Representative Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has joined other lawmakers who want to see the Environmental Protection Agency back off of dust regulation, also, known as the Coarse Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Noem is in support of H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, co-sponsored by Representatives Robert Hurt, R-Va., Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, and Larry Kissell, D-N.C.
The proposed legislation would halt the current revision of the dust standard for one year. It would exempt agricultural dust if state and local authorities have already implemented dust control measures. In areas where there are no state or local dust control measures, EPA would be required to prove substantial negative health effects and show benefits of regulation outweighs economic costs.
Deputy Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Ashley Lyon says that dust across the United States is different in different areas so giving the state and local authorities the first chance to regulate dust in the way they see appropriate is an important feature of this bill and one that NCBA fully supports.
So far Lyon says the EPA has shown no cost-effective way to reduce farm dust. And while the real purpose is to go after urban dust, Lyon says doubling the stringency of the standard would put much of rural America into non-attainment.
"It's not feasible in many parts of the country," Lyon said. "NCBA had a study commissioned recently that found almost of all the Midwest, West and Southwest would go into non-attainment should this lower standard be put in place."
Lyon says EPA could propose a rule as early as June despite reported claims by Administrator Lisa Jackson that the whole farm dust issue is a myth.
"When the Administrator says she has not proposed a rule yet and they have no intention of regulating farm dust, we take no comfort in that statement because of the path they are currently on," Lyon said.
That path includes a staff recommendation to double the current standard, and a similar one from EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.