AMARILLO A group of Texas-based researchers provided answers for the nation's cattle feeding industry after it was given a very short window by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin reporting ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions.
The EPA issued a final ruling on Dec. 18 that required the reporting of continuous air releases of these gases by large confined animal feeding operations to local and state emergency management entities.
Until this ruling, the EPA had not required agricultural operations to report air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986.
But with the new EPA rule, it was determined the reporting was required under the 1986 act and operations falling within the guidelines must report emissions by Jan. 20, said Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Association vice president.
The rule applies to operations that can emit 100 pounds or more of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide during any 24-hour period, Weinheimer said. These operations are now required to report the emissions to state and local emergency responders.
But with the rule came no guidelines on how to gather that information or report it, and there were no officially adopted emission factors available, he said.
Weinheimer said the industry turned to researchers working on the "Air Quality: Reducing Emissions from Cattle Feedlots and Dairies," a federally funded project headed by Dr. John Sweeten, director of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo.
The project researchers, who had been gathering emissions data from area feedlots for the past six years, were pulled together to determine the best way for feed yard operators to estimate their emissions and develop a worksheet for calculating emissions, Sweeten said.
The air quality research project is funded by the U.S. Depar
|Contact: Dr. John Sweeten|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications