As anticipated, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Policy Assessment for the Review of the Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

According to Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the policy assessment is an important document in the regulatory process that sets forth the EPA staff’s advice to the administrator about the regulation of coarse particulate matter, more commonly known as dust.

In the final policy assessment, agency staffers determined that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson would be justified in either keeping the current standard or tightening it to a level that would be essentially twice as stringent for much of rural America.

Thies said the good news is that the policy assessment included options rather than a stand alone recommendation to make the “dust standard” more stringent. The bad news is EPA can still choose to regulate dust in a way that would put a stranglehold on rural America.