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Graphic Element, Right Gutter

Deliciously Dusty In The Western States? It Will Be If The Bush Administration And EPA Have Their Way.

The Bush administration is pushing a proposal through the EPA that would eliminate important clean-air protections in rural areas. These areas would no longer need to meet federal standards for coarse particulate matter (airborne dust). The EPA would also cease all monitoring of particulate levels in these areas.

Though the proposed rollback would affect the entire country, Western states would be hit hardest. Drier conditions in the West means that there is more airborne dust.

Scientists at the EPA are split on this issue. Some have urged the agency to keep regulating dust in rural areas, and all have agreed that the EPA should continue to monitor particulate levels.

Who benefits from this rollback? Certainly not asthma sufferers. Coarse particulate matter can clog lungs and can lead to health complications. This is especially true when the dust contains toxic metals or dangerous chemicals. This leads us to the only "winners" in this scenario: the mining and agricultural industries. In fact, the National Mining Association has already come out in favour of the proposal.

The EPA is holding a public comment period in order to get feedback on this proposal. This is your chance to get involved and make your voice heard. Tell the EPA what you think.

Related articles:
The Desert Sun
The LA Times