Following a Request from Carper and Coons, Delaware Farmers Receive Additional Time and Information to Meet New Reporting Requirements

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) scored a win for farmers today as the DC Circuit Court of Appeals approved a motion to delay the deadline for reporting air emissions for poultry and other livestock farmers to May 1, 2018.

As the senators noted in a letter requesting the delay, guidance from the EPA to farmers was not only slow to be provided, but it was “confusing and unhelpful.” After hearing from constituents on this matter, the senators successfully urged EPA to request a delay from the court so the agency has more time to provide farmers with the tools and information they need to fully understand their obligation and avoid legal liability for untimely or inaccurate reporting. As part of its filing with the Court, EPA included an earlier bipartisan letter led by Senators Carper and Coons advocating on behalf of farmers and raising concerns about EPA’s proposed guidance.

“This EPA says that it is interested in creating regulatory and economic certainty for the entities it regulates. Unfortunately, the agency has been slow to roll out guidance on these new reporting requirements for livestock farmers, and the guidance that has been distributed has been unclear and confusing,” said Senator Carper. “I am pleased that the Court has sided with us today and given EPA more time to get this right. Now, I urge the agency to provide clear information in a timely manner so that our hardworking farmers understand their obligations.”

“This extension is good news for our poultry farmers in Delaware and across the country,” said Senator Coons. “This much-needed additional time will allow EPA to provide better guidance to farmers and allow us here in Congress to provide more certainty around this issue.”

The April 2017 decision in Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA voided EPA’s 2008 rule that limited the number of animal agriculture operations needing to report their air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Under the Court’s decision, the reporting requirements were set to begin Jan. 22, 2018. At the Senators’ urging, the EPA agreed to request a delay from the court, and today, an extension to the reporting deadline was approved to May 1, 2018.

Updates regarding EPA’s recent actions on the issue can be found here.