EPA assessment leaves door open for tighter dust restrictions

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its policy assessment for review of the particulate matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Agency staff determined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson would be justified either in maintaining the current fugitive dust standard or tightening it to a level twice as stringent. 

NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies said this is an important decision in the regulatory process. While the final policy assessment suggests the two standards essentially are equivalent in terms of protecting public health, the effect of Jackson choosing the stricter threshold could have a substantial negative impact on rural America. A recent study commissioned by NCBA found changes in dust standards being considered by EPA could bring vast areas of the Midwest, southwest and western U.S. into or very near non-attainment.

“Dust is a part of life in rural America,” said Thies. “Finalizing a rule that would result in heavy fines for creating dust by simply driving down a dirt road or herding cattle is unacceptable.”

EPA’s Jackson recently complained about “myths and misconceptions” regarding her intentions on the issue. She claims EPA is not working against agriculture, but Thies said Jackson needs to prove it.

“NCBA urges her to put all our minds at ease by declaring unequivocally that EPA’s actions will not result in a more restrictive regulation of dust in rural America,” said Thies. “Because not tightening the standard is not required by science, this is the administrator’s opportunity to reduce the mounting pile of burdensome and unnecessary regulations on agriculture.”

For more information visit www.kla.org.

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Leland Searles    
Des Moines, Iowa  |  April, 26, 2011 at 02:59 PM

Have a look at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources ambient air monitor data for PM10, at this web link: http://www.iowadnr.gov/air/prof/monitor/files/10ambient.pdf. Look for the PM10 results and you'll see that all monitored locations showed results well under the national standards during 2010. Based on this and on EPA comments made during a listening session in Des Moines this January, I don't see EPA moving in the near future to regulate agricultural PM10. This issue comes up over and over, mainly as a way for politicians and business groups to beat up on the EPA. Remember, these aren't just mindless bureaucrats, but people who usually have our health and the maintenance of our environment and resource base at heart.

Ouida Griner    
Berrien County Ga  |  August, 18, 2011 at 02:15 PM

This is a great example of why the EPA has no credibility with normal, sane Americans who actively provide food and products for the world. Common sense, reality and practicality are completely foreign to the EPA types whose own logic or really lack of it would ultimately ruin their own and everyone elses lives. I hope we can elect a new administration and restrict or eliminate EPA as we know it.


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