Last month, 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 is 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. The bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 33-16, and is now expected to move to the House floor. A large coalition of agriculture stakeholders, including NMPF, has signed a letter pledging support for Rep. Noem’s legislation.