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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Senators Join 18 Colleagues in Pushing Back on EPA's Ideas of Stricter Dust Regulations

Sun, 25 Jul 2010 21:49:30 CDT

Oklahoma Senators Join 18 Colleagues in Pushing Back on EPA's Ideas of Stricter Dust Regulations Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is leading a group of senators calling on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to use common sense on future regulations on dust, and reminding her of the administration's focus on rural America and the negative impact such regulations could have on Main Street. Both of Oklahoma's Senators have signed this letter to Ms. Jackson.   

The senators' letter follows a recently released second draft policy assessment on particulate matter from the EPA. The EPA staff concluded that the Administrator could either retain the current standards on particulate matter or make them more stringent.

"Considering the EPA's history on agriculture issues, I'm greatly concerned that this puts us one step closer to imposing more regulations on farmers," Grassley said. "We all want a clean and healthy environment, but it defies common sense to mandate that farmers keep dust between their fence rows when combining or that the county government keep gravel dust on the road."

Grassley reiterated that if the Administrator were to revise the dust standard, farmers and livestock producers would likely be unable to attain the standard levels and the rural economy would be devastated.

Here's a copy of the text of the letter. The signed letter had the support of a total of 20 Senators, including Grassley and Senators Saxby Chambliss, Sam Brownback, Mike Johanns, Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson, Pat Roberts, Mike Enzi, Johnny Isakson, Mike Crapo, Thad Cochran, Jim Bunning, George Voinovich, John Cornyn, John Thune, James Risch, Jim Inhofe, Tom Coburn, John Barrasso and Blanche Lincoln.

July 23, 2010

The Honorable Lisa Jackson
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We write to convey our continued concerns regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest actions in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as required every five years under the Clean Air Act. The Second Draft Policy Assessment (PA) for Particulate Matter (PM) released on July 8, 2010 in the Federal Register, if approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation's history.

According to the PA for Particulate Matter, EPA would be justified in either retaining the current levels of 150 ?g/m3 for regulating coarse PM or in revising it to levels as low as 65-85 ?g/m3, depending on the emphasis placed on the evidence and uncertainties. A coarse PM NAAQS of 65-85 ?g/m3 would be twice as stringent as the current standard. The current standards have been difficult if not impossible for industries in the Western portion of the country to attain, including agricultural operations.

We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense. These identified levels will be extremely burdensome for farmers and livestock producers to attain. Whether its livestock kicking up dust, soybeans being combined on a dry day in the fall, or driving a car down the gravel road, dust is a naturally occurring event.

Producers could potentially be fined for not meeting the PM standards while still practicing good management practices on their soils. Considering the Administration's focus on rural America and rural economic development, a proposal such as this could have a negative effect on those very goals. If the EPA publishes a rule that regulates dust at these low levels, excessive dust control measures could be imposed which could slow economic development and impose significant costs to farmers and businesses. Since EPA would be justified in retaining the current standard, then the current standard should be retained.

When the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee's (CASAC) meets on July 26, 2010 to review this PA and consider revising the current PM standards, we encourage you to consider maintaining the primary and secondary standards or, in the alternative, consider different PM indicators. In particular, we ask that CASAC focus attention on EPA's choice to not adopt a PM10-2.5 standard. Common sense requires the EPA to acknowledge that the wind blows, and so does dust.




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