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AMI Applauds Introduction of Bill to Clarify Superfund Law

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Legislation being introduced today to clarify the Superfund law as it applies to farms and ranches is critical to the long term sustainability of American agriculture, says the American Meat Institute (AMI). The bipartisan legislation would clarify that livestock manure, which many agricultural producers utilize in their traditional farming practices, is not classified as a hazardous waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), otherwise known commonly as “Superfund.”

The bi-partisan legislation would specifically address lawsuits in a number of states that attempt to put farms under the toxic waste cleanup and liability provisions of the 1980 Superfund law because of the livestock manure they produce. “Through a gross distortion of Superfund, special interests are placing America’s farmers and ranchers in the bulls eye by trying to lump their operations in with the 1,300 toxic waste sites throughout the country,” said J. Patrick Boyle, AMI’s President and CEO.

The Superfund law was created in 1980 and has been an important tool to ensure that the country’s worst industrial toxic waste sites and spills, such as Love Canal and Times Beach were properly cleaned up. “Treating farmers and ranchers like toxic waste slum lords because their animals produce manure is like fining every citizen in the U.S. for exhaling carbon dioxide because it’s a greenhouse gas,” added Boyle.

Boyle pointed out that when this law was written more than 25 years ago, it was never intended to be used to address the normal application of animal manure as fertilizer. In fact, EPA’s overview of CERCLA states that the law ”established prohibitions and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites.” Farms are not inactive, and the ones being targeted for extermination are certainly neither closed nor abandoned.

“We applaud this effort by Congress to clarify this important law and prevent it from being hijacked and used as a tool to put hardworking farmers and ranchers out of business,” said Boyle.

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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