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Corn+Soybean Digest

Website Offers Easy Access to Environmental Regulation Information

The EZRegs website developed by University of Illinois Extension (U of I) specialists has been updated to include new information on key agricultural environmental regulations. The website identifies environmental regulations that pertain to a variety of agricultural related areas, including livestock production, food crop production, ornamental horticulture production, landscape maintenance and small-scale animal facilities.

“Finding information on state and federal environmental regulations can often be difficult and confusing,” says Ted Funk, U of I Extension agricultural engineer. “This website allows users to access frequently asked questions related to their interest area to find out what regulations may impact them and how. They can read the actual regulation and in many cases an interpretation of the regulation.

“Whether a person is a livestock producer wanting to know about manure application regulations or a nursery owner wanting to dispose of unwanted pesticides, they can assess the EZRegs website to find out which regulations are most stringent and what they need to do to be in compliance.”

New information recently added to the site includes U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recording requirements related to continuous air emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from livestock facilities. The regulations identified include the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

“In Illinois, large livestock operations must complete the appropriate forms and provide them to the state emergency management agency as well as their local emergency planning committee,” Funk says. “There is no cost for compliance other than the time it takes to fill out the forms, but there could be a high cost to your operation if you ignore the EPCRA regulation requirements.”

Additional new information provided on the website is EPA regulation on oil spill prevention and control, or specifically the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program. The goal of the SPCC program is to prevent oil spills into waters of the U.S. and adjoining shorelines. A key element of this program calls for farmers and other facilities to have an oil spill prevention plan, called an SPCC plan

“If an agricultural operation has a big fuel tank that springs a leak and there’s a possibility of it getting into surface waters, a plan needs to be in place,” Funk says. “Facilities becoming subject to this regulation requirement must be in compliance by Nov. 10. We are trying to get the word out to farmers.

“The EZRegs website extends our reach on getting important information out to Illinois livestock and crop producers, green industry professionals, policymakers, land-use planners, rural residents and others who may be impacted by these state and federal environmental regulations.”

Financial support for the EZRegs website has been provided by the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Pork Checkoff, and U.S. EPA Region 5.

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