Agricultural groups worry the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will set up new rules on dust that will force farmers in Nebraska and nationwide to make dramatic changes in the way they till the soil.
The chief of the E-P-A says she has the “flexibility” to impose Clean Air Act rules in rural areas, rules that are different from those targeting more populated areas.
E-P-A Administrator Lisa Jackson cautions against overreaction. “What happens is that people start getting worried about things that haven’t happened yet,” Jackson says, “and they’re worried, you know, on both sides.”
According to Jackson, her agency must conduct a review every five years about the “threats” of fine particles — things like soot or dust — which lodge in the lungs and can cause heart attacks and premature deaths.
Jackson is mulling two options: leaving the standards for dust in place as they are today, or enacting something tougher. She plans to announce a decision in July.
“I am happy to come out and speak to people and listen to concerns,” Jackson told reporters. “Sometimes we get it wrong.”
“I don’t want to act like we always get it right, but I also need to make sure that the information that goes out is factual and accurate and right now I would say folks have nothing to worry about right now with respect to dust and it’s certainly not worth taking away the health protections that the Clean Air Act gives to us and gives to Americans all over this country.”