Let’s clear the air about Farm Dust

Kristi Noem

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.)

If supporting US Representative Kristi Noem’s HR 1633: Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 makes me a conspiracy theorist, then I’m in good company.  Most of the major agriculture organizations in the country have supported this measure.  It all boils down to a basic mistrust of the EPA who, during the current administration, have grown even more heavy handed in their regulatory zeal, most of it aimed at farmers and ranchers.

I’m really not sure why the regulators and environmentalists are so afraid of this measure, except for their innate and irrational fear and loathing of “big ag,” whatever that is.

According to the Library of Congress summary, the measure

Prohibits the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from  proposing, finalizing, implementing, or enforcing any regulation revising the national primary ambient air quality standard or the national secondary ambient air quality standard applicable to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter greater than 2.5 micrometers under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for one year.

Exempts nuisance dust from the CAA and excludes nuisance dust from references in such Act to particulate matter, except with respect to geographic areas where such dust is not regulated under state, tribal, or local law if the Administrator finds that: (1) nuisance dust (or any subcategory of nuisance dust) causes substantial adverse public health and welfare effects at ambient concentrations; and (2) the benefits of applying CAA standards and other requirements to such dust outweigh the costs.

Defines “nuisance dust” as particulate matter: (1) generated from natural sources, unpaved roads, agricultural activities, earth moving, or other activities typically conducted in rural areas; or (2) consisting primarily of soil, other natural or biological materials, windblown dust, or some combination thereof.

So the administration of nuisance dust” under 1633 would be a local or state matter.  It would also mean that the claims of health hazards presented by dust would need to be substantiated rather than supposed.

Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey’s opening statement in the Energy and Commerce Committee where the bill was introduced, stated “There is no plan to regulate farm dust anymore than there is to regulate fairy dust.”  If the regulation of farm dust is such a myth, why would you want block this resolution?  All it really does is ensure that the EPA can’t go back on the pledge of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Senate Ag Committee chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  that she would propose keeping the current standard for particulate-matter pollution.

How about if we look at it as sort of a good faith insurance policy?


About raybowman

church of Christ elder, farmer, grandad, agriculture writer and broadcaster

Posted on November 4, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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