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Agricultural News

Senator Pleads Rural Dust's Case to EPA

Tue, 10 Aug 2010 18:27:07 CDT

Senator Pleads Rural Dustís Case to EPA
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar has written Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, asking that "commonsense" be used in considering the federal regulation of farm dust.

"As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers regulations concerning particulate matter under the Clean Air Act, I wanted to share with you my concerns about the potential impact of these regulations on Indiana, especially on farms and rural communities," Lugar wrote.

"As a Hoosier farmer, I understand and appreciate that many agriculturally based processes associated with tillage, harvesting and transporting grains and forages, raising livestock, and agronomic input applications can generate dust. In addition, due to a variety of reasons, many roads in Indiana create dust when they are traveled upon due to their design. As you deliberate potential regulations that may limit dust emissions, I urge to be mindful of the impact these actions may have on Indiana farmers, agriculture related businesses, and counties and municipalities responsible for road maintenance.

"It is important that public health protections be improved as our scientific understanding dictates, and I trust that any changes to current regulations will be based on these standards. As these regulations are further considered, I hope that commonsense regarding the realities of farming and rural business in Indiana are thoroughly considered."

A similar issue arose in 1997 during the Clinton Administration. Lugar, then Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, called then EPA Administrator Carol Browner before the committee to gain assurances that EPA would not target farmers. Browner said at the time, "These new air quality standards will not require any farmer to change the way he does his job. EPA is not going to regulate farmers as a means of reducing fine particulates in the air. We will not restrict tilling. We will not regulate ammonia from animal wastes. And there isn't going to be any wholesale action against agricultural burning on private lands."



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