(Posted Fri. Dec 21st, 2012)
Dec 20: The Environmental Protection Agency recently updated the National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Revisions were made to regulations pertaining to fine particulate only. The decision to revise fine particulate matter regulations was a result of a court order after EPA failed to meet its five-year legal deadline for reviewing the standards. The regulations do not include course particulate matter, which is where farm dust is categorized, thus the regulations do not impact agriculture.
“EPA’s regulation of farm dust has been a major concern to our members and we are pleased to see no such impacts will be made to agriculture,” NCGA’s President Pam Johnson said. “EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and USDA Secretary Vilsack have told NCGA leadership many times they do not intend to regulate farm dust."
According to the EPA, both coarse and fine particulate matter levels have seen dramatic reductions over the past 20 years. Coarse particulate matter has been reduced by 37 percent nationwide since 1990, and fine particulate matter reduced by 29 percent since 2000. Fine particulate matter includes pollution created by automobiles and power plants.
EPA stated they expect the new standards to impact as few as 10 counties nationwide, mostly high occupancy cities. All the counties will have to create a plan to reduce levels in order to comply with the new standard.