U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has confirmed that EPA will not regulate farm dust. In a letter sent to Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, Jackson wrote: “based on my consideration of the scientific record, analysis provided by EPA scientists and advice from the Clean Air Science Advisory Council, I am prepared to propose the retention – with no revision – of the current PM10 standard and form when it is sent to the White House for interagency review.”
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, said, “we raised this issue of farm dust earlier in the year with the EPA Administrator and the Secretary of Agriculture, and I’m glad they listened to the serious concerns raised by the agriculture community about possible dust regulations.” Meanwhile, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, points out that “dust is a fact of life in rural America, and imposing new dust regulations on farmers and rural communities would stifle the agriculture industry and hurt rural economies.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council welcomed the news that EPA would not regulate farm dust. The organizations say this decision is subsequent to the onslaught of pressure from NCBA, PLC and several members of Congress to convince EPA not to regulate farm dust at levels twice as stringent as the current standard.
According to Bill Donald, NCBA president and Montana rancher, “The consequences of EPA regulating farm dust at levels twice as stringent as the current standard would have undoubtedly forced many farmers and ranchers into nonattainment, which would have resulted in enormous fines and would have jeopardized the future of many farms and ranches.” But Donald says the issue is far from being resolved.