In the fall, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency will not seek to revise the standards for coarse particulate matter (PM10), or dust, alleviating major concerns for farmers and ranchers throughout the country, especially in the west. Nevertheless, there is still anxiety by some that this announcement is just a slight victory, while the days of farm dust being regulated further by EPA are not too far down the road.
There have been ongoing efforts in Congress to halt or delay EPA from revising the standards. Legislation introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD.), the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 1633), would exempt farm dust from falling under the purview of the Clean Air Act for one year. On Dec. 8, the legislation passed the House of Representatives by a resounding vote of 268-150. The bill has now been sent to the Senate, where many are skeptical it will ever see further action. Prior to the bill’s passage in the House, President Barack Obama sent a message to Congress that he would veto the legislation if it were to reach his desk. A large coalition of agriculture stakeholders, including NMPF, sent a letter pledging support for Rep. Noem’s legislation.