The National Pork Producers Council Environment Committee and Air Quality Task Force last week attended a joint U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-USDA workshop in Raleigh, N.C., to discuss the process for reviewing data from a groundbreaking study of air emissions from farms.
The 2 ½-year National Air Emissions Monitoring Study conducted by Purdue University was carried out under EPA’s direction and was funded by livestock and poultry producers at a cost of $14.6 million. The effort was undertaken in response to EPA’s growing recognition in the late 1990s that consistent and widely accepted scientific methodologies for estimating air emissions from livestock and poultry operations were lacking.
EPA has until the end of 2011 to review the data and to develop emissions standards for farms. The study was part of the 2005 “air consent agreements” EPA entered into with thousands of livestock and poultry producers. The agreements ensured that producers would not be subject to enforcement actions associated with any past or ongoing emissions while the study was under way and the subsequent standards developed.
NPPC played a significant role in negotiating the consent agreements and in setting up the air emissions study, which collected data from 14 pork, dairy, layer and poultry farms in nine states. The organization told EPA that pork producers would meet their air quality responsibilities as long as regulatory standards were based on science and were affordable and effective.