NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 13, 2006

Activists including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists are trying to convince Congress that the nation's farms should be treated as industrial waste sites and therefore subject to severe penalties under the federal Superfund law. They argue animal manure is a hazardous substance.

Under Superfund, tens of thousands of small family farms could face penalties of many millions of dollars and some farmers could even be forced off their land, says Steven Milloy, publisher of

  • The domestic livestock industry would be driven from this country, the grain industry would be crippled, and farm families and communities would be devastated, warned Oklahoma Farm Bureau chief Steve Kouplen.
  • Virtually every farm or ranch in the United States could be written off as a toxic Superfund site, says Missouri cattleman Mike John, who is also president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Farmers are by their nature pro-environment, says Milloy. Healthy crops and livestock depend on a healthy environment. None of this apparently matters to the activists.

The activists' efforts are a deliberate distortion of the law, says Milloy, devised by some local authorities and a small army of trial lawyers seeking large settlements in which they and the activist groups would be the chief beneficiaries.

Treating farms as Superfund sites would essentially provide activists with a powerful political weapon to use against farmers. Farmers who don't toe the environmentalist line may find their farms declared as Superfund sites.

Congress can quickly solve the problem, says Milloy, by passing a simple amendment to the Superfund law clarifying that farm manure is not considered a hazardous substance under the Act. A bipartisan bill to this effect has already been introduced in the House with nearly 160 cosponsors. A companion bill with bipartisan support is about to be introduced in the Senate.

Source: Steven Milloy, "Does Manure Make a Farm a Superfund Site?", June 01, 2006.

For text:,2933,197884,00.html


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