Is livestock manure a hazardous substance that should fall under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) or Superfund?

Seven state attorneys-general think so. They wrote Congress last month opposing legislation (H.R. 4341) that would exempt manure. The attorneys-general of California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin said, “As the chief legal officers of our states, we think the proposed amendments, if enacted, would seriously impair our ability to protect the health of our citizens and the environment.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 Congressmen have written their leadership urging action on H.R. 4341. The members wrote, “Recently, a few state and local governments have sued livestock and poultry producers claiming Superfund liability. One Texas case has been settled, but only after 9 of 14 dairies went out of business, with each side paying millions in litigation fees. Unless we act, farmers across America could face vast liabilities under CERCLA and EPCRA — an outcome not envisioned or intended when Congress enacted these laws.”