Proposed limits on dust irk farmers

The EPA is considering lowering allowable particulate matter from 150 micrograms per cubic meter to the range of 65 to 85 micrograms. This would be a very good outcome for many reason ranging from health, soil erosion and snow melt runoff.

Recently a study implicated dust, primarily from western livestock grazing, as a big cause behind earlier and faster snow melt runoff in the Colorado Rockies which resulted in 5% less water in the Colorado River. Under current law there is little regulation on agricultural practices, especially livestock grazing, which could help mitigate this very real problem.

Of course the livestock industry is up in arms over the proposal and have gotten their lackey politicians involved.

“As usual, the EPA has failed to recognize the real-world impacts of their regulations,” [Mike] Simpson said in a press release.

Well, it looks like they are starting to recognize the impacts of their regulations. It now appears that they have seen the failure of their current regulations to protect long term public values over short term profits of the livestock industry. Let’s hope they make the change soon.

Proposed limits on dust irk farmers.
Capital Press agriculture news






  1. Matt Avatar

    Interesting that particulates and aerosols actually lead to human-induced global dimming, which tends to mask the effects of global warming. Reducing atmospheric particulates may actually lead to increased global warming.

  2. fenriswolfr Avatar

    I don’t get why this singles out cattle ranching, yet says “irks farmers” at the top. From what I have seen, farming/plowing/etc creates some pretty nasty dust clouds and can do some serious damage to the amount of topsoil.

    The article also mentioned that this isn’t a problem with dairy cows, but seems to be one with cattle in corrals.

  3. mikepost Avatar

    Ralph, I did not see where it said “primarily from western livestock grazing”. In my experience the tilling, harvesting and removal of crops from the field is as much or more dust intensive an activity as we grow all those vegies for our Vegan friends. Could it be that all those soy burgers arn’t so “green”….?


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole