USCC Advocacy: Taking the Lead on Persistent Herbicides, Food Safety, State Issues
The USCC is making significant strides towards finding a regulatory resolution for the issue of PERSISTENT HERBICIDE contamination, which has affected compost facilities and Council members, as well as addressing FSMA regulations–along with a host of other state issues that USCC staff and members have been working on this legislative season.
Persistent Herbicides Fight Gains Ground
Several cases of persistent herbicide contamination have affected our industry. Plant damage and even death can be the result where these non-compostable herbicides make their way into compost. USCC strategy focuses on a regulatory solution, so all herbicides in this class would be controlled, rather than targeting individual herbicide producers.
USCC members are urged to contribute to the fundraising campaign, to support this fight. The Council Board of Directors committed an initial $30,000, and members have already pledged nearly an additional $26,000. Please help us reach our goal of $130,000!
The lobbying firm hired by USCC has successfully arranged meetings with key Congressional and US EPA representatives with Lori Scozzafava, executive director, Paul Sellew, board member and chair of the Persistent Herbicides Task Force, to urge them not to re-register these herbicides. “These meetings could never have happened in this timely, effective way without a professional firm to make these contacts,” Sellew said. You can see the impact of our work by watching this video of the EPA Budget hearings before the House Appropriations committee as Rep. Serrano (D-NY) raises the issue with EPA Administrator McCarthy.
Members and the Council also submitted comments to the EPA requesting the agency NOT to re-register Picloram, one of the herbicides, and will be commenting on the Clopyralid and Aminopyralid registraiton notices in the next few weeks (more on that to come soon!)
“Financial contributions of a total of at least another $65,000 must be raised this year in order to continue the momentum of the campaign”, Scozzafava said.”
“These funds will not only help retain our lobbyists, but also prepare guidance and other documents for members. Please contribute NOW to the Fight Persistent Herbicides Fund to help us advocate for a regulatory solution to persistent herbicides.”
The USCC has been meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration this spring regarding our comments to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which governs food safety in the US. Regulations will affect composters when it comes to compost applied to food crops.
Extensive comments from the USCC on the proposed rule, in which we requested that it be revised, have brought our concerns to the attention of Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for the FDA. The upcoming meeting will give USCC a chance to influence the rewriting of the language in the revised rule.
In 2010, in response to food-borne illness outbreaks, the FSMA was signed into law. The FDA is under pressure to promulgate the supporting regulations, but was overwhelmed by the number of comments to the proposed rules. The USCC will continue to be engaged on this issue and keep members informed.
The USCC has supported advocacy efforts of our state chapters and state-level advocates in widely dispersed states this winter.
The USCC testified in support of HB1081, which closes a loophole that bans only source-separated yard waste from landfills in Maryland and requires locations that generate two tons of food scraps a week to recycle them. The bill did not pass this year.
HB240/SB 56 creates a task force to study state and local government challenges in moving Maryland towards a “zero waste” policy. The USCC has been added as a Task Force Member, along with the Maryland Recycling Network.
HB 878/SB 814, establishing the use of compost and compost-based products in state highway construction projects as a best management practice for specified pollution mitigation strategies; and requires the State Highway Administration to establish a specification for the acquisition and use of compost and compost-based products was passed and is being signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley.
USCC Tapped for MA Composting Committee
State regulators of an October 2014 ban on commercial food waste in Massachusetts recruited the USCC to help the state grow its ability to handle the additional organic materials that will be collected.
The State of Massachusetts has included our organization in its Department of Environment Organics Subcommittee, to provide feedback, technical assistance and infrastructure development for the changing waste management collection approach. Massachusetts is emphasizing energy recovery, a byproduct of anaerobic digestion in the organics composting process.
“We are happy to provide our expertise to help Massachusetts compost producers expand from accepting only yard debris to integrating food scraps into their operations,” Scozzafava said. “Massachusetts has taken an important leadership role for composting in the State and we look forward to being a resource to make this approach succeed.”
USCC/Minnesota Composting Council Clarify Soil Types for Minnesota Pollution Rule
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued draft Minnesota Proposed Amendments to Rules Relating to Compost Facilities, and the USCC recently provided comments that would protect our industry by:
- Recommending reinstatement of three soil types to the list of “eligible soil types” that are acceptable as part of the five feet of separation from the zone of continuous groundwater saturation.
- Allow residual that has gone through the PFRP to be stored off pad until reincorporated into the composting process.
The USCC commented in support of bills H7033 and H7482, which would require large generators of food residuals to recycle those residuals. The legislation mandated producers of food residuals to 1) source-separate food residuals from other solid waste for recycling; and 2) recycle or treat food residuals on-site or send their organic waste to a recycling facility.