Information on the Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Program

Dr. Lingying Zhao, Extension Agricultural Engineer, The Ohio State University

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Air Quality Compliance Agreement (the Agreement) on January 21, 2005. The Agreement was published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2005. The EPA solicited public comments for 30 days on the Agreement. Producers with animal feeding operations (AFO) should decide whether or not to participate in the Agreement before May 1, 2005.

The primary goals of the Air Quality Compliance Agreement are to ensure that AFO are in compliance with the Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) provisions and promote a national consensus on methodologies for estimating emissions from AFO.

Key obligations of dairy producers to join the Agreement are to:

  • Pay a civil penalty of $200 (< 700 cows or 1,000 heifers), $500 (700 to 7000 cows or 1,000 to 10,000 heifers), or $1000 (>7000 cows or 10,000 heifers),
  • Pay $2,500 into a fund for a nationwide emissions monitoring program, and
  • Make facilities available for monitoring.

Key protections and benefits for dairy producers joining the Agreement are:

  • Receive a covenant not to be sued by EPA for past violations of the Clean Air Act and CERCLA section 103 and EPCRA section 304 hazardous substance reporting requirements arising from releases of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal confinement structures and agricultural livestock waste lagoons, and
  • Receive a covenant not to be sued for the period of the national emissions monitoring program (3.5 to 4 years from now).

    For detailed information about the Agreement, click here.