North Dakota’s senators are cosponsors of legislation to block hazardous emission reporting for livestock operations.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., signed on to the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act, which would answer livestock group’s pleas for a legislative fix to ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions reporting requirements.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, releases of hazardous substances that meet or exceed a set quantity must be reported within a 24-hour period. Until a recent court decision, most livestock operations had been exempted, except for confined animal feeding operations.

The courts ruled the agency did not have the authority to grant the exemption but Congress did.

“By imposing these rules on agriculture producers, the courts have introduced uncertainty to livestock operations across the country,” Hoeven said in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill would restore the exemption for agriculture and prevent these rules from negatively impacting our producers.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials have said they know estimating releases would be challenging for producers because no generally accepted estimating method is available. The courts granted an agency request to delay emission reporting until at least May 1. The legislation would create a more permanent solution.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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