The Environmental Protection Agency Friday approved consent agreements protecting animal feeding operations from EPA enforcement actions for past air emissions violations, as well as for violations that might occur over the next four years.
EPA's Environmental Appeals Board Jan. 27 approved 20 agreements â€“ 10 from the swine industry and 10 from the egg industry. That action paves the way for EPA to approve consent agreements signed by 2,700 producers, representing approximately 13,000 operations, including 4,900 swine operations. EPA began discussions with producers in 2001 on bringing animal feeding operations into compliance with various environmental regulations.
During next four years, EPA will work with the livestock industry to conduct a two-year air emissions monitoring study of animal feeding operations. EPA will use data it gathers to develop emission estimates for farms that can be applied nationwide. EPA also may develop new compliance standards, guidelines and enforcement policies.
The study is expected to begin later this year and will provide EPA with a much stronger and more complete body of air emissions science and data that can be used to develop a sound, reasonable and effective air emissions regulatory program.
"Approval of these consent agreements is a critical step that advances our longstanding efforts to get EPA to use sound science to develop practical policies that work for pork producers of all sizes and types," says Randy Spronk, chairman of the National Pork Producers Council's environmental policy committee and a hog farmer from Edgerton, Minn. "We look forward to getting into the study phase of this effort and will do everything we can to make that a success."