Sen. Pete Dominici (R-NM) and 22 other senators introduced legislation to exempt animal waste from CERCLA/Superfund. The legislation clarifies that animal waste is not considered a hazardous substance for a pollutant nor contaminant under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and is not subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
"This amendment does not change current law, it simply clarifies the intent of the law. It is a matter of basic common sense," Dominici says. "Nobody wants to penalize our farmers under laws that clearly were not intended to apply to them." He adds that the clarification outlined in this bill is badly needed to protect America's agriculture industry from onerous and frivolous lawsuits. Without it, livestock operations could be fined up to $27,500/day/violation, which would bankrupt many of them.
This legislation is being supported by the Farmers for Clean Air & Water coalition. Similar legislation (H.R. 4341) has been introduced in the House with 174 co-sponsors.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., corespondent