Rep. Manzullo Votes to Protect Farmers from Overreaching EPA Regulation on Farm Dust

From State Rep. Don Manzulo (16th District)…

Under proposal, farmers could face huge fines for driving unpaved roads

[WASHINGTON] – Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) voted today for legislation to prevent the EPA from regulating farm dust under the Clean Air Act, a move that would devastate rural America and threaten family farms with huge fines. The House approved the bill 268 to 150.

The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 1633) would amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from including farm dust under the National Primary Ambient Air Quality Standard (NPAAQS), which regulates smog and soot in “non-attainment” areas. In 2009, the EPA said farm dust was “likely not safe” and started the regulatory process to cut the allowable dust levels in half. In 2010, a “draft policy assessment” from the EPA proposed extending the NPAAQS regulations to farm dust, caused by driving down unpaved roads, tilling soil, harvesting crops, and moving livestock. Once an area is designated as a “non-attainment” area, such farming activities could face fines up to $37,500 a day for violations. Last October, the EPA restated its position, promising not to regulate farm dust.

Manzullo, who raised beef cattle on his small farm in Egan, Illinois for 30 years, said the EPA initial proposal on farm dust would have devastated the farmers he represents in northern Illinois. Because the EPA keeps changing its mind on the issue, legislation is needed to once and for all prohibit it, Manzullo said.

“Farmers in northern Illinois already struggle to comply with regulations heaped upon them by the federal government. Any effort by the EPA to regulate farm dust would put even more farmers out of business and create even more unemployment in the rural areas of our nation,” Manzullo said. “I strongly support this legislation that would codify EPA’s promise not to treat farm dust as a pollutant like smog or soot to make sure this issue is finally put to rest.”

Click here to view Rep. Manzullo’s floor remarks on the issue today.

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