The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule providing a reporting exemption for releases to the air from animal waste at farms of any hazardous substance at or above reportable quantities for those substances.

EPA said these reports are unnecessary because there is no reasonable expectation that a Federal response would be made as a result.

The final rule reduces the burden of complying with Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and to a limited extent, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act reporting requirements.

Notifications must still be made if hazardous substances are released to the air from any source other than animal waste such as ammonia tanks, as well as releases of any hazardous substances at farms to soil, ground water or surface water when the release of those substances is at or above its reportable quantity for 24 hours.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), was quick to criticize the decision. "Today's action by the Bush EPA is nothing more than a giveaway to big agribusiness at the expense of the public health and of local communities located near large factory farms," he said in a written statement.