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Agriculture Today

EPA will not regulate dust at stricter levels

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October 26, 2011 | 2,728 views | Post a comment

FORT WORTH -- The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association applauded the announcement Oct. 17 by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson that the agency would not impose stronger agricultural dust regulations on Texas ranchers.

The cattle raisers association and other cattle industry organizations worked continuously to ensure these regulations never came to fruition.

“Regulating rural dust would have had a devastating economic impact on ranchers who are already battling an unprecedented drought and wildfires alongside a list of proposed burdensome and unnecessary government regulations,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) president. “TSCRA worked hard to put an end to this proposal, and we are pleased to see that the EPA finally realized how damaging this regulation would have been.”

According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, no science-based evidence exists that would have justified the burdensome, costly regulations that would have resulted in ranchers being fined for working in dusty environments in rural America.

Had the EPA followed through with their proposal, Texas and other states would have been classified as nonattainment areas. These areas would have been primarily located in rural parts of the country where dust naturally occurs. The potential revision of the federal dust standard could have been below naturally occurring levels of dust in many states, making it impossible to meet.

According to the EPA, the current standard will remain in place for at least five years.

Parker said that while this announcement is a big win for Texas ranchers, the EPA could propose a stricter dust standard in the future. This is why the cattle raisers will continue to support the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. This legislation would essentially exempt ranchers from dust regulation if state and local authorities have already implemented dust-control measures.

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