Appeals court upholds EPA regulations on farm dust

A court has sided with the EPA in regulating farm dust.
A court has sided with the EPA in regulating farm dust.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused a request from farm groups to overturn rules put in place by the Bush administration regulating rural dust.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Pork Producers Council sued the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 over its decision to regulate coarse particulate matter in rural areas, according to the New York Times.

This week's court ruling was a disappointment to the AFBF and other agricultural groups.

"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," said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

EPA’s own studies 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.

The court suggested industry had the burden of proving that dust from agricultural sources was safe.

"These dust standards are revised every five years, so it is difficult to predict the final impact of the ruling," he said.

Stallman added that the possibility of increased regulatory costs does not sit well with AFBF's constituency.