The National Pork Producers Council filed a motion to join a court fight over the EPA air consent agreements after environmental groups challenged the agreements.
The Association of Irritated Residents, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups filed a suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the agreements.
The consent agreements protect animal feeding operations from EPA enforcement actions for past air emissions violations, as well as for violations that might occur while the agency conducts a monitoring study of emissions from farms. NPPC helped negotiate the agreements, which were signed by 2,700 livestock producers and cover more than 4,900 swine operations.
The EPA earlier this year approved 20 agreements - 10 from the swine industry and 10 from the egg industry. Key to the agreements is the EPA-approved monitoring and research study conducted by independent researchers and supported by pork checkoff funds through the National Pork Board. The study is expected to begin later this year and will provide EPA with a body of air emissions science and data that can be used to develop a sound, reasonable and effective air emissions regulatory program.
"The air consent agreements will allow EPA to use sound science to formulate practical policies that work for pork producers of all sizes and types," says NPPC President Joy Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb. "The negotiations that took place between producers and EPA on the agreements is how the public and private sectors should work to resolve problems. So, we believe we will prevail before the Court of Appeals."