Grassley, Johanns Work to Stop Long Reach of the EPA in Regulating Dust

Senator Chuck Grassley

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today introduced legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating dust in rural America while maintaining the protections of the Clean Air Act to the public’s health and welfare. Grassley introduced the bill with Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska.

Grassley first began asking questions about the EPA’s proposed dust rules in 2006. He has hounded the EPA as the rule has progressed through the regulating process to ensure that the unique aspects of agriculture and rural America are accounted for. Grassley has invited the last two EPA administrators to Iowa to see for themselves the important role that farmers play in their communities. Administrator Stephen Johnson came to Iowa in 2006 and heard directly from several farmers and agriculture specialists. Current Administrator Lisa Jackson sent two staff members to Iowa in 2009 to spend the day with Grassley touring a family farm, the Iowa State University research facility and a biodiesel plant.

“In each of my most recent town hall meetings the excessive amount of regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. and the impact on small businesses and rural communities was a top issue,” Grassley said. “The dust rule is a perfect example. It makes no sense to regulate the dust coming out of a combine harvesting soybeans or the dust off a gravel road of a pick-up truck traveling into town. If the administration were to decide to revise the standard, farmers and livestock producers will likely be unable to attain the standard levels and the rural economy would be devastated.”

The bill takes a two prong approach to keep the EPA from regulating farm dust. First, it prevents the EPA from revising the current dust standard for one year from date of enactment.

The bill also provides flexibility for states, localities, and tribes to regulate “nuisance dust.” Nuisance dust is defined in the bill to exclude the type of dust typical of rural areas (unpaved roads and dust resulting from agricultural activities) from the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) regulation targeted at harmful air pollutants. If the state, tribal, or local government chooses to regulate nuisance dust, these regulations would supersede any regulations put forth by the federal government under the Clean Air Act. If there are no local regulations in place and the EPA wants to regulate this type of dust, the EPA must find that the specific type of dust or particulate matter causes adverse health effects and that the benefits of applying EPA’s standard to that area outweigh the costs to the local and regional communities, including economic and employment impacts. The Clean Air Act does not currently differentiate between urban and rural dust, so this provides the EPA with a distinction between the two for implementation of air quality standards.

A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

Posted by on Sep 8 2011. Filed under National News, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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