The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging members of the House to support a bill that would exclude from federal regulation dust that occurs naturally in the course of normal farming activities.
Arizona Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Rogers testified on behalf of AFBF to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act. Rogers called for passage of the bill, noting, "It makes common sense amendments to the Clean Air Act, to prevent federal regulation of natural occurrences and naturally occurring dust from normal farming operations, unless there is a substantial evidence of adverse health impacts."
Closer to home, Montana Farm Bureau Vice President of Governmental Relations John Youngberg noted that passage of this bill is important because, "There is no definite scientific data that dust from rural activities affects human health. If it's ever concluded that is does, then that issue will be addressed. However, existing data shows that the particulate matter, or dust as everyone calls it, caused by plowing a field or driving down a dirt road, creates large particles that are deemed harmless."
Unlike other types of particulate matter that are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, dust is naturally occurring in rural areas. Planting and harvesting crops, livestock moving from place to place and people driving down dirt roads are just a few of the ways dust occurs naturally in rural areas. Regulation of naturally occurring dust is a concern for America's farmers and ranchers because it could restrict normal farming activities like these, making it cost more—if not making it impossible—to produce food.
"Although EPA has stated that regulating dust from farming operations has never been their intent, this issue continues to arise. This legislation should remove the threat of legislation for good and give farmers and ranchers certainty that their operations won't be regulated out of business," concluded Youngberg.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103