Acting on the law passed last year by the Iowa Legislature, environmental regulators in Iowa approved the first ever limits on air emissions from large animal operations and other sources in the state.

The rule sets limits for air emissions, but does not address odor. The standards will be based on three-year averages that will start being established in Dec. 2004. The new limits will go into effect in 2007.

With the change, livestock operations could come under the same scrutiny as power plants and manufacturing facilities for violating air pollution guidelines. And if that happens producers could be forced to make changes such as covering lagoons, or having their manure application to fields regulated.

Supporters of the measure say the phase in period is too long and that action needs to be taken now. Others call the rules “legally questionable.”

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Des Moines Register