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  • Dust Regulations Are No Joke

    Every once in a while an e-mail goes around petitioning for the ban of dihydrogen monoxide, a dangerous chemical. The reader is aghast to learn that dihydrogen monoxide is “the main ingredient in acid rain” and “capable of causing suffocation if encountered in large quantities” and often will sign the petition and forward it to friends. However, closer examination soon reveals two things: (1) dihydrogen monoxide is nothing other than water, and (2) the petition is, in fact, a jest.

    Recently, however, the EPA seems to be working along a similar vein and has proposed tighter standards on a common pollutant: particulate matter. Particulate matter pollution can dirty the air and water, limit visibility, and spur breathing problems. When EPA regulations were first applied to particulates in 1971, they were created to target soot. However, another form of particulate matter that the EPA intends to regulate is … dust. If only this, too, were a jest.

    Realizing the ridiculousness of the situation, 21 Senators recently signed a letter that stated the following:

    We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense. These identified levels [of dust] will be extremely burdensome for farmers and livestock producers to attain. Whether its livestock kicking up dust, soybeans being combined on a dry day in the fall, or driving a car down the gravel road, dust is a naturally occurring event.

    From this regulation, several problems arise. First, while human activity can create dust, it is also, as the above mentioned letter states, a natural occurrence. How can it be effectively regulated? Regulations are intended to influence human behavior, yet dust is common in our natural environment. There are even dust storms on Mars.

    Furthermore, regulation of dust is unnecessary. Those who cause dust clouds are likely to be the most negatively affected by them. Incentives already exist to minimize dust creation without the help of regulations.

    Beyond being unnecessary, dust regulations would stifle productivity for many farmers and could lead to waste of other resources. Farmers would have to either cut back on activities that create dust or find ways to settle dust.

    In many cases, minimizing dust creation would require minimizing movement and decrease productivity substantially, leaving farmers at the mercy of each day’s aridity. Also, keeping dust out of the air by artificial means would be a monumental task. It is possible that farmers could simulate rain—an effective dust reducer—by constant use of sprinklers or some other means. Yet this would encourage more water use, which runs counter to a primary objective of many environmentalists. Furthermore, the additional cost of these strategies could be too great a burden for many struggling farmers.

    In a case like this, the EPA’s ability to commit regulatory overreach becomes apparent. It can easily lose touch with the needs of those on whom it lays regulatory burdens and stray into unrealistically stringent policies. A prudent course of action would be to heed the suggestions of 21 Senators and reconsider the proposed dust standards.

    Kelsey Huber is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Dust Regulations Are No Joke

    1. James A - Longdrycre says:

      EPA has become a haven for fools, a gathering of the Ivy League seminar class that confuses the real world with the make believe world of D.C.

      In the Texas Panhandle, we have weather too. Wind stirs up dust. Dust fills the air. Nature does this regularly and has for millenia.

      The EPA assumes all dust is of human origin.Farmers are especially bad because even with minimum tillage there is some dust.

      I assue EPA thinks it has a mandate to end food production in order to save the planet from dust? When their rich tables are empty of high calorie food, the genius mindset at the EPA will understand the concept: "Overreach" and then topple to the floor. Death by starvation. Way to go, Guys and Gals at the EPA.

      The Law of Unintended Consequences punishes those who refuse wise, mature, adult supervision and counsel.

    2. Pingback: Virginia Right! News Hound for 8/12/2010 | Virginia Right!

    3. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      These people are a joke, CO2 is in the air, it's needed for plants and trees to grow, now they are going after the water that comes from the sky. Maybe we need to all get portable O2 tanks, but where do you get H2O ?? Maybe we can pump from rivers and streams, Just doesn't make good sense.

    4. Brad, Chicago says:

      Does anyone else think this is a ploy to make the carbon dioxide classification sound less ridiculous?

    5. Tony's Take, Ne says:

      This is no joke! The EPA regulates just about every square foot of Clark County, Nevada to trample on the Second Amendment.

      When you think of Clark county, Nevada, you think of Las Vegas and a whole bunch of nothing as far as the eye can see. Our liberal progressive socialist government can't regulate shooting, but they can and do regulate you driving off the road to set-up your targets and get in some practice in the great outdoors. They use "dust" as the excuse to ban the use of our public lands and the enjoyment of firearms in this vast expanse of nothing but desert and they get away with it.

      What other freedoms will they take from us now, in the name of evil dust?

    6. Tim Az says:

      The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has been using this silly notion against the citizens of Arizona for quite some time. The ADEQ particularly takes pleasure in attempting to stop people from heating their homes with fire wood in the winter on threat of fines, stating that particulate levels are too high so you can not heat your home with wood.The State then demonstrates the Magnitude of their hubris by engaging in controlled burns that may last for weeks at a time to maintain forest health, because its far better to aggravate those with breathing disorders than to log the forests and benefit the State with an added economy. These actions have successfully bread a growing contempt among the citizenry towards ADEQ. Dust regulations can be used in limitless ways to control nearly every activity that a human being might engage in, including but not limited to farming. Yes Arizona Has plenty of desert, and we do have the occasional dust storm. That said one should consider whether or not it is a good idea to live in an environment, that by nature is hostile to people with breathing disorders.

    7. Perry, OK says:

      Ok the short and very simple for the less able in the EPA.

      NO Dust, NO Food!

      Keep on regulating and we will quit growing and You can import all you need. Right?

      Wrong, if we quit growing our own food. We become nothing short of a FAT Hatai! So think long and hard before you regulate yourself out of dinner.

    8. Paul Ziegler says:

      Reminds me of the old saying; "While genius has its limitations, the same can not be said for stupidity." This is proven every day in the public sector

    9. Timm M. Berg, South says:

      Just more proof that the EPA is Idiots guided by the blind, deaf, and dumb. When I was stationed in San Diego, the local EPA came down and ticketed all the commands that had people out cleaning seagull droppings off their topsides. They said the commands were polluting the water by washing the bird droppings in the water. Of course there was a fine to pay, so I guess the government had to pay the government the amount of the fine. It’s alright for birds to do it, that’s an Act of God. But if that Act of God happened to fall on a boat on the way down, the boat couldn’t help it along to get to its final destination. The fix was every time it rained everyone was out scrubbing topside, because now it was another Act of God. Or when you put to sea the surface fleet operated their NBC water wash down system, of course we in the submarine force just submerged and it went away, another Act of God.

    10. MELINDA SPROAT WASHI says:

      the government owns thousands of acres of arid land in the west. I have been blown off the highway and been unable to see at times, from the intense dust blowing across the desert. Does this mean we should hold the government accountable for their lands "DUST"? I am sure I had a bad headache once from the dirt in the air.

    11. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      "…minimizing dust creation would require minimizing movement and decrease productivity substantially.."

      This is the goal of the ruling class.

    12. Pingback: Dust Regulations Are No Joke - Whitley County Patriots

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