NCBA's Ashley Lyon Says More Work to be Done on Dust RegsMon, 20 Feb 2012 14:56:48 CST
A sweeping overhaul to dust standards proposed last year under the direction of EPA administrator Lisa Jackson threatened devastating consequences to production agriculture and cattle producers. Leading the charge against the EPA’s sweeping proposal was the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Ashley Lyon, who specializes in regulatory issues in the NCBA’s Washing, D.C., office, says some progress was made last year, but there is still more work to be done.
She said her group and others were unsuccessful in getting the regulations withdrawn by the EPA, but they played a key part in getting the House of Representatives to pass the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act. The act is still pending in the Senate, but it did slow the regulatory juggernaut.
“We saw this as a key piece of legislation to give farmers and ranchers permanent certainty that the EPA is not going to start regulating all across America all farm dust,” she said. “We still have a lot of work to do to get it through the Senate and get it signed by the president who has threatened to veto it.”
Lyon said that Jackson had made a commitment to some lawmakers that she would leave in place current standards and not push the new regulation, but Lyon said she would like to see the EPA administrator put words into action.
“She made a commitment via letter to some senators, so we would like to see her follow through on that commitment this summer and finalize a standard that does in fact retain the current standard.”
While that would be a great victory, Lyon said, it does not solve the problem of the EPA attempting to regulate dust at a later time. The rule retaining the current standard committed to by Jackson would have to be re-examined in five years.
“That’s why we need the legislation to make that criterion permanent,” Lyon said. She said the EPA administrator needs to be made aware “that she has no authority to regulate dust in rural areas unless there is a serious problem. We will be in this same boat five years from now if we don’t get something through Congress that permanently takes the authority away from the EPA.”
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