Air pollution surveys at US animal feeding operations

24-08-2006 | |

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin a nationwide survey this winter on air pollutants from US livestock feeding operations to ensure they comply with clean air laws.

This will consist of certain animal feeding operations voluntarily taking part in a nationwide monitoring study to evaluate their air emissions.

Within 18 months following the monitoring study’s conclusion, the EPA will evaluate all data and publish emission-estimating methods. These methods will allow feeding operations to estimate their emissions and comply with applicable federal regulatory requirements as appropriate.

“This approach will achieve compliance with environmental laws much faster than any other enforcement mechanism,” the agency said. Environmental groups have said the actual result will be to delay enforcement of air pollution rules on factory farms.

As an incentive for operations to participate, the EPA agreed not to bring certain enforcement actions against participating operations during the course of the monitoring survey.

Once the agency publishes it emissions-estimating methodology, feeding operations that committed violations would have to pay penalties from US$200 to US$100,000 based the number of animals they maintain, and then assure compliance with relevant federal clean air rules.

The EPA began to realise in the late 1990s that it didn’t have sufficient air emissions data to determine potential regulatory requirements for animal feeding operations under the Clean Air Act (CAA), so to resolve the situation it began discussions with owners in 2001.

More about