Lucas and House Members Tell Obama's EPA No More Burdensome Regulations

Sep 27, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT:
Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) along with his House Agriculture Committee colleague Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging it to refrain from imposing burdensome farm dust regulations on America's farmers and ranchers. Rep. Lummis spearheaded the effort and the letter was sent with the support of 74 other U.S. Representatives.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM). The Second Draft Policy Assessment (PA) for PM released on July 8, 2010 in the Federal Register lays the foundation for establishing the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation's history.  Presently, scientific studies do not support the need for revising the dust standard.  In fact, according to the PA, the science would justify leaving it as is. Yet, the Obama administration is signaling its intent to proceed with the new standard.
 
"Dust is a daily factor of farm life and it's been around since before the first plow was ever created.  To try to regulate it out of existence as the Obama administration is trying to do lacks any kind of good sense there is.  This would be laughable if it weren't so serious, if it didn't put the livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers in economic jeopardy.  The threat that the EPA will impose what amounts to a zero-tolerance on farm dust is a great concern and I urge the EPA to reconsider this policy path," Ranking Member Frank Lucas.
 
 “The Obama EPA’s unprecedented attempts to regulate dust on farms and ranches is just another example of how out-of-touch this Administration is. Clear evidence acknowledges that the dust standard revision is unnecessary. Yet despite results from scientific studies, the EPA is continuing its attempts to control the day-to-day operations on ranches and farms. It’s time the EPA rethink the consequences the farm dust regulation will have on the people who feed us,” Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
 
 To view the letter click here. The text of the letter is below:
 
 September 27, 2010
 
The Honorable Lisa Jackson
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
 
Dear Administrator Jackson:
 
We write to convey our continued concerns regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest actions in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM).  The Second Draft Policy Assessment (PA) for PM released on July 8, 2010 in the Federal Register lays the foundation for establishing the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history.  We urge the EPA to refrain from going down this path.
 
Scientific studies are at best ambiguous in support of tightening the existing coarse PM standard.  According to the PA, the science would justify leaving the standard as it is, in terms of public health.  It is also critical to maintain the current standard for economic sustainability.   A coarse PM NAAQS of 65-85 µg/m3 would be approximately twice as stringent as the current standard and would require the designation of many more non-attainment areas than currently exist, particularly in rural areas.  The current standards have been very difficult and expensive for industries in the Western part of the country to attain, including agricultural and other resource-based industries.  The possibility of those same industries having to meet a standard that is twice as stringent causes us great concern, especially when a revision is not required by science.
 
In addition, contrary to EPA’s assertion, a dust standard in the range of 65-85 µg/m³ with a 98th percentile form is not equal to the current standard of 150 µg/m³ with a 99th percentile form in arid rural areas of the United States.  In fact, it appears that such a standard would target rural areas.  Considering the Administration’s claim that it is focusing on revitalizing rural America and rural economic development, a proposal such as this would have a significant negative impact on those very goals.
 
While we respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, scientific studies do not support the need for revising the dust standard.  We are hopeful that common sense will prevail and the EPA will refrain from causing extreme hardship to farmers, livestock producers, and other resource-based industries throughout rural America. Whether it is livestock kicking up dust, corn being combined, or a pickup driving down a gravel road, dust is a naturally-occurring event in rural areas. Common sense requires the EPA to acknowledge that the wind blows dust around in these areas, and that is a fact of life.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rep. Cynthia Lummis
Rep. Frank Lucas et al.
 
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