EPA Regulations Could Cause Job Loss, Producer Action Needed
WASHINGTON - Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel, said producers need to contact their respective governor in order to prevent “the most stringent dust regulation” ever proposed from being implemented. Thies said producers need to discuss the potential loss of jobs in rural America that could result from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) foundation for unprecedented regulation of dust released in June. The comment period ended Aug. 16, 2010. Specifically, EPA was considering regulating coarse particulate matter (dust) at levels as low as 65-85 µg/m3, twice as stringent as the current standard. Most recently, EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee suggests regulating dust at the low end of EPA's proposal at 65-75 µg/m3. Thies said such regulations could put family operations at a standstill.
"It would be virtually impossible for many critical U.S. industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best-management practices to control dust," said Thies. "All of us certainly want healthy air for our communities, but this is nothing more than the everyday dust kicked up by harvesting crops or simply driving down a dirt road, and it has long been found to be of no health concern at ambient levels."
If EPA regulates dust at the level of 65-75 µg/m3, areas across the country would be classified as "nonattainment," forcing states to impose extreme dust-control requirements on businesses across the board. Thies said the results of this rule will be costly to rural economies and will result in a loss of jobs.
"It would be impossible, given the current economic challenges, for rural America to afford the unnecessary financial burden that would result if these unfounded regulations are finalized in their current form," said Thies. "We are talking about agricultural jobs here. Agriculture is the backbone of rural America. The best way to stop this regulation is for producers to contact their respective state governor, who would be responsible for enforcing these regulations if implemented. The potential impact to state economies will encourage governors to take a closer look at this proposed regulation, which could spark EPA to give this a closer look.”