Thursday, September 15, 2011

Senators file bill to ban farm-dust regulation, ask EPA to back its statements by endorsing it

Federal officials say they have no plans to regulate dust from farms, but some of their statements and actions appear to have created much skepticism, if not disbelief. Some Republican senators have introduced a bill to prohibit such regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is proposing to tighten general standards for dust.

Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Charles Grassley of Iowa wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking her to endorse their bill, "given your previous statements, which appear to be completely consistent with this legislation." The bill would prohibit regulation of farm dust unless there was scientific proof that it causes harm, reports Elise Viebeck of The Hill.

The uncertainty may stem from EPA's attempts to reduce dust in Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix. In February, the agency found that the county had failed to limit dust to currently allowable levels. "EPA is proposing 53 measures in the Maricopa area to reduce dust. Many of these measures impact agriculture," lawyer-farmer Gary Baise of Illinois wrote for Farm Futures.

EPA has been regulating farm dust in the desert county since 1996. Here is a report about it. In June, EPA complimented the county for its new dust-abatement handbook. Recently the county suffered huge dust storms.

No comments: