Reporting animal waste emissions exempted for agricultural operations

Published: Apr. 3, 2018 at 6:18 PM CDT
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When President Trump took office, he promised to roll back regulations for the agriculture and energy sectors.

He did that this past Friday as a section of the $1.3 trillion Omnibus Spending Package eliminated the animal waste emission reporting rule.

In December of 2008 the EPA published a rule that exempted most farmers from reporting animal emissions.

That rule was later challenged in court by activist groups claiming animal waste emission were polluting the air.

The activists won the court battle and emission reporting was required again until this past Friday when the bill was signed into law.

I spoke with a local rancher who told me he's happy this provision was exempted.

The new legislative correction helps farmers continue to ranch the way they know how.

"Most ranches it affects in a good way because it's just another regulation you have to deal with that's really kind of a foolish regulation in my way of thinking. How do you measure it, what's it good for," said Greg Maier, Oliver County rancher.

Livestock producers say the exemption now puts less of a burden on them.

"It removes a lot of unnecessary paper work and it's just burns some regulations that aren't applicable," said State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Julie Ellingson with the Stockman's Association says the exemption not only helps farmers and ranchers, it also helps with our National Security.

"This would of imposed an incredible work burden on the Coast Guard, which actually is the recipient of those reports. So now they can focus on what the circulatory reporting was intended for and do a better job on responding to actual natural disasters or in preparation for those," said Ellingson.

Ellingson says there would have been 100,000 extra reports that the coast guard would have had to go through if this legislative correction hadn't gone through.

Goehring, Ellingson and Maier say there were a lot of unanswered questions on how to report animal waste emissions, so they're happy they now don't have to.