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NCBA Members Discuss EPA Proposals

29 September 2010

US - During the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Legislative Conference Sept. 14-16, 2010, cattlemen and women discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent policy assessment for particulate matter (dust) with their respective lawmakers.

The providers of food for a growing global population encouraged their elected leaders to sign a letter led by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) expressing concerns regarding EPA's stringent regulations void of science and reality. NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies said their efforts paid off.

"Due in part to our members speaking up, a bipartisan group of 75 lawmakers signed the letter issuing concern about the draft policy assessment EPA released in July," said Ms Thies.

"It would be virtually impossible for many critical US industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best-management practices to control dust. All of us certainly want to keep our communities healthy, but this is nothing more than the everyday dust kicked up by a car driving down a dirt road, and it has long been found to be of no health concern at ambient levels."

The July draft policy assessment "lays the foundation for establishing the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation's history," the lawmakers wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Monday, Sept. 27, 2010.

"We urge the EPA to refrain from going down this path." The lawmakers said they are "hopeful common sense will prevail and EPA will refrain from causing extreme hardships to farmers, livestock producers, and other resource-based industries throughout rural America."

Last week, US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) held a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee to express concerns directly to Ms Jackson.

"There's a feeling out in the country that you walked in, the president walked in, and every idea for more regulation was dusted off and cut loose and agriculture is under attack," said US Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.). "That's how people feel."

On September 28, 2010, Ms Thies will speak on behalf of US cattle producers during a forum for House members regarding EPA's actions.

"Farmers and ranchers could be fined for everyday activities like driving a tractor down a dirt road or tilling a field," said Ms Thies. "It would effectively bring economic growth and development to a halt in many areas of the country. We are talking about jobs here. I will speak firmly against EPA's attempt to regulate our members out of business. This needs to stop now."

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