There will be no changes to existing regulation of farm dust, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed late last week.
The announcement was part of an update to fine particulate matter (PM) regulations, which primarily impact soot. Coarse particulate matter like farm dust will continue to be regulated as it has been in the past.
EPA is required under the Clean Air Act to review air quality standards every five years. The Agency had not issued its report within the five-year timeframe, so it was required by a court order to do so by Dec. 14.
The review of PM standards had been ongoing for more than a year when EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced in October 2011 that the Agency had no intention of further regulating coarse PM.
NAWG, farm groups and farm state legislators had argued that dust is a fact of farming life and further regulation would effectively shut down the agricultural economy in many areas.
Despite the earlier assurances, EPA’s recent announcement is an appreciated measure of certainty for farmers in a very uncertain policy environment.
More from EPA on particulate matter regulation is at http://www.epa.gov/pm/.
More on NAWG’s work related to environmental regulation is available at www.wheatworld.org/environmentalregulation.