Most ag groups were generally pleased with the EPA’s recent announcement that it plans to retain the current standards for dust.
But they also point out that last week’s announcement was simply a proposal from the agency and not the final standard.
Ashley McDonald of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) says there is still concern that when the final rule is released in December—after the presidential election—it could change from the initial proposal.
“We do all know how elections go—and we are very cautious that what might happen in December is that the (EPA) administrator decides that she is justified in lowering the PM10 standard,” McDonald says, “and that, of course, will have huge ramifications for most of the Midwest, the West, and the Southwest, in terms of regulation of dust.”
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review its standard for particle pollution every five years to determine whether the standards should be revised. McDonald says NCBA will continue to push for passage of legislation that would permanently exempt agriculture from EPA dust regulations.
“We are hopeful to get some permanent relief out there to agriculture so they won’t be dealing with this five years of—only five years of certainty—which isn’t certainty at all,” she says.
The American Farm Bureau Federation shares NCBA’s concerns about the final EPA dust rule. AFBF also supports passage of the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act in Congress.