Congressman Robert Hurt (R-VA) today released the following statement after announcing the introduction of a bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from burdening farmers and small business owners in rural America with additional dust regulations. Hurt co-authored the bipartisan Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 along with Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), which seeks to reduce unnecessary regulations on farmers and small businesses in rural areas to create a better environment for job creation and economic growth in the 5th District. Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) and Larry Kissell (D-NC) are co-sponsors of the bill.
"This bill is another step in our continued efforts to help spur job creation throughout Virginia's 5th District. By putting an end to the EPA's unnecessary dust regulations, our famers and small businesses in rural areas across Central and Southside Virginia will gain the certainty and confidence necessary to focus on expanding their business and putting people back to work."
Wilmer Stoneman, Associate Director, Governmental Relations of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation added, "Regulation of farm dust by the EPA could severely hamper the ability of farmers in Virginia and across the nation, and has the potentially devastating effect of decreased productivity, increased food prices and lost jobs in the rural economy. In addition, there is no scientific basis for establishing such a regulation and we doubt that the benefits would outweigh the costs."
This bill develops a two prong approach to preventing the EPA from regulating dust in rural America while still maintaining the protections of the Clean Air Act to the public's health and welfare. First, it provides immediate relief to farmers and rural areas by preventing revision of the current dust standard for one year from date of enactment. Second, it provides flexibility for states and localities to regulate "nuisance dust." If there is no state or local regulation in place, the EPA must determine that the type of dust or particulate matter in question causes adverse health effects and that the benefits of further EPA regulation outweigh the costs to the local and regional communities, including economic and employment impacts.
The bill is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and Public Lands Council.
This bill follows Hurt's previous work to support the agricultural community across the 5th District.
Robert's Recent Actions To Support Farmers And The Agricultural Industry
Yesterday, Robert hosted a constituent roundtable to discuss agricultural issues in South Hill, VA.
H.R. 910: Robert voted for and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 910, which prohibits the EPA from imposing a cap-and-trade regulatory agenda. Such regulations would harm our agriculture and manufacturing sectors, destroy jobs in Virginia, and dramatically increase energy costs for families and small businesses.
H.R. 872: Robert voted in favor of H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011. This bill would eliminate the additional and unnecessary permit requirement for applications of FIFRA-registered pesticides, which are already highly regulated by the EPA.
Letter To EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Regarding The Regulation Of Dust Emissions: Robert signed on to a group letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stating that the EPA should not revise its National Ambient Air Quality Standards for coarse particulate matter (dust). Making the dust standard more stringent would cost farmers and small businesses millions in compliance costs.
H.R. 1: During the H.R. 1 budget debate, Robert voted to cut $3 billion out of the EPA's budget and voted to impose a number of prohibitions on the agency's authority to implement job-destroying regulations, such as the EPA's ability to further regulate dust emissions and delaying the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations.
Agricultural Roundtable In The District: Robert held an agricultural roundtable in Chatham in March to discuss issues and concerns related to the industry.