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Federal Appellate Court Reverses US EPA Air Pollution Rule for Farmers

Environmentalists claimed a victory on Tuesday as an appeals court unanimously reversed a Bush-era farm pollution rule. In a 3-0 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority through rewriting the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – aka Superfund — and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 2008 by exempting animal feeding operations from air pollution reporting requirements.

“We have no doubt that a desire for efficiency motivated some of the exceptions Congress provided, but those concerns don’t give the agency carte blanche to ignore the statute whenever it decides the reporting requirements aren’t worth the trouble,” said Judge Stephen Williams, in a scathing opinion.

Farmers are now faced with new requirements to monitor and report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from animal waste.

The 21-page opinion rendered in the case of Waterkeeper Alliance v. Environmental Protection Agency can be found here.