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Livestock hazardous emissions reporting delayed in N.D.

BISMARCK—Reporting of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions by ranchers has been delayed until May 1 — a momentary concession to producers but likely not long enough for reporting aids to be developed.

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 exempt.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say they know that estimating releases will be challenging for producers because no generally accepted estimating method is available, according to Mary Berg, the North Dakota State University Extension Service's area livestock environmental management specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center. EPA officials are working on developing methods for estimating emissions; however, that work will not be completed prior to the start of the court's reporting mandate.

"Several livestock stakeholder groups have been working together to monitor this situation," Berg said. "The EPA has been helpful and prompt in answering compliance questions."

Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide are in the manure and urine of all livestock. The reportable quantity for these substances is 100 pounds per day. This means that, if 100 pounds or more of these substances are released into the air in a 24-hour period, producers would have to report them.

Various livestock organizations, such as the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, say they are seeking legislative action to prevent reporting requirements.