Dear Members of Congress,
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association requests your support for H.R. 1633, the “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011”. The Environmental Protection Agency declared on October 14 their intent to retain the current coarse particulate matter thresholds in the National Ambient Quality Standards. USCA commends this plan and is encouraged to see the EPA acknowledging the concerns brought forth by the agriculture industry regarding this issue. However, while the EPA’s announcement is commendable, it is not a binding resolution. H.R. 1633 would provide the peace of mind and assurance to cattle producers across the country that EPA will not reconsider its stance on this issue.
The nation’s agriculture industry is a sector that bases its continued sustainability off of the land. In that sense, dirt is a way of life for ranchers. During a drought, the summer months, or in between rainstorms, it is a natural occurrence for the ground surface to dry out. The majority of agriculture operations are based in rural areas. The only point of access to a ranch is often time relegated to the use of a dirt road. The notion that dust produced from driving down dirt roads must be watered down before any use on a dry day is out of the realm of possibility. This bill represents a commonsense and logical approach to an issue that has been unduly targeted by the EPA.
H.R. 1633 would exempt any additional oversight being applied to the regulation of coarse particulate matter in regions where the state or regional authority already exerts such authority. Under this policy, EPA would still be granted regulatory authority in those circumstances where “nuisance dust” is considered a health hazard, in those regions currently not under any prescribed law, or in cases that such oversight does not unduly impact ranchers.
H.R. 1633 provides Congress the opportunity to ease rural America of this repetitive oversight. The exemption of “nuisance dust” in the Clean Air Act is a validated attempt by policymakers to convey they are aware of rural America and the regulatory burdens that hamper their continued success and existence. The number of Representatives who have already shown their knowledge and support of the agriculture sector is encouraging, and we urge all those who have yet to consider this legislation to review its potential impact on the nation’s farmers and ranchers.
President, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association