Editorial: Noem pushing ahead blindly in dust-up with EPA

There are important issues at the federal level right now that will have direct impact on our state.

The dwindling funding for the Lewis and Clark water project and the fight to maintain our state’s Medicare reimbursements through the Frontier States Provision are but two our legislators are working on.

These are real issues.

So it’s disappointing to see Rep. Kristi Noem continue her fight against a made-up problem like the potential for farm dust regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dust has become a lightning rod for some Republicans, drumming up fear in farming communities that more federal government intrusion and overregulation is coming to take money out of their pockets.

Noem proposed legislation that would ban the EPA from regulating farm dust for a year, and similar legislation was advanced by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

The problem is that the EPA has repeatedly, and at every turn, said it has no intention of regulating farm dust. On Monday, it went as far as to write a letter to Congress stating it would not be regulating dust kicked up by combines.

That should have put the issue to rest.

And it did for Johanns, who has decided to no longer pursue his dust legislation, pointing to the EPA’s “unequivocal assurance.” Noem, on the other hand, says she will push on.

With the multitude of assurances, and clearly enough legitimate issues to tend to, it’s time for Noem to let the phantom issue of dust regulation settle.

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