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Research Keeps Industry Ahead Of Regulatory ‘Curve’

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Have you taken time to thank our researchers lately? It seems that industries are constantly being bombarded with new regulations, and the cotton ginning industry is no exception. Association staffs across the Belt do all we can to keep these regulations as reasonable as possible. Our job would be much harder, however, without the good work of our research community.

EPA has finalized its latest National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter, and once again lowered the standard. The good news is that the PM10 standard remains the same. On the other hand, EPA lowered the PM2.5 standard again. Thanks to Oklahoma State University and USDA researchers (with the help of many others), however, the cotton ginning industry has some of the best quality data available to quantify our true level of emissions. This data puts our industry in a position where we have the best available data in order to combat unnecessary regulations. Without this information, we would be at the mercy of each state agency’s estimate of what our emissions are.

The combustible dust standard is another example. Thanks to research done by Texas A&M and USDA, we have been able to identify problems with the test methods used for testing combustible substances. Without their testing efforts, we would simply not know how these tests work and would not be able to offer intelligent comments on the issue.

There are a lot more issues coming down the road. Emissions modeling is an issue our researchers have been talking about for years, but with some of the new standards, EPA and many other industries are beginning to understand the inaccuracies and other problems with the modeling. This issue may be ripe for progress in the near future.

Next time you see one of our researchers, be sure to thank him. This group’s excellent data helps us negotiate through these important regulatory challenges from a much more informed position.

Kelley Green is Director of Technical Services for the Texas Cotton Ginners Association in Austin, Texas. He contributed this ginning article. Contact him at (512) 476-8388 or kelley@tcga.org.

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