Overview

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) are laws enforced by EPA that require entities releasing hazardous substances to notify the federal government. When the laws were first passed, EPA did not believe that the release of low levels of ammonia from animal agriculture was included in the intent of the laws. However, a lawsuit was filed by several environmental groups saying animal agriculture should not be excluded from CERCLA, and in April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of those groups.
In March 2018, Congress acted to restore the longstanding exemption for farmers under CERCLA, and the president signed the bill that included the exemption. As a result, growers do not need to make any reports under CERCLA. Additionally, air emissions from animal waste do not need to be reported under EPCRA, according to EPA.

 

Updated: May 2, 2018