The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on its Draft Document Related to the Development of Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEM) for Lagoons and Basins for Swine and Dairy Feeding Operations.

This step is part of the EPA Air Consent Agreements established with the animal-agriculture sector to monitor, make recommendations and provide solutions to air emissions. That agreement involved developing tools for producers to on site to estimate emissions from their animal facilities. The EEM is EPA’s first attempt in this process. Worth noting is that the Air Consent Agreement was limited to open-source emissions, from lagoons and basins. It did not address barn or deep pit emissions.

On behalf of the pork industry, the National Pork Producer Council (NPPC) has submitted comments urging EPA to redraft its document, and significantly alter the agency’s approach to developing an open-source EEM. “NPPC has deep concerns over EPA's failure to understand the basic difference between anaerobic lagoons and manure storage basins, as well as the impracticality of creating a single model for swine and dairy due to the differences between the species,” NPPC stated in a letter to EPA.

The council also stressed that EPA need to develop a tool, as required under the Air Consent Agreement, that individual farmers could actually use.

NPPC has offered to work with EPA to provide basic data and the pork production expertise to help develop a workable tool. So far, the council’s offer has not been tapped.  

In addition to the public comments, EPA is awaiting a report from its Scientific Advisory Board on the adequacy of the draft EEM before moving forward. The report should be available by late summer. You can read NPPC’s comments to EPA here.