August 2, 2010

Something else for the federal government to regulate: dust

By Something else for the federal government to regulate: dust

Author: Brandon Middleton

As if the agriculture industry isn't regulated enough:

The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency is considering a crackdown on farm dust, so senators have signed
a letter addressing their concerns on the possible regulations.

The letter dated July 23 to the EPA states, "If
approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation
of dust in our nation's history." It further states, "We respect
efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of
common sense. These identified levels will be extremely burdensome for
farmers and livestock producers to attain. Whether its livestock kicking
up dust, soybeans being combined on a dry day in the fall, or driving a
car down the gravel road, dust is a naturally occurring event."

Many in the Oklahoma farming industry are opposed
to the EPA's consideration. One farmer said the possible regulations are
ridiculous.

"It's plain common sense, we don't want to do
anything detrimental," said farmer Curtis Roberts. "If the dust is
detrimental to us, it's going to be to everybody. We're not going to do
anything to hurt ourselves or our farm."

Roberts, a fourth generation farmer and rancher in
Arcadia, said regulating dust in rural areas will hurt farmers'
harvest, cultivation and livelihood.

"Anytime you work ground, you're going to have
dust. I don't know how they'll regulate it," Roberts said. "The
regulations are going to put us down and keep us from doing things we
need to be doing because of the EPA."

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling said
the rules could be detrimental to farmers across the Sooner State.

"We as an organization do not feel dust is a
pollutant," Spradling said. "It would almost be impossible to comply
with what's being addressed now from the EPA as in agriculture. We're
doing everything we possibly can."

"It's just common sense, we don't like dust in the
morning but it's something we got to live with," Roberts said.

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