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EPA unlikely to change rural dust rules

—From the AFBF
Public Relations Team

The U.S. EPA says there is no reason to make rural dust rules stricter than they already are, according to American Farm Bureau regulatory specialist Andrew Walmsley.

In the Sept. 10 edition of Newsline (AFBF’s regular podcast), Walmsley tells Johnna Miller of the AFBF PR team that although EPA is issuing tougher standards for soot pollution, also known as “fine particulate matter,” the agency has decided the rules for dust, or “coarse particulate matter,” are fine as they are.

“It’s already difficult for some producers in those particularly dry areas of the country to manage dust and meet their standards,” Walmsley said. “If we were to tighten those standards even further it would bring in much larger parts of the country and make it that much more difficult to produce food and fiber.”

There are lots of ways that stricter regulations could have affected farmers and ranchers in areas not meeting EPA air quality standards, he noted.

“Those could be things like very low speed limits on dirt roads. They could be the inability to get into your fields in certain times of the year to plow or harvest crops, your inability to move livestock or the requirements to wet large swaths of land to control that dust would be costly and very difficult for many farmers and ranchers,” he said.

“We’re glad to see that EPA is taking into account what scientific evidence or lack of scientific evidence that’s out there and not tighten the standard any further.”

To hear the full Newsline report or to read the transcript, go to the AFBF website, http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=newsroom.newsclip&id=69743.

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