Just when you begin thinking that Washington might have forgotten about putting a lid on animal odors, reality arrives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing its Animal Feeding Operations Consent Agreement in the Federal Register
. With it will be more details on how this order will be implemented, says Virginia Ishler, Penn State Extension dairy specialist and Bob Graves, Penn State ag engineer.
Federal court decisions have determined that existing air regulations apply to animal feeding operations (AFOs). But there still are many unknowns including what size of livestock farm that might be impacted and where and how emissions will be measured.
The Federal Register submission, copies of the agreement and a brief fact sheet can be found at www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks3.html
Details in brief
- Air pollutants of concern are ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and related particulate matter and volatile organic compounds.
- Emissions from field application of manure arenâ€™t included in this agreement.
- For dairies and beef operations, heifers, calves and dry cows are also included.
- The swine and egg layer commodity organizations are actively participating in this project and will be aiding their producers in navigating through this confusing issue. There does not appear to be any similar activity among dairy related producer groups at this time.
- AFOs that choose to participate in the Air Compliance Agreement and meet all of its conditions will receive from EPA limited release and covenant not to sue from liability for certain past and on-going Clean Air Act violations.
Interested in participating?
Producers interested in participating will have 90 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register to sign-up. This process is completely voluntary. AFOs that choose to participate will agree to pay a civil penalty based on the AFO size.
Dairy AFOs that arenâ€™t concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) will pay a fee of $200; Most CAFOs will pay $500. In addition, participating AFOs will be responsible for paying up to $2,500 per farm into a fund to conduct a nationwide emissions monitoring study. This study will be conducted over a two-year period beginning this year.
Then EPA will publish the emissions data for the eligible animal groups. This will trigger participating AFOs to comply with all applicable Clean Air Act requirements. And, the emission-estimating methodologies would apply to all AFOs.