The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is urging congressional members to pass H.R. 1633, the Farm DustRegulation Prevention Act, when it comes before the full House of Representatives later this week. In a letter to House members, AFBF says the legislation would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate naturally occurring dust or “nuisance dust.”

“Naturally occurring dust is a fact of life in rural areas,” says AFBF President Bob Stallman. “It is raised by such normal activities as driving on unpaved roads and is composed of soil and organic material. The amount of dust in the air depends on wind and rainfall, two conditions that EPA cannot regulate.”

 AFBF adds that EPA has admitted it cannot conclusively establish a link between “nuisance dust” and adverse human health effects.

 “EPA admits there are limitations to the studies it cites, which casts doubt on its validity to support additional regulation,” Stallman says. “Should such a link be established, the bill would allow EPA to regulate.”

 EPA has said it does not intend to propose stricter regulations on dust. But AFBF says that still does not provide much needed assurance for farmers and ranchers, especially when final rules often differ from proposed rules and lawsuits are a dime a dozen.

 “Legislation is the best way to provide certainty to farmers, ranchers and rural America that their activities will not be unduly regulated by conditions beyond their control and for substances for which adverse health effects cannot be truly established,” Stallman says.