The Ag Minute: Tighter Dust Standard Would Cripple Ag Economy

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas, discusses the negative economic impact of a stricter regulatory standard for dust controls on the agricultural economy. The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review the standards for particle pollution every five years. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is expected to make a decision this summer on whether to maintain the current standard.

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"Those of us who live in the countryside and work on farms know that dust is a part of life.

"With that in mind, the threat of the Environmental Protection Agency tightening the regulatory standard for dust controls has many of us concerned because of the economic impact it would have on farmers.

"In order to come into compliance with a tighter standard, farmers would have to cut back on production activities, sell off portions of their cattle, or not farm on dry days.  Worst, farmers would have to divert resources away from producing food and fiber just to find ways to settle dust. 

"Currently, feedyards in dry climates are spending as much as $1,000 a day to control it. 

"The EPA will decide whether to tighten U.S. controls on dust by this summer.  But, given the track record of the agency, Members of Congress are not taking any chances.

"That’s why I joined my colleagues in cosponsoring H.R. 1633, The Farm Dust Regulation Act of 2011.  This legislation would block dust regulation by the EPA in rural areas where state dust laws are already in effect.

"EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson likes to say that the threat of a stricter standard is just a ‘myth and misconception.’  Unless she backs up her words, this is nothing more than a hollow assurance."

The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.