Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Regulating Dust

NPPC: Court Upholds EPA ‘Dust Rule’ For Farms

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 24, 2009 – The National Pork Producers Council expressed disappointment with today’s ruling by a federal court to uphold a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to regulate farms for dust.

NPPC had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington to review EPA’s decision to regulate emissions of coarse particulate matter (PM), or dust, in rural areas. The organization had argued that while EPA identified problems with coarse PM in urban areas – where it is mostly the byproduct of engine combustion – it failed to show any health effects associated with rural dust, which comes mostly from naturally occurring organic materials such as plants, sand and soil. While recognizing the distinctions between urban and rural PM sources, EPA nonetheless decided to regulate agricultural operations for coarse PM. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences report found that there were no scientifically credible methodologies for estimating emissions from animal feeding operations.

The appeals court accepted EPA’s decision as “reasonable.” In rejecting arguments from NPPC and other livestock organizations, the court adopted the so-called precautionary principle, placing the burden on the livestock industry to prove that its operations are not harming the public or the environment. Said the court: “In assessing the scientific evidence, the [livestock organizations] have mistakenly equated an absence of certainty about dangerousness with the existence of certainty about safety.” Read More

The Precautionary Principle will no doubt cripple this country. Instead of working to solve a problem, the EPA has implemented a solution and agriculture will have to prove that there isn’t a problem. Any type of dust that is created from any activity, including driving down the dirt road leading into your operation, can now be regulated. This will be a huge issue for agriculture, mostly because we make our living from the dirt.

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