Latest EPA Absurdity: Dust May Be Air Pollution

Combine harvesting crop

This is almost as dumb as their declaring CO2, the very air we exhale, to be a “dangerous pollutant.” Now if you see the wind kicking up a dust cloud from a field, why that’s pollution too.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing national air quality standards, part of a process required every five years under the Clean Air Act.

The agency released a new policy assessment last month for particulate matter, fine particles that mostly come from industrial activities and are similar to soot. That assessment said the EPA would be justified in either keeping the current standards in place or imposing rules that are twice as strict.

But particulate matter can also come from natural sources — including dust — leading some to fear the EPA could establish guidelines that would consider livestock kicking up dust or a car driving down a gravel road as creators of air pollution.

This reminds me a bit of the story about King Canute attempting to declare himself ruler of the waves. The legend goes that the king put his throne on the beach and commanded the tide not to come in and wet his feet and robes. Obviously, it didn’t work, and it’s long been a story told to teach about the arrogance of man’s presumptive control over nature.

The EPA attempting to regulate dust, let alone the carbon emitted by carbon-based lifeforms, reminds me of old King Canute sitting in his throne on the beach.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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