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Cattlemen bristle at EPA, USDA air quality rules

November 24, 2009

[Source Jerry Lackey for the San Angelo Standard Times]

An unbelievable number of issues confront not only the cattle business but agriculture as a whole, says Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, D.C. But one of the biggest concerns is the Environmental Protection Agency’s dust rule.

“The EPA is proposing a tenfold reduction in the thresholds of what they call coarse particle matter, which is EPA talk for agricultural dust,” Woodall said in a recent interview during the 65th annual National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention.

“We’re talking about everything that comes out of the back of a cotton stripper or a combine (dust, leaves and harvest debris), cows that are milling around in the lot, even dust kicked up from pickup tires while driving down the ranch road,” Woodall said. “They would all be in violation of EPA’s clean air rules.”

Woodall said the proposed rules mean agriculture as a whole in the United States is going to be in violation of the ambient air quality standards.

“When you look at West Texas on a dusty day in March, all of the sudden, the natural air is going to be in violation,” said Woodall, a native of Big Spring who grew up in cattle business.

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