D.C., September 15, 2008 – The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's (NCBA) appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rule to regulated dust under the Clean Air Act.
“NCBA supports dust control measures, and our producers carry them out every day of the year,” explains Tamara Thies, Chief Environmental Counsel for NCBA. “But this rule would require an unattainable level of dust control, which could force producers to sell cattle to comply.”
Enforcing the standard of dust regulation would mean that activities ranging from soil tilling, cattle movements, driving on unpaved roads, and planting and harvesting crops would all be impacted.
“This could be devastating for America's cattle producers,” Thies says. “NCBA filed an appeal on their behalf to fight against burdensome and undue government regulations.”
EPA released a final rule on regulating particles in the air under the Clean Air Act in October 2006, which says that states should focus on regulating dust in urban areas instead of rural areas. However, agricultural dust is nevertheless subject to regulation under the final rule.
Every five years, the EPA is required to review scientific studies associated with pollutants regulated under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of the Clean Air Act to determine if the pollutant is regulated appropriately. Dust has been included as a pollutant, despite the fact that the NAAQS is a health-based standard. In order to regulate a pollutant under NAAQS, scientific studies must show that the pollutant causes adverse health effects. There is no scientific evidence that dust causes adverse health effects that would justify inclusion in these standards.