Three Iowa livestock producers protected from liability

IOWA - Three Iowa livestock producers have received protection from liability for air pollution in a deal with the federal government.

The three producers are among hundreds in Iowa and nearly 2,700 nationwide that have signed up for the amnesty program, The Des Moines Register reported Tuesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreements with the Iowa producers on Monday as part of the initial batch of 20 agreements approved under the program. It protects farms from being sued by the EPA for violations, but does not protect them from lawsuits filed by private groups.

The farmers take part in a study of emissions and pay from $200 to $100,000, depending on the size of their farm.

The protection would end after the study is finished and does not prevent the EPA from prosecuting cases where human health is at risk. The EPA study is expected to start later this year.

Brent Newell, a California lawyer working with groups that are trying to block the agreements, said the program is bad because the livestock operations should have to control their pollution now.

"This just gives them a free pass, if it goes forward," Newell said.

He said it would not be until at least 2010 before the farms would be required to install pollution controls.

Officials with the EPA said the study is needed to demonstrate the amount of emissions and other pollutants from livestock operations. The data would be used to develop emission estimates for farms and to develop new standards and guidelines.

"This is a good working example of EPA accelerating the pace of environmental progress while increasing our nation's economic competitiveness," said Granta Nakayama, EPA's assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance.

Source: AgriNews
calendar icon 1 February 2006
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