‘Farm dust’ bills gaining momentum

Legislation prohibiting the EPA from regulating farm dust is gaining momentum in the House and Senate. 

A hearing is scheduled for Friday on the House version of the bill, sponsored by South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem. 

“The EPA has talked about putting these standards into place in the past,” says Noem. “We have certainly seen detrimental regulations go forward in this same process, and we’re trying to stop that from happening before they get put into place and we can’t get them repealed.”

One of those testifying will be National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Bill Donald of Montana.

“My message is going to be fairly loud and clear that one thing we need out of Washington, D.C., at this particular juncture—and what’s been lacking—is common sense,” Donald says.

The EPA has denied that it has plans to regulate farm dust, but Donald isn’t buying it. “People have trouble comprehending that an agency would even go down that road.  It’s unfortunate that we have to have legislation to stop an agency from doing something so ridiculous—but, unfortunately, that’s the times we’re living in.”

And in the Senate, Nebraska’s Mike Johanns says his dust bill is gaining bipartisan support.  Johanns says the purpose of the legislation is to create a separation in the law between smog and “naturally-occurring” dust.

“It does not prevent EPA from protecting clean air by regulating smog,” Johanns says. “It allows the EPA to distinguish between particles from naturally-occurring farm dust.  It’s sensible and bipartisan.”

Concerns over possible farm dust regulations grew out of an EPA draft recommendation—released earlier this year—that proposed stricter standards for particulate matter in the air.

AUDIO: Mike Johanns (3:19 MP3)

Brownfield’s Tom Steever and the Nebraska Radio Network contributed to this story.

  • Let the dumb ones go ahead no farmers need to make any dust park all equipment tell they come begging for something to eat then maybe they can get a handle on what it takes to make food instead of thinking everything is just put in a grocery store from magic

  • Between the White House & the EPA – I am just waiting for them to come out with a program to pave every acre of farmland with asphalt as a answer to dust control!

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