Cattle Producers Appreciate Congress’ Attention to Increased Dust Regulations

US - R-Calf USA President/Region V Director Chuck Kiker commended several members of Congress for taking the lead in opposing recent rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would regulate dust and coarse particulate matter found in agricultural operations.
calendar icon 17 October 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. John T. Salazar, D-Colo., all have raised concerns about the ruling. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has agreed to visit Grassley’s farm on Wednesday to learn firsthand why agriculture producers across the country are worried about this issue.

Grassley said EPA’s failure to exclude agriculture from the agency’s particulate matter regulations does not make sense.

“I’d like to have him (Johnson) visibly see, when the wind’s blowing 20 miles per hour and dust’s coming out of the combine, that you don’t keep it within your fence rows,” said Grassley. “And that’s really what his rules are requiring.”

Goodlatte said he is deeply concerned and troubled by the direction the EPA is taking to regulate dust and coarse particulate matter because of the significant ramifications these new standards will have in the agriculture sector.

“What we are talking about here is dust, and despite the best efforts of farmers to minimize the impact of their operations on the environment, the reality is: dust happens,” said Goodlatte. “By reducing the fine particle emission levels by nearly 50 percent, the EPA has made it virtually impossible for many sectors of agriculture to be able to comply, even when implementing all available best-management practices. The cattle industry alone could not operate under such stringent regulations.”

Moran also has invited Johnson to get a firsthand look at agriculture in Kansas to see how this rule will adversely affect farmers and ranchers there. Moran cautioned that the EPA has not based its decision on conclusive scientific evidence documenting the potential health effects of coarse particulate matter.

“Beyond that, even if all available management practices are implemented by those in the agriculture industry, it will be nearly impossible to comply with these regulations,” he said.

Salazar echoed those concerns.

“I don't understand how EPA can regulate agriculture dust when science shows that dust coming from farms and ranches has no impact on human health,” he said.

“R-CALF appreciates these Members taking a lead on this issue, and we look forward to Congress ensuring that ranchers are not burdened by increased regulations,” Kiker concluded.

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