Arizona Farmer Could Face Fines Over Blowing Dust That Shut Down I-10

Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 9:14pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 10:17am

On Tuesday, the Arizona Department of Transportation closed a 60 mile stretch of the freeway again. That was the seventh closure in the last few weeks due to blowing dust picked up from a plowed field near San Simon. A farmer is to blame for repeated closures of Interstate 10 in southeastern Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and other state agencies have been working with the landowner to mitigate the problem. Caroline Oppleman with ADEQ said the agency has told the farmer what he needs to do.

"Most importantly we want the farmer to apply a chemical stabilizer that will create a crust that will prevent blowing dust. And what’s important about that stabilizer is that it can last up to six months and prevent dust from blowing," said Oppleman.

Oppleman said ADEQ is not convinced the farmer is moving fast enough. The state has moved resources in to try and reduce the dust. She said the farmer could face fines of up to $10,000 a day if he doesn’t do what the state has ordered.

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