The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing its standards on air pollutants, as required to do every five years by the Clean Water Act. This year it is also looking at dust. Supporters of the tougher rule, like the American Lung Association, opine that the air must be cleaned of the little particles that can be breathed into the longs. These rules, however, can destroy the ranching and farming businesses for risks that have been way overstated. In July, a group of U.S. senators, in a joint letter, urged EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to think about the consequences of such new tighter rules. The latter, the senators wrote, would result in “extremely burdensome” dust control measures to bring people in compliance and “could slow economic development and impose significant cost to farmers and businesses.”
The American Lung Association would like counties to pave roads and farmers to use no-till methods to grow their crops. In other words, a group who knows nothing about agriculture is telling agricultural producers how to cultivate and raise livestock. A representative for the Lung Assoc., Janice Nolen, dismisses the worries of farmers and ranchers by saying that they are alike the concerns of other industries when they faced EPA new regulations. And she adds “we have seen time and again where they were able to figure out a solution.” And at what a price lady? Of American ingenuity? Or of American workers that see their job going overseas?
Nolen is declaring war not only on dust, but also on other particles coming from diesel exhaust from farm machinery, animal waste, and herbicide and pesticide. The agency is expected to announce any change in regulations in February and those changes to come into effect in October 2011.
EPA released a statement saying to be “committed to issuing air quality standard for particle pollution that are scientifically sound.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) affirms that there is no scientific evidence supporting the need for tougher regulations on dust and that agriculture is different from other industries.
AFBF also informs that there is no efficient nor economical way for farmers to reduce dust, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also agrees that such rules would do nothing but penalize rural areas and economies.
(Country World, by Rick Callahan, 9/30/2010)