The EPA is taking a closer look at farming operations and may consider requiring permits for grain dryers. Bernie Paul is an expert in Clean Air Act regulations and recently told a meeting of Indiana corn and soybean farmers that both the EPA and IDEM are beginning to take a closer look at the air emissions from grain farm operations, “They are beginning to understand agriculture and that makes it a more attractive sector for regulation.”
In the past, it has been large livestock farms that have been the focus of permitting, but now large engines and grain handling and grain drying systems may be targeted for permits, “The capacity of grain dryers would make them fall under some permitting requirement.” He added, however, that as a practical measure they should be small enough that they would not need a permit, “We are working with EPA and state regulators to try and keep them exempt.”
Paul told HAT that he and farm groups are working with Indiana regulators to keep most farms exempt from permits. Even if some are required, they would not be as cumbersome as those required for livestock farms, “They would likely be pretty simple without a lot of record keeping.” He said the key is for agriculture to work with these regulators to help them understand what goes on in a farming operation. “The staff and leadership at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management have been very cooperative to make sure things work from a technical standpoint and from a regularity standpoint,” Paul said. He added the last thing IDEM wants is a lot of new regulations being unleashed on farmers.
On his first day in office, Governor Pence declared a moratorium on new state regulations. Last week Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann reaffirmed that stand against new regulations in her remarks before the AgriInsistue’s Leadership Luncheon. Newly appointed ISDA director Ted McKinney, who chaired a regulatory review commission during the Daniels administration, said he felt there may be more work to do in streamlining and eliminating duplicative and overlapping state regulations that involve agriculture.