When it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency's intentions on dust regulations, Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., says all that's heard are intentionally vague statements and mixed signals. According to the Johanns, their claim that they have no plans to regulate farm dust conflict with their statements that they're not able to distinguish farm dust from other regulated dust.
If regulation of farm dust truly is a myth, as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has suggested, Johanns says she should debunk that myth once and for all by supporting a bill he and Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced stopping EPA from regulating farm dust. Johanns says he believes farmers and ranchers would applaud her for providing this certainty.
"The EPA has been giving conflicting answers and having it both ways on the dust issue for long enough," Grassley said. "It's time for Administrator Jackson to set the record straight and put the word out to the employees of the EPA that agriculture dust is off the table."
Grassley points out that when soybeans are at the right moisture level, they need to be combined, and if God determined that the wind is going to blow that day, there's absolutely nothing a farmer can do. Dust happens.
"I've brought the EPA Administrator to Iowa and argued for years now about the ridiculousness of the EPA's trying to regulate the dust kicked up by a tractor in the field or a car on a gravel road, but the EPA hasn't given up its effort to regulate rural dust," Grassley said. "The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act says that the EPA can't lower the level of dust allowed under what it calls a particulate standard without showing there is a substantial health risk caused by farm dust, and that the lowering of the level allowed has a benefit that's greater than the economic harm it would cause."
According to Grassley the Clean Air Act does not currently differentiate between urban and rural dust, so the bill provides the EPA with a distinction between the two for implementation of air quality standards.