for an agency hearing,” the agency must follow a more formal procedure, similar to an agency adjudication with a hearing and opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. Some environmental laws prescribe “hybrid rulemaking,” which may require a public hearing (Findley, 2000).

Environmental statutes often require that regulations be enacted only after careful study and application of scientific principles. For example, CAA section 112 (42 USC § 7412) governs hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and establishes the initial list of HAPs. The EPA administrator has the obligation to review the list periodically, in light of new scientific knowledge, and to revise it by rule. The administrator must add pollutants that threaten “adverse human health effects (including, but not limited to, substances which are known to be, or may reasonably be anticipated to be, carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, neurotoxic, which cause reproductive dysfunction, or which are acutely or chronically toxic) or adverse environmental effects whether through ambient concentrations, bioaccumulation, deposition, or otherwise … “ (42 USC § 7412(b)(2)). Similarly, emission standards, established by regulation for categories of major sources and area sources of HAPs, must meet scientific standards (42 USC § 7412(d)). Application of good science in environmental regulation is essential to ensure both effective regulation and fairness to regulated entities as well as to withstand legal challenge.

Agriculture has long enjoyed favored status under the law, and agricultural operations have been exempt from numerous federal and state laws that govern other businesses. Environmental laws and regulations also often included “safe harbors” for agriculture (Ruhl, 2000). Despite the acknowledged impact of farming on the natural environment, agriculture has been “one of the last uncharted frontiers of environmental regulation” (Ruhl, 2000). Some laws are structured so that farms escape regulatory obligations; others exempt agriculture specifically from regulatory provisions (Ruhl, 2000). Therefore many of the federal and state laws that control air and water emissions from other sources have not governed agricultural activities.

Certain large animal feeding operations (AFOs), however, are subject to explicit environmental regulation under the Clean Water Act, and facilities that emit large quantities of air pollutants may be regulated under the Clean Air Act. For example, under the CWA, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs; see Appendix B) are regulated as point sources of water pollution. Recent amendments to the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) may impose management requirements on other livestock operations. Moreover, in recent years, large livestock operations that emit air pollutants such as ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and particulates have been the focus of enforcement (or threat of enforcement) under the CAA. Some facilities may also be regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or the “Superfund” law) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which require reporting when large quantities



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement