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December 17, 2012

EPA Pledges No New Farm Dust Regulations

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The EPA has kept its word about farm dust regulations. American Farm Bureau Regulatory Specialist Andrew Walmsley says that’s a big relief for a lot of farmers and ranchers. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has more on the story.
Miller:Any idea what “course particulate matter” is? It’s the government’s way of talking about farm dust when it’s discussing how to regulate it. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency determined there is currently no need to make those regulations any tougher. American Farm Bureau Regulatory Specialist Andrew Walmsley says that’s good news for farmers and ranchers.
Walmsley:There were concerns that they might tighten standards for farm dust without a whole lot of scientific evidence. There is not evidence that suggests that it causes harmful impacts to human health.
Miller:Under the Clean Air Act EPA must review its air quality standards every five years. When the agency missed that deadline a federal court ordered them to make a decision by December 14th. Walmsley says EPA had indicated that tougher rules would be for soot – or fine particulate matter – and not for farm dust.
Walmsley:EPA has stuck by its word. It’s stuck by what the science says.
Miller:And that’s important to farmers and ranchers, because they could have been severely affected by any new rules.
Walmsley:It could possibly make it difficult to move cattle, to plant, to plow, to do the necessary fieldwork it takes to farm and ranch today. In areas of the country where it tends to be dusty, simply moving cattle could kick up too much dust. Driving a truck down a dry dirt road would potentially put areas out of compliance. Everyday farming activities would come under question, it would increase the cost of food. It would make it that much harder for a farmer to be competitive if these standards were tightened.
Miller:And luckily, for at least five more years, they won’t. Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have one extra actuality with AFBF Regulatory Specialist Andrew Walmsley. In the first extra actuality talks about how farm dust came to be an EPA issue. The cut runs 12 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Walmsley:Several years ago the EPA set standards for air quality on particulate matter PM-10 which is basically earth, dust, farm dust and it made it difficult for some areas of the country to meet those standards. 
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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