The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing next week on H.R. 2997, which would amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to exclude manure from consideration as a hazardous substance.

That legislation, known as the Superfund Common Sense Act, defines manure as the excrements or emissions from livestock, compost containing or commingled with the excrements, or any process water or byproducts of manure originating from the compost or emissions. Companion legislation S. 1729 was introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) in October 2011.

H.R. 2997 was introduced in September 2011, sponsored by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), and has attracted bipartisan support as cosponsors.

According to Long, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has become far too overreaching in its regulation using CERCLA and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). He believes his legislation will protect farmers from EPA misuse of these laws.

Proponents of H.R. 2997 argue that other regulations will adequately govern animal agriculture without the help of CERCLA or EPCRA.