EPA announcement welcomed by farm groups

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced its regulatory standards for what it generally considers to be farm dust.

“The standard has served the nation well; served the agency well, and at this time we are making no change in it,” said Karl Brooks, administrator of EPA’s Region Seven office in Kansas City. To leave as is the so-called Particulate Matter 10 regulatory standard is reassurance that the agency will not strengthen regulation of farm dust, said Brooks, in an interview with Brownfield Monday.

“Controversy about whether the agency would be doing something new or something different has always been one generated, I think, more by misunderstanding than by fact,” said Brooks. “This should set that controversy to rest.”

Farm groups are relieved about the announcement. American Farm Bureau Congressional Relations Specialist Rick Krause is among them.

“The announcement is telling everybody that EPA will not change the standard and make it more stringent,” said Krause. “To that effect it puts a lot of our minds at ease.”

Farm dust is regulated, according to Krause, but the just a few areas of the country are out of compliance of the current PM 10 standards, including desert areas of Arizona and California

Krause cites a couple of bills pending in Congress that he says would exempt from regulation naturally occurring nuisance farm dust and dust from normal farming activities.

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