The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson received a letter from 101 members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing concerns about EPA's potential revision to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Coarse Particulate Matter, more commonly known as dust. Led by Congresswoman Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Congressman Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., the policymakers collectively emphasized the devastating impact farmers, ranchers and all of rural America would feel if the EPA moves forward with regulating dust at unprecedented levels.
"This bipartisan effort to protect farmers, ranchers and all of rural America from a burdensome, unnecessary and scientifically unfounded regulation is reassuring. We firmly stand behind and strongly support this effort to relieve farm and ranch families from the massive heap of regulations coming out of the EPA," said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "We hope Administrator Jackson and all of the officials at EPA are listening to the continuous calls from elected leaders to use science and commonsense when proposing or even considering regulations. So far, it appears these countless pleas have fallen on deaf ears."
The potential revision of the NAAQS to a level as low as 65-85 µg/m3, or twice as stringent as the current standard, is below naturally occurring levels of dust in some states. By EPA's own admission, the number of counties in nonattainment would more than double.
"At a time when the focus of the administration should be on economic development and job creation, the EPA is instead promulgating rules which may have the opposite effect. If implemented, the standards could subject farmers, livestock producers and industry to burdensome regulations, which could result in fines amounting to $37,500 a day for violations," penned the members of Congress. "We strongly encourage the EPA not to implement the more stringent standards."