EPA Withdraws Farm Database Rule

US - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have required large livestock and poultry farmers to report information about their operations and undermined court decisions related to producer obligations under the Clean Water Act
calendar icon 16 July 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

EPA’s proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule sought to have CAFOs submit to the agency operational information so it could “more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programmes on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.”

The proposed rule required all cattle operations meeting the regulatory definition of a CAFO to report a long list of information about their operations to EPA, including latitude and longitude (or street address) of the production area, acres available for land application of manure, type and number of head and contact information for the owner or authorised representative. EPA stated it would place this information on the agency’s website in an easily searchable database, where National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) feared extremists could access the information with the intent to do harm to cattle operations or the nation’s food system. Any non-compliance with the proposed rule would have been a violation of the CWA, which would have resulted in fines of up to $37,500 per day.

The NCBA's primary concern was the likelihood the proposed rule could put the nation’s food system at risk of increased terrorist attacks. NCBA President J.D. Alexander said this move by EPA is a victory for cattlemen and women and illustrates the importance of the beef cattle community working together to educate government officials.

“Early on, we called for EPA to pull this rule. It turns out they listened. This really showcases the importance of cattlemen and women becoming engaged in the regulatory process and making sure their concerns are heard,” said Mr Alexander.

“We encourage the agency to redirect its focus to working with states and other partners to attain already publicly available information that would allow them to work toward their goal of improved water quality. This can be done in a way that does not put our food system at increased risk."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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