EPA tries to clear the air on farm dust regulations


At a roundtable discussion in Fargo, North Dakota, on Friday morning, EPA Region 8 Administrator James Martin tried to reassure producers that a routine review of National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act doesn’t mean that EPA officials are targeting agricultural areas.

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Martin referred to PM2 and PM10, particulate matter that’s smaller than two and 10 microns, where a micron is one-millionth of a meter – much smaller than the diameter of a human hair –the kind of particles that can penetrate the deepest part of your lungs…  Outside of large urban areas like Denver or Salt Lake City, Martin says it’s hard to imagine there being non-attainment areas in EPA Region 8, especially in rural areas.However, Martin says the Joaquin Valley of California is one area in the nation where the issue is relevant.

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During prepared testimony for the House Ag Committee in March, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the claim that the EPA is attempting to expand regulation of dust from farms is a mischaracterization, and that the agency has no plans to do so.

Last month, Republican lawmakers introduced similar legislation in the House and Senate known as “The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act”.

It would prevent the EPA from imposing more stringent particulate standards on agricultural practices for one year.

On Friday, October 14, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to hold a hearing on the House bill introduced by South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem.

Rusty Halvorson-Farm Broadcaster