In Deal, EPA Limits Fines but Monitors Farms

US - In a first step toward setting firm guidelines on the monitoring of emissions from factory-style farms, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached agreement with 20 farms to collect air samples.

In return, noncompliant operations will pay EPA a one-time fine ranging from $200 to $100,000. Ultimately, 2,681 Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs)—representing some 6,700 farms in 42 states—will sign similar deals.

The deal aims to simplify testing and data collection and to promote goodwill so that compliance issues can be resolved, says Dave Ryan, EPA spokesman. The agency has until now been unable to effectively monitor and test AFOs because there was no widely accepted method for doing so.

Since 2001, EPA has worked with AFOs, state air pollution agencies and environmental groups to find the best way to monitor AFO emissions. AFOs, which raise chickens, cows or pigs, are expected to set a pattern and expedite approval for the remaining agreements.

The deals allow EPA-approved contractors to monitor farms for the next two years. Farms can still be fined for violations of the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act or the Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

“We’ve never been tested,“ says Brad Kober, owner of the 4,000-pig Kober Farms LLC, Sparta, Mich. “I don’t agree with paying a fine, but if we've got to pay for testing and can get some new technology out of it, I'm fine with that.“

calendar icon 10 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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