Agree to House language restricting the implementation of any rule requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems in place on livestock farms. This was the message sent by the American Sheep Industry Association, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.
Under current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, livestock producers who emit more than the equivalent of 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide are required to calculate and report the level of those emissions. This requirement treats farms in a manner identical to coal-fired power plants and petroleum refineries. It imposes an onerous requirement on livestock producers to ascertain emissions from diffuse sources.
While studies are currently underway around the country to better comprehend the level of emissions from livestock operations, the data from those studies has not yet been formulated, and as such, producers will be placed in the position of reporting emission levels with little ability to ascertain their accuracy.
In addition, by requiring the installation and operation of costly, specialized monitoring equipment on those farms that have made the significant investment to cap their manure lagoons and install anaerobic digesters, EPA's regulations act as a perverse disincentive to the ongoing efforts of the agriculture sector to help develop vital sources of renewable energy.
The language in the House-passed bill corrects both of these problems by allowing producers to continue to work toward the full understanding of their climate impact without suffering the burden of reporting less-than-accurate emission levels while and by protecting from unfair penalties those producers who are seeking to develop renewable energy systems.