“With record high unemployment and deficits, it is beyond understanding as to why EPA would even think about regulating farm dust.”

Foglesong testified that the regulation of dust under the Clean Air Act (CAA) is supposed to be based on a finding by scientists of adverse health effects. Historically, he said there has been no evidence of adverse health effects from farm dust at ambient levels. But EPA has decided to regulate it anyway. In 2006, EPA based its decision on the precautionary principle. 

“That’s right, EPA’s dust regulation is not based on science but on caution,” said Foglesong.

“In an effort to bring a little common sense back into the process, cattlemen believe the best solution is for Congress to pass the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011. That way regulatory decisions regarding dust will be left to state and local government instead of the federal one-size-fits-all approach.”

He cautioned that no one can be sure of the outcome of the rulemaking until it is final.

Foglesong still worries about the future since the CAA requires the standard come under scrutiny every five years. He said the only way to provide certainty to farmers and ranchers is for Congress to pass the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“The fact is, farmers and ranchers want and need certainty about this issue. Regulatory uncertainty is unnecessary and unproductive,” said Foglesong.

“If EPA follows through and does not revise the dust standard, such an action would only provide us with certainty for five years. It provides no relief to those producers who are spending more than $1,000 per day on dust control measures right now.

“We need immediate, permanent relief from federal dust regulation on farms. And cattlemen believe the best way to achieve that is by passing the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act.”

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