Unless new legislation passes, farmers and ranchers who spread manure on their operations could potentially be considered significant polluters under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, also known and CERCLA or Superfund regulations. That means some heavy fines and penalties could be headed their way.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is pulling out the stops to get their members and others to contact national politicians who have not pledged to vote for legislation that would exclude manure applications in the CERCLA legislation. The bills supported by NCBA along this line are S.3681 in the Senate and H.R. 4341 in the House of Representatives.
NCBA has set up a web site to help individuals determine where U.S. senators stand on the issue, located at http://capwiz.com/beefusa.
NCBA reports that by Thanksgiving Day, 36 senators had signed onto S.3681 and 190 Representatives had signed onto H.R. 4341. In the Senate 32 Republican senators and only four Democrat senators had signed on to support the legislation. Some of those supporting the legislation, like Rick Santorum (R-Pa) and George Allen (R-Va) lost their bids for reelection in the November election, so if the legislation isn't passed quickly, before the 109th Congress goes out, some support could be lost.
In the Carolinas and Virginias there are a number of representatives and senators that so far have not signed on. In Virginia, John Warner (R-Va) has not signed on at this time. In South Carolina, neither Lindsey Graham (R-SC) nor Sen. James DeMint (R-SC) are listed by NCBA as having signed onto supporting S.3681. In West Virginia neither Robert Byrd (D-WV) nor Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) have signed on to support the legislation.