Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO.) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would exempt animal manure and poultry litter from any Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that treats them as hazardous waste, according to

In a “Dear Colleague” letter to other senators, Blunt and Crapo say the bill is needed because some are pushing the EPA to regulate this animal waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law. They argue that law was meant only to identify and clean up toxic waste sites.

“While naturally occurring, organic manure and poultry litter were never intended by Congress to be regulated under CERCLA,” they wrote. “Despite this, some have worked to increase the law's reach by attempting to convince courts that livestock and poultry producers should be subject to CERCLA liability for stormwater discharges associated with the use of animal manure and poultry litter as fertilizer on farmland.

“Our nation's farmers and ranchers have long been leaders in efforts to protect the land and water of rural America," they add. "It is time that we restore the original intent of Congress under CERCLA and EPCRA and give livestock and poultry producers the certainty they need in these difficult economic times.”

The EPCRA is the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, and the bill is S. 1729.