Dust is a fact of life in rural areas, from driving on unpaved roads, to plowing farm fields and moving cattle from one location to the next.

Recently dust has even made its way to Washington, D.C. Coming under attack by activists, it has been made the focus of congressional hearings and legislation.

Rural dust is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, but a bill currently pending in Congress would remove naturally occurring dust from EPA oversight and out of the bull’s-eye of activist groups.

A dust up

Dust is no stranger to farmers and ranchers. In some parts of the country, like the arid West and Southwest, it’s as much a part of the ranch as the livestock and hay.

Rural dust is regulated through the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Standard. Areas, like in California and Arizona, that have a tough time meeting this EPA standard, are required to take further measures to reduce dust. But, unfortunately, a recent petition to EPA by activists has stirred up a dust storm in Washington.

The activist group WildEarth Guardians has targeted 15 areas in the U.S. as being in violation of EPA’s dust standard. The group has given EPA 90 days to find the areas in violation of the law or it will take the agency to court.