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      EPA to regulate farm dust?

      Environmentally Challenged: By Brian Troutman

      If reports by The Associated Press are correct, Republicans and even some Democrats are stirring up a whole bunch of dust for no good reason headed into the upcoming primary season.

      All the fuss is about the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of ambient air quality as it relates to the agricultural industry.

      Farm dust?

      It's a concern as silt, chemicals used in the growing process and for lack of better term, dust, are stirred on large farms by large machines. Republicans are reportedly planning a vote to block the EPA's planned additional restrictions on farm dust.

      The problem?

      It's all just a big political sandbox scuffle. With an easy trip over the interwebs to the EPA's website, one can find a written statement from the assistant administrator for air and radiation that calls claims the EPA is looking to strengthen regulations on farm dust a "myth."

      A portion of the first paragraph of the statement reads as follows:

      "As you know, EPA Administrator Jackson committed in an October 14, 2011 letter that EPA is prepared to propose to keep the PM10 national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) as it is, with no change. This existing standard has been in effect since 1987. I am hopeful that this announcement ends the myth that the Agency has plans to tighten regulation of 'farm dust.' "

      It's really sad when political parties use environmental issues as building blocks for campaign momentum. It's even worse when it is an environmental non-issue.

      * Environmentally Challenged is the blog of ABC News 4 New Media Manager Brian Troutman. It is op-ed in nature and provides Troutman's thoughts on the environment, environmental issues and conservation. If you would like to reach Troutman, you can do so by email at btroutman@abcnews4.com.

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