WASHINGTON – It is encouraging to hear members of Congress are opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing effort to regulate dust at an unprecedented level, said Bill Donald, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. If EPA moves forward this spring with a proposed rule to regulate coarse particulate matter (dust) at levels as low as 65-85 µg/m3, twice as stringent as the current standard, cattle producers throughout the country will be negatively impacted, he added.

“In addition to producing high-quality, healthy cattle, ranchers are also committed to serving as good stewards of the land and natural resources,” Donald said. “But the fact is in our industry, dust is inevitable. If EPA moves forward with this overreaching regulation, ranchers could be fined for everyday activities like driving down the road, moving cattle or tilling a field. It is encouraging that some elected officials understand the detrimental impacts this regulation could have on production agriculture. I just hope EPA is listening.”

Representatives Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) stood up for farmers and ranchers by voicing opposition to EPA’s efforts to regulate dust, Donald said.

“The EPA is now going after the farms and ranches that feed the American people,” Representative Poe said on the floor of the House of Representatives. “They say ranching and farming causes dust – well no kidding – so out with the dust and in with the regulations and fines. The EPA also doesn’t like the dirt roads used by the pick-ups and tractors that criss-cross the cattle ranches and farms that are in the heartland of America.

“So the 'Environment Police Agency' is going to regulate the dust created by farming and ranching by imposing expensive fines on the breadbasket of America,” he added. “The EPA’s rule would make it more expensive to feed America.”

During debate of H. Res. 72, which instructs congressional committees to investigate existing, pending, and proposed regulations that hurt job creation and economic growth, Representative Hartzler said EPA is advancing numerous rules, including one to regulate dust, that are harmful to agriculture.

“They call it air quality. Where I’m from, it’s called living in the country,” she said. “In case the bureaucrats in Washington haven’t heard, driving on a gravel road and planting seeds in the soil makes dust! We don’t need Washington to regulate dust. We need common sense."