Idaho loosens agricultural field burning restrictions

Posted at 2:30 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 16:30:29-04

Idaho officials have approved rules loosening restrictions on agricultural field burning -- that health advocates say will lead to breathing problems for some residents.

The Idaho Board of Environmental Quality voted Thursday to allow field burning during worse air quality thresholds for ozone. That could start in 2018 if approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality officials say the change will be healthier for residents because it allows burning on days more conducive to dispersing smoke.

The rule brings the state agency in line with a statute approved by Idaho lawmakers earlier this year.

Health advocates say the change betrays a 2008 agreement struck after a federal court in 2007 banned Idaho field burning. The groups say taking legal action again is a possibility.

(by Associated Press)