Ammonia Regulation


EPA and activists continue to push for the regulation of ammonia through various forums.

EPA has tried in the past to regulate ammonia through other pollutant National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Attempts have been made under the Secondary NAAQS for oxides of sulfur (SOx) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). While EPA ultimately did finalize a standard for SOx and NOx in March of 2012 that did not include the regulation of ammonia, the agency will likely try to regulate ammonia under this standard in the future. The final rule called for the agency to study the approach in a five year pilot program. 

More on the NOx/SOx Secondary NAAQS

Attempts have been made to have a federal court regulate ammonia from animal feeding operations. As recently as this year, lawsuits have been filed asking a court to force EPA to regulate ammonia emissions from livestock operations. This recent case is Zook v. Jackson, 6:2012cv02046 (Iowa N.D. Ct.). While these attempts have also failed thus far, livestock operations will continue to be targeted by activists.

Finally, mandatory reporting of emissions of ammonia to local responders is required for some livestock operations. In 2008, EPA finalized the CERCLA/EPCRA Reporting Rule which required some cattle feeding operations (those with 1000 head or greater that produce more than 100 lbs. of ammonia in a 24-hour period) to report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) but exempted operations from reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), or “Superfund.” This rule went into effect in 2009, but has been remanded back to the agency to be reconsidered after it was challenged in court by agricultural stakeholders and environmentalists.

More on the 2008 Reporting Rule

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