The federal government is backing away from tighter air-quality regulations that generated a controversy over farm dust. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement that it hopes the action 'finally puts an end to the myth that the agency is planning to expand regulation of farm dust.'
Farmers, the agricultural lobby and many members of Congress had warned for months that a recommendation from an EPA science committee to tighten standards for what the agency calls 'PM 10, or coarse particulates' could fall heavily on farmers and small businesses.
EPA officials have continually said they had no interest in regulating farm dust, noting that only a few of the air monitors that measured coarse particulates were in rural areas. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said last week in letters to members of Congress that she is prepared to propose the retention with no revision of the current PM l0 standard.
Last week, a coalition of more than 70 groups expressed strong support for a bill that would exempt rural nuisance dust already regulated by states and localities from regulation under the Clean Air Act.
Tuesday October 18, 2011/USAgnet.