Friday, December 14, 2012

EPA announces it will not tighten farm dust regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its national clean air standards today without tightening “farm dust” standards. "EPA's final decision today on national clean air standards will have no impact on farm dust from agricultural operations, as they have indicated for more than a year,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in response. “I commend EPA Administrator Jackson for her efforts to reach out to the agricultural community and to make it clear that EPA had no interest in regulating farm dust.” Uthe Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is required to review its air quality standards every five years. According to EPA, a federal court required the agency to issue a final standard by December 14, because it did not meet its five-year legal deadline. In June, EPA proposed to retain the coarse particulate matter (PM-10) standard, and several farm groups submitted comments encouraging EPA to make that proposal final. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald said her organization “is relieved that EPA listened to rural America and realized that further tightening the dust standard would have disastrous effects on America’s agricultural economy.” She said if the PM standard had been tightened, “it would have been virtually impossible for current agricultural operations to demonstrate compliance, subjecting them to fines under the CAA of up to $37,500 per day” noted NCBA.  McDonald added that NCBA will continue to fight EPA’s dust standard until legislation is passed by Congress that gives cattle producers permanent relief from dust regulations...more

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