The Iowa Air Quality Coalition — which includes the Farm Bureau — is hailing an air-quality bill passed by the legislature and is urging the governor to sign it into law. The bill would discard standards written by the Department of Natural Resources for large animal confinements and adopt federal air-quality standards. Chris Gruenhagen is public-affairs counsel for the Iowa Farm Bureau. She says the group believes the bill will establish standards for hydrogen sulfide and ammonia that are “supported by the best research available” and the Centers for Disease Control. The Iowa Air Quality Coalition is a group of farm and business organizations that opposes the air-quality standards developed by state officials. The air-quality bill was approved this week by the House and is headed for the governor’s desk, but critics say he won’t sign it. The governor said one week ago that the measure is “not an air-quality bill at all.” Gruenhagen says “farmers are good neighbors” and care about clean air, so it’s a matter of protecting public health not by how many violations you hand out but setting a standard that protects public health. The bill sets a limit of 70 parts-per-billion of hydrogen sulfide in the air for short-term exposure, and 30 parts-per-billion for longer-term exposure to the chemical found around manure-filled animal confinements. Gruenhagen says the air-quality standard in the bill headed to the governor’s desk is not a compromise. Gruenhagen says this is based on “sound research” by the C-D-C and “science isn’t something you have a political compromise on.” While the Iowa Air Quality Coalition says it’s a scientific standard, critics say it’s 20-year-old science not tested on humans.
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