Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says they feel the current rules are adequate and the science doesn't support any stricter regulations on particulate matter on farms.
"My boss, Administrator Lisa Jackson, on Friday notified the Congress that EPA will not be making any changes what we call the PM10 regulation," Brooks said. "That's on the basis of science and our consideration of the law, so folks in ag country can rest easy. This rule has been in place for 25 years and it is not changing."
Brooks says they hope this clarification finally puts an end to the myth that the agency is planning to expand regulations of "farm dust."
"I have run into this concern throughout Region 7, we cover a lot of ag country and this is something I hear everyplace I go," Brooks said. "I think it's just a general concern that a rule that's been working really well for 25 years might be changed, but it's not and the science supports keeping it where it is. So we look forward to spreading that good news around the countryside in Region 7."
Current dust bills in the House and Senate are expected to continue to move forward as they say EPA has flip-flopped on their position on the dust rules and lawmakers want something in writing from the agency. Brooks would not say the current dust bills are unnecessary, but he does defend EPA's position.
"Any member of Congress can introduce a bill on any subject that he or she wants," Brooks said. "They probably will choose to focus on other issues that affect producer issues in the Heartland as opposed to this, but it is certainly the Senate's prerogative to consider any bill they want. We think our position at EPA is clear and is based on the science."
He says EPA recently wrote Congress that it's prepared to propose to keep the current standard for PM10 when it is sent to OMB for interagency review. That position is based on scientific record, analysis by Agency scientists, and advice from the independent Clean Air Science Advisory Council.