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EPA claims that Maricopa County [Arizona] is insufficiently reducing dust emissions from agricultural sources

EPA’s Lisa Jackson misinforms (lies to?) Politico on farm dust

By —— Bio and Archives--August 19, 2011

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Does EPA administrator Lisa Jackson not know what her agency is doing or did she just lie to Politico about EPA regulating farm dust?

Politico’s follow-up article (subscription required) to “Obama’s Unhelpful Advice” reports that Lisa Jackson denied that EPA was regulating farm dust:

After a farmer expressed his concerns about rules and regulations that he heard could hurt his industry to President Barack Obama at a town hall in Atkinson, Ill., on Wednesday, POLITICO tested Obama’s advice that the man “contact USDA.” That didn’t lead to very helpful answers.

The response — eventually — from a USDA representative was that “the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction,” but rather the Environmental Protection Agency.

Turns out, Obama administration officials have been trying to fight rumors about various nonexistent regulations in farm states all year. Among them, a “cow tax” on farmers for the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock and limits for ammonia and ammonium under clean air rules.

Earlier this year, EPA struck down a rumor that it would regulate spilled milk the way it regulates spilled oil. To end this misinformation, the agency formally exempted milk containers from rules aimed at preventing oil spills from reaching water supplies. And the EPA’s clean air rules for nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released in July didn’t include limits for ammonia or other reduced forms of nitrogen.

EPA chief Lisa Jackson, who has been traveling to farm country in an attempt to improve her agency’s image, has repeatedly insisted that the EPA has no plans to regulate farm dust, and she says that the cow tax rumor was a myth started by a lobbyist… [Emphasis added]

But as pointed out here by Olsson Frank Weeda superlawyer Gary Baise:

Agriculture creates dust. EPA claims that Maricopa County [Arizona] is insufficiently reducing dust emissions from agricultural sources. EPA is proposing 53 measures in the Maricopa area to reduce dust. Many of these measures impact agriculture and provide an insight into what EPA may have in mind for other sections of the country under its proposed dust rule.

You may be interested in peering into the future of farm dust control through the eyes of Maricopa County as it relates to agriculture.

EPA is dissatisfied with Maricopa County’s Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control dust emissions from tillage, harvest, and transportation from non-cropland and cropland. EPA claims Maricopa County has insufficient specificity to control agricultural practices creating dust.

An example – the county, in its regulation, would require “modifying agricultural equipment to prevent or reduce particulate matter (dust) generation from crop land”.

EPA says equipment modification is not specific enough. The county had proposed using shields to redirect fan exhaust from the tractors and also using water spray bars that would emit a mist to reduce the dust on the tillage equipment. EPA wants the county to be more specific, as it says “…using appropriately designed spray bars would be far more effective at reducing PM-10 than redirecting a machine’s fan exhaust.”

Then there’s this from Baise:

According to a February Federal Register notice, EPA is taking final action to find that Arizona failed to make a State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal…for the Maricopa County non-attainment area for particulate matter (farm dust). This dust standard is called PM-10. EPA claims the Maricopa area, which includes Phoenix, has a serious air quality standard violation.

EPA’s decisions in Arizona simply defy credulity and common sense.

Maybe Politico could call Lisa Jackson and ask her to clarify.

Steve Milloy -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Steve Milloy publishes and and is the author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them

Older articles by Steve Milloy

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