Environmental groups say a new rule from the agency eliminates one of the only tools providing communities near CAFOs with information about toxic substances in the air.
While media attention last month focused on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to relax emissions standards for coal-fired power plants, the agency quietly issued another controversial rule—this one related to emissions of hazardous substances from industrial animal agriculture.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities like factories to report emissions of hazardous substances to local officials, but on June 4, EPA administrator Andrew R. Wheeler signed an amendment that exempts farms from reporting air emissions from animal waste. Previously, farms had been required to report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions over a certain threshold to local agencies. The same farms haven’t had to reporting emissions to federal authorities since 2018, when Congress passed the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act.