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NCBA Challenges EPA Standards on Ranches

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has decided to challenge the EPA's rule on fugitive dust.

In response to Environmental Protection Agency rules that regulate agricultural dust, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association filed a petition Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to seek review of the EPA's standards on fugitive dust.

Tamara Thies, NCBA director of environmental issues, says the EPA dust rules would regulate dust produced on farms by "tilling soil, planting and harvesting crops, driving on dirt roads, spreading nutrients on fields, mixing feed, and by cattle simply moving around in feedlots."

"Many farms and ranches are simply unable to control dust to the level EPA requires, even when using best management practices," Thies says. "The EPA has put agriculture in an impossible situation, with no scientific justification."

EPA revised the Clean Air Act National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter this October, including dust regulations that would apply to fugitive dust from agriculture operations. An EPA review panel has recommended excluding rural areas from coarse particulate matter regulation.

Thies says ranchers know how to manage dust on their operations.

"Dust is - at most - a nuisance issue and should be regulated accordingly.  It is not a health issue that warrants regulation at the level that EPA's rule requires," she says.

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