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Sen. Franken Applauds EPA Decision Not to Impose New Federal Dust Regulations on Rural Farms, Businesses, and Communities

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said today that the decision by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to impose strict new restrictions on dust in rural America is a victory for farmers, businesses, and communities that could have been adversely affected by the rules.

Earlier this year, Sen. Franken called on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to better understand the realities of farm and rural environments and forego a proposal to change the current rules on coarse particulate matter in rural America.

"Dust is a natural occurrence on farms and roads in rural communities," said Sen. Franken. "We all support efforts to safeguard Americans from breathing harmful pollutants, but common sense would dictate that the federal government should not regulate dust created by driving on unpaved rural roads or from tilling and harvesting crops on the millions of acres of farm land in Minnesota and across the country.  I am pleased that EPA has listened to our concerns and will not impose new dust restrictions on rural communities."

In February, Franken wrote to Jackson as part of a bipartisan Senate effort to urge against new rural dust regulations, saying they could hurt farm productivity and increase food prices.  You can read about the letter he wrote to Jackson here. He also expressed concerned that cash-strapped Minnesota communities couldn’t afford to pave or treat local dirt roads to prevent dust creation and meet the new federal requirements.  You can read Sen. Franken’s column on the subject here.

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