- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The EPA recently announced a plan to gather data on air emissions from over 6,000 animal feeding operations (AFOs).
“The AFO's agreements bring us closer to ensuring clean air compliance across our nation,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This innovative approach will provide the best available science to guide EPA's decision making in a way that is good for the environment, good for agriculture and good for the American people.”
On Jan. 31, 2005, the EPA placed a notice in the Federal Register that offered individual AFOs an opportunity to voluntarily sign a consent agreement. The agreement would commit them to conduct a nationwide monitoring plan to better understand and define air emissions from such operations. The Environmental Appeals Board approved two final agreements to cover the study of 2,568 operations, representing 6,267 farms (a single AFO can include more than one farm). The study included 204 egg-laying and 40 broiler chicken, 1,856 swine, and 468 dairy operations.
At the end of the study, the EPA will evaluate all the data and publish emission-estimating methods for AFOs within 18 months. It was anticipated that this action will bring the operations into compliance with existing air rules much faster than any other enforcement action.
As an incentive for AFOs to participate, the agency has agreed not to bring certain enforcement actions against participating AFOs during the course of the monitoring survey. However, all participants must pay a penalty that is based on the number of animals maintained at the operation and must assure compliance with the Clean Air Act, CERCLA and EPCRA once the EPA publishes the emissions methodology.