EPA Proposes New CAFO Reporting Rule
IntroductionThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing that concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) submit basic operational information. Unlike most regulated industries, the EPA does not have facility-specific information for all CAFOs in the United States. EPA’s proposal would require CAFOs to provide basic information through a simple online form, including: facility contact information, production area location, whether the CAFO has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, the number and type of animals at the CAFO, and the number of acres available for land application of manure, litter, and process wastewater. EPA’s proposal does not change which CAFOs need permits under NPDES but will allow the Agency to carry out its CAFO permitting programs more effectively and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.
The proposal, which is part of a settlement agreement reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club, includes two options regarding which CAFOs would be required to submit information. EPA is requesting public comment on both options, as well as alternative approaches, for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold two webcast sessions on November 9 and November 17, 2011, to present the proposed rule requirements to the public and to answer questions. The EPA plans to take final action on this proposal by July 2012.