U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, an outspoken critic of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempts to further regulate farm dust, said the EPA announced that dust standards for farms and rural areas under the Clean Air Act will not be tightened as proposed but will instead remain the same.

“I am pleased the EPA made the common-sense decision to leave dust standards unchanged for rural America,” Roberts said. “Whether it is cattle kicking up dust in a feedlot in Larned, KS, or wheat being harvested on a hot afternoon on the High Plains in June, dust is a naturally-occurring event. It is critical to recognize that no one cares more about maintaining a clean environment than the American farmer and rancher, who know firsthand that clean air and water and healthy soil go hand-in-hand with a healthy economy. Our producers deserve respect and appreciation from the EPA, not costly and redundant regulation.”

At issue was an EPA proposal to change the Clean Air Act daily standard for regulating dust particles due to a court order forcing the EPA to update air standards. Friday’s  announcement does not change the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), which includes dust from farms and other sources.

Last year, Sen. Roberts cosponsored legislation, S. 1328, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act to stop the EPA from regulating dust in rural America by preventing it from imposing more stringent dust standards for one year. It would also allow states and localities the flexibility to address any rural dust issues before the federal government would have the authority to do so.

Sen. Roberts is also the author of legislation to require a review of federal regulations to identify those regulations that harm the nation’s economic recovery. It has 46 cosponsors. Roberts is the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.