The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed updates to its national air quality standards for both coarse and fine particulate matter. EPA proposed no changes to its standards for coarse particles, which include dust commonly generated by typical farming practices and driving on unpaved rural roads.
“Although we’re pleased with EPA’s decision not to propose changes to its standards for coarse dust particles at this time, there’s much more to this story,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We remain concerned that the final rule EPA will publish later this year could look very different from the initial proposal.”
EPA is expected to publish a final rule on its National Ambient Air Quality Standards in December. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review ambient air quality standards every five years.
“America’s food producers – farmers and ranchers – need stability and certainty regarding government regulations, which is why Farm Bureau supports the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act,” said Stallman.
The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, which would exempt agriculture from EPA regulations, was passed by the House but has not been brought up for consideration in the Senate.
Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, testified on behalf of AFBF before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
“Costs incurred by utilities, refiners, manufacturers and other large emitters to comply with GHG regulatory requirements will be passed on to the consumers of those products, including farmers and ranchers,” Shaffer said. “The end result is that our nation’s farmers and ranchers will be forced to contend with higher input costs to grow food, fiber and renewable fuels.”
Shaffer said farmers will face another economic hit when regulations are fully phased in under EPA’s “tailoring” approach which will apply to farms and ranches that emit, or have the potential to emit, more than 100 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Those farms and ranches will be required to apply for and obtain a Title V operating permit. Based on EPA’s numbers, Shaffer said just the expense of obtaining permits would cost agriculture more than $866 million.
In his testimony, Shaffer expressed Farm Bureau’s support for the House-passed Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which prevents EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. Farm Bureau opposes the regulation of greenhouse gases by EPA under the Clean Air Act.