Our sources report that an effort in the agriculture appropriations process to redefine poultry litter as not hazardous has failed in the U.S. Senate. The action was taken last week when Senate leaders stripped the animal waste rider from the bill.
However, the issue is not dead yet! A House sub committee will hold a hearing Wed., Nov. 16 on Superfund laws and animal agriculture. A representative of Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office will testify at the hearing.
We do not know if legislation will be sponsored in the House yet this year.
Groups including the Farm Bureau Federation and the poultry industry tried to change the definition of poultry litter apparently in response to a lawsuit by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Edmondson has sued the major poultry companies in northwestern Arkansas including Tyson on the basis that the excess chicken waste is a hazardous substance.
Language in an agriculture appropriations measure was pulled from Senate consideration after it became apparent several Senators would oppose language redifning poultry litter (animal waste) as non hazardous. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn voted against the appropriations bill because, in his opinion, the bill contained too many pork barrel projects.