The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the public comment period for the proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule to Jan. 19, 2012. 

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) had requested a 60-day extension to the original Dec. 20 deadline for filing comments. Instead, EPA granted a 30-day extension to the comment period.

EPA is proposing a rule that would require concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to submit basic operational information to EPA so the agency can more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health. The proposal is part of a settlement agreement reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club. Under the proposed rule, EPA is co-proposing two regulatory options regarding which CAFOs would be required to submit information to the EPA. One option would require every CAFO to report this information to EPA, unless states with authorized NPDES programs choose to provide this information on behalf of the CAFOs in their state. A second option would require CAFOs in focus watersheds that have water quality concerns associated with CAFOs to report information to EPA.

NPPC expressed concerns that producers will incur substantial legal liability due to the reporting rule, and that in compiling the information the biosecurity of producers’ operations may be compromised. Furthermore, NPPC believes the rule would provide little or no added benefit to improving manure management or protecting water resources.

EPA is requesting public comment on both proposed rule options for gathering the information identified in the proposal and the alternative approaches to achieve water quality protection.

 Comments must be submitted by Jan. 19, 2012. Learn more at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/afo/aforule.cfm