Good Life

EPA settles dust-up over 'farm dust'

The federal government is backing away from tighter air-quality regulations that generated a controversy over “farm dust.”

The Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement Monday that it hopes the action “finally puts an end to the myth that the agency is planning to expand regulation of ‘farm dust.’ ”

Farmers, the agricultural lobby and many members of Congress had warned for months that a recommendation from an EPA science committee to tighten standards for what the agency calls “PM 10, or coarse particulates” could fall heavily on farmers and small businesses.

EPA officials have continually said they had no interest in regulating farm dust, noting that only a few of the air monitors that measured coarse particulates were in rural areas.

Lisa Jackson, the EPA’s administrator, said last week in letters to members of Congress that “I am prepared to propose the retention with no revision of the current PM l0 standard when it is sent to OMB (Office of Management and Budget) for interagency review.”

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