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AFBF Disappointed with Ruling on Dust Regulation

26 February 2009

US - Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), has expressed disappointment in the court ruling about the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 'dust rule'.

Mr Stallman said that because of Tuesday’s ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that upheld the EPA’s regulatory standards related to rural dust, farmers and ranchers could face additional and unwarranted regulations as states attempt to comply with federal standards.

"Farm Bureau challenged the EPA’s Clean Air Act National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule for coarse particulate matter, but the court chose to disregard the overall lack of scientific support for the rule," Mr Stallman said.

He also said that the Farm Bureau is disappointed in the outcome and concerned about costly measures to regulate rural dust that could be imposed on our farmers and ranchers. EPA’s own studies had failed to demonstrate adverse health effects associated with rural dust, which comes mostly from naturally occurring organic materials such as plants, sand and soil, he said. "Most disappointing is that the court suggested industry had the burden of proving that dust from agricultural sources was safe, rather than EPA proving within a margin of safety that the emissions caused harm," he added.

"These dust standards are revised every five years, so it is difficult to predict the final impact of the ruling. However, during a time when farmers and ranchers are already struggling with the economics of producing food and fiber, the possibility of this leading to more regulatory costs does not bode well, especially since science does not show that any health benefits would result," Mr Stallman said.

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