Cattlemen Urge Congress to Address Abuse of Superfund Laws
WASHINGTON - Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are actively urging members of Congress to take up and pass legislation confirming they never intended for America’s farmers and ranchers to be attacked via provisions of the 1980s Superfund laws.
In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, NCBA states:
“For generations, America’s ranchers have been actively committed to caring for our nation’s natural resources and landscapes. By nature, those who work the land every day are the most dedicated to land conservation in the long-term. Our industry has diligently followed extensive on-farm regulations for years under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and various state laws.
“Over the past couple of years, some state and local authorities have sought to extend Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 and Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 liability to our nation’s livestock operations for emissions or discharges from livestock manure. Such an interpretation of Superfund law is not supported by science or legislative history.
“Congress must now confirm that it never intended to regulate manure under CERCLA or EPCRA. Without such clarification, every livestock operation, agricultural field or organic farming operation on which manure or manure compost is spread for fertilizer in this country could be subject to comprehensive and highly regulated cleanup under Superfund law.
“CERCLA and EPCRA were intended for the worst-case environmental disasters, not for the regulation of on-farm usage of manure. If lawsuits against livestock and poultry operations are successful in arguing that manure warrants Superfund action, we will essentially be outlawing the use of manure-based fertilizer in this country.
“America’s ranchers do not operate Superfund sites. We produce a top-quality product that feeds the world, and manure is simply not a Superfund waste material.”
NCBA continues its full endorsement of H.R. 4341, a bill introduced by Congressman Ralph Hall and cosponsored by more than 180 members of Congress. Cattle producers are urging the House Energy and Commerce Committee to take up and pass H.R. 4341 before recessing for their pre-election activities. In addition, bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate continue to rally in support of identical legislation in the Senate (S. 3681), which now has 30 cosponsors.
NCBA members are urging all U.S. cattle producers to contact members of Congress and ask them to speak out for American agriculture and sign on in support of this legislation in the House and Senate.