicals and to enable emergency response.”
Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Representatives Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Ralph Hall (R-Texas) are leading co-sponsors of the Senate and House bills, respectively, being introduced. These proposals will clarify that livestock manure is not classified as a hazardous waste under Superfund laws.
“It's also important to note that manure management on U.S. farms and ranches is already heavily regulated under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and countless state laws,” says Katseanes.
In the 109th Congress, 228 members of Congress signed on to House and Senate bills to exempt livestock manure from Superfund. But the bills didn't see passage before the Congressional session ended in December.
“We're grateful to all the members of Congress who are working to protect our farmers and ranchers from misuse of Superfund laws,” says John Queen, NCBA President and a cattle producer from North Carolina. “America's cattlemen work every day to protect the land, water and air. I can't imagine Congress would ever intend for our nation's ranch lands to be treated as Superfund sites.”