Minot Daily News: ‘Should we trust the EPA?’

… on farm dust.

The Minot Daily News editorializes,

The Environmental Protection Agency has said repeatedly that it won’t propose new regulations targeting dust kicked up by farm equipment. Some members of Congress aren’t taking any chances.

A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives plans a vote this week to make sure the EPA doesn’t change its mind. Supporters of the bill say they’re just trying to protect the agriculture industry. Opponents call the effort a waste of time, considering the EPA?has already said it won’t move to regulate farm dust, making the bill unnecessary.

Well, put us in the group supporting the legislation. Just because the EPA says now that it won’t regulate farm dust doesn’t mean officials within that government agency won’t at some point, without warning, change their minds. It does seem a bit silly to be voting on legislation to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, but it might be even sillier for farm state lawmakers to simply trust the EPA on what could be a critical issue. If the EPA were to change its mind, legislators would be forced to scramble to write and pass legislation.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson sent two letters to senators this fall, saying the agency won’t expand current air quality standards to include dust created by agriculture. “We hope this action finally puts to rest the misinformation regarding dust regulation and eases the minds of farmers and ranchers across the country,” she wrote in the letter.

Obviously, the letters didn’t convince all members of Congress, and we doubt the reassuring tone convinced every farmer and rancher across the country, either. The agriculture industry has had too many past dealings with the EPA to be that trusting. Pass the legislation, just in case.

Read the Minot Daily News editorial.

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