Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Robert Hurt (R-VA) and Larry Kissell (D-NC) announced the introduction of a bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from burdening farmers, ranchers and small business owners in rural America with additional dust regulations. The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 is the first bill authored by Freshman Rep. Noem.
"The EPA has an important mission but further regulating dust in rural South Dakota isn't part of it. This bill will help provide certainty to our farmers, ranchers, and small business owners so they can focus on growing their business and creating jobs without the threat of burdensome new EPA dust regulations. I'm pleased to focus my first bill on stopping the job-destroying overreach of the EPA," said Rep. Noem.
"I am co-sponsoring this legislation to provide Iowa farmers with greater certainty in how they run their operations and to protect them from any unintended consequences of overregulation," Congressman Boswell said. "This legislation allows state and local officials, who know the land and climate best, to have primary say in determining a policy on dust in their jurisdictions," said Rep. Boswell.
"This bill is another step in our continued efforts to help spur job creation throughout Virginia's 5th District and the nation. 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," said Rep. Hurt.
"While we must ensure that the air we breathe is safe, we cannot allow overreaching EPA regulations to jeopardize the success of agriculture, or to place at risk jobs in our rural communities. This legislation will require the EPA to distinguish between rural and urban dust standards, allowing our farmers to continue to kick up a little dirt as they conduct the important work of providing our nation's food supply. Farmers were the original environmentalists and they understand the importance of responsible land and air management. We must allow them to continue their rich tradition as stewards of the land," said Rep. Kissell.
Specifically, H.R. 1633 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. Secondly, it provides flexibility for states, localities, and tribes 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 National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Public Lands Council, and American Farm Bureau.
The bill introduction follows previous work done by Noem to stop the EPA's regulatory overreach on the issue of dust. In February Noem offered an amendment to H.R. 1 to stop the EPA from implementing new regulations rural dust for one year. The amendment was adopted receiving bipartisan support. Noem also sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, along with 100 other Members, urging the EPA not to revise the current standards for course particulate matter, or dust.