View Full Version : EPA says farmers must keep dust down!

03-02-2009, 11:12 PM
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Article published: Feb 28, 2009
EPA says farmers must keep dust down

DES MOINES Nothing says summer in Iowa like a cloud of dust behind a combine.

But what may be a fact of life for farmers is a cause for concern to federal regulators, who are refusing to exempt growers from new environmental regulations.

It's left some farmers feeling bemused and more than a little frustrated.

"It's such a non-commonsense idea that you can keep dust within a property line when the wind blows," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who still farms in New Hartford.

Under rules imposed in 2006, rural areas would be kept to the same standards as urban areas for what the Environmental Protection Agency calls "coarse particulate matter" in the air.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council had petitioned the government to provide an exemption to farmers. They argued that evidence of harm caused by dust in rural areas has not been determined.

But the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington ruled Tuesday that the EPA already had provided the evidence necessary to determine farm dust "likely is not safe."

Michael Formica, a lawyer for the pork council, said this means farmers face the daunting task of having to prove that the dust is not harmful.

Formica said his and other groups will consider a further appeal.

Farmers said they will be hard-pressed to meet the standards.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the EPA, Grassley wrote that compliance would be impossible because of the dust produced in farmers' day-to-day activities.

"After all, God decides when the wind blows, not Chuck Grassley," he said.

But the EPA said the regulation was overdue.

Every five years, the Clean Air Act requires the agency to review the newest scientific information and recommend changes to its standards.

In 2006, the EPA determined larger particles in the air than previously thought were a danger to the public. The increased threshold covered air mixes that occur in rural areas.

EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn said the changes are not just a matter of regulating dust. They serve the public's well-being and, regardless of whether someone lives in a rural or urban area, the threshold for unsafe levels of dust in the air must remain consistent nationally.

"It's health-based," she said. "We don't look at a particular industry. The goal is to protect public health."

When counties reach "non-attainment" levels, it becomes a state's responsibility to bring the county back into acceptable levels.

Milbourn said various options exist for states, such as retrofitting buses that run on diesel engines.

But farmers insist the regulation will affect their operations and eventually their bottom lines. And they said unlike fixing a bus, they have few options for limiting dust from their fields and roads.

Roger Zylstra, a Lynnville farmer and director with the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said if left alone, farmers can compete worldwide. But regulation could impede their success.

"We think we've met the demands that have been put upon us and lo and behold, we have new and even more stringent demands," Zylstra said. "It seems really unrealistic."


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03-04-2009, 03:22 AM
F'ing liberal hippies

03-04-2009, 03:28 AM
The stupidity of Environmentalists never ceases to amaze me.

03-04-2009, 03:28 AM
F'ing liberal hippiesOK, everyone needs to memorize this thread. It's perfect for the "talk down the terrorist" method!

03-04-2009, 03:51 AM
OK, everyone needs to memorize this thread. It's perfect for the "talk down the terrorist" method!
Yeah, lets sit down and talk to Iran while we're at it. Oh wait a second, we voted for the guy who thinks that's going to work and then the Jihadists will be our friends! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

03-04-2009, 12:09 PM
I work with the EPA everyday at my job...so this is no suprise to me at all! They make their money from fines...so when times are tough, guess what?! They are only going to have more regulations from here on out.
Like I said before...I didn't vote for the man!