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Livestock Industry Calls for Relief from EPA’s Overly Burdensome Regulations

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council filed comments this week to the EPA calling for immediate action on several burdensome regulations the agency put forward under previous Administrations.

The groups said that the regulations, “inhibit job creation, are ineffective, are unnecessary, or impose costs that exceed the environmental benefits. Often, these regulations impose federal requirements on cattle producers that discourage innovation and impose rigid requirements that do not work on cattle operations and, moreover, defy common sense.”

NCBA and PLC called on the agency to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule with a rule that will clarify the extent of federal jurisdiction without overreaching. The replacement rule, the comments state, must work for cattle producers, follow the rule of law, and replace each instance of WOTUS in the Code of Federal Regulations so that there is one single definition across the federal government.

The associations also called on the agency to repeal the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) rule for manure management.

“According to the EPA, beef cattle production was responsible for 1.9 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2014,” the comments, signed by NCBA President Craig Uden and PLC President Dave Eliason, read. “By comparison, GHG emissions from transportation and electricity accounted for 25.8 percent and 30.6 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in the same year. The GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule places an undue burden on animal agricultural producers, significantly increasing production costs with negligible environmental benefit.”

NCBA and PLC also targeted the Spill Prevention Control and Counters rule for farms, which has been an on-going regulatory burden for producers. While EPA attempted to address the farming community’s concerns related to the SPCC rule, the program presents many unnecessary challenges for agricultural producers. NCBA and PLC asked EPA to modify the rule so that it is easier for farms to implement.

Finally, the associations called on EPA to protect the privacy of farmers and ranchers in implementing the agency’s regulations. Many farmers and ranchers maintain a personal residence on their operations and this information may be protected under privacy protections of the law.

“The U.S. cattle industry is proud of its history as stewards of our nation’s natural resources,” the comments read. “The industry takes very seriously its obligation to protect the environment while providing the nation with a safe and affordable food supply.”

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