As thousands of combines churn through Midwestern corn and soybean fields, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday it will not be pursuing regulations on the dust kicked up by farm equipment. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the E.P.A.’s statement is nothing short of a victory for farmers across the region.
Grassley says, “Absolutely, and I don’t know how more to say it except finally, our campaign of several years is bearing fruit.” E.P.A. officials say they’re hoping to eliminate the “myth” that the agency planned to tighten regulations on the dust, which is viewed by some as air pollution.
Grassley, a Republican, says he’s thrilled that this hot-button issue is finally being laid to rest. Grassley says, “People in the E.P.A., if they really stopped to think about fugitive dust, and I hope I’ve said enough over the last few years to make them stop and think about it, I’m only sorry it took them this long, but eventually, common sense is prevailing by their doing this.”
Grassley signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation from Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns that aimed to ban the E.P.A. from pursuing regulations on ag-related dust. With the announcement from the agency Monday, Johanns said he would drop the measure, which may not fly with all of his collegues.
Grassley says, “I still think that we need to have legislation that would prohibit them from doing this in the first place.” Grassley says he’ll meet with Johanns to discuss a future course of action. Similar legislation is still pending in the U.S. House.