The Environmental Protection Agency has decided not to raise regulations on dust under the Clean Air Act and will retain the current Coarse Particulate Matter standards. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald says it’s a great victory for cattle producers and those living in rural America.
“This standard is reviewed every five years and the coarse standard, or what we call dust, is of great concern to cattlemen across the country. We already have areas across the country that really struggle to come into compliance with the current standard, and so we were very worried when EPA staff had suggested that they might double the stringency of the standard. So we are very happy that the administrator came out and said that in the final standard she is retaining the current dust standard.”
But with the rule scheduled for review in five years this isn’t the end of the battle. McDonald says NCBA will continue to look for a legislative fix including working with South Dakota Congressman Kristi Noem. She has introduced a measure to prohibit the regulation of rural dust.
“We’ll definitely keep working with Representative Noem. She has been phenomenal in championing this issue for NCBA and all of agriculture, and because this is a five year review process we know this issue is just going to keep recurring unless we do something through legislation. That’s the only way that agriculture and cattlemen in particular will get permanent relief, passing it into law and amending the statute that says rural dust is not regulated by the Clean Air Act.”
McDonald says had EPA chosen to increase the coarse particulate matter standard, it would have forced ag operations to demonstrate compliance or be subject to fines up to more than $37,000 per day.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a statement Friday following EPA’s announcement.
He said, “EPA’s final decision on national clean air standards will have no impact on farm dust from agricultural operations, as they have indicated for more than a year. This common sense approach will result in cleaner air for the American people, while providing greater certainty for those who live and work in rural America. I commend EPA Administrator Jackson for her efforts to reach out to the agricultural community and to make it clear that EPA had no interest in regulating farm dust.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/12/NCBA-on-EPA-dust-standard.mp3|titles=NCBA on EPA dust standard]
Source: NAFB News Service