WASHINGTON (National Cattlemen's Beef Association) — Regulating dust generated by everyday activities in rural America is yet another example of overregulation passed down by this administration, according to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President (NCBA) Bill Donald, who is a Montana rancher.
Donald, along with Public Lands Council President John Falen, a Nevada rancher, submitted a letter of support to Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) for her attempt to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from doubling the stringency of the Coarse Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standard, more commonly called the dust standard by proposing the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (H.R. 1633). The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Robert Hurt (R-Va.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.).
“EPA has already laid the foundation for regulating dust at unprecedented levels,” said Donald. “This standard would put large portions of land, including my family operation, in the Midwest, West and Southwest into nonattainment. Economic growth would suffer. And, for what purpose? It is well known at EPA that scientific studies have never shown that rural agricultural dust causes health concerns at ambient levels.”
The proposed bipartisan 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. Falen said this proposed bill not only provides immediate relief but would also give states and localities the first opportunity to protect their citizens.
“This legislation would remove the threat of premature regulation by requiring EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to make specific findings before EPA is allowed to regulate dust generated from agricultural activities,” said Falen. “Included in these determinations is a finding of health effects and a cost/benefit analysis, which would require EPA to recognize the financial hardship this costly regulation would impose on rural America.”
According to Donald and Falen, NCBA and PLC support passage of H.R. 1633 because it restores common sense to the dust standard while also maintaining the protections of the Clean Air Act.