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Superfund Exemption: The Agricultural Protection and Prosperity Act of 2007

September 2007

Citation: 37 ELR 10675

Issue: 9

Author: Sarah K. Ball

Editors' Summary: Under CERCLA, agricultural producers must report releases of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other pollutants from decomposing animal manure. However, the so-called Superfund Exemption, proposed in March 2007 by Senator Lincoln, would amend CERCLA to exempt animal manure from the definition of hazardous substances. In this Article, Sarah Ball traces the legal treatment of the issue of animal waste as a pollutant. She begins her analysis by looking at the CWA as the first regulatory vehicle for agricultural operations, and then outlines the judicial actions of states, cities, and environmental groups who have sought enforcement of CERCLA against large agricultural operations for both air and water pollution. She examines arguments from pro-exemption farm groups and anti-exemption environmental advocates. Finally, she presents the EPA Air Compliance Agreement as an alternative policy for addressing the measurement, management, and regulation of agricultural pollution.

Sarah K. Ball is a graduate student at the University of Maryland, pursuing a dual degree in public policy and conservation biology.

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