Today, U.S. Representative Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump) voted in favor of H.R. 1633, which provides certainty to rural America regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to regulate dust. Congressman Fincher is a cosponsor of the bill, which passed the House 268 to 150 earlier today.
This bill prohibits the EPA from issuing any new rules for coarse particulate matter (PM10), or dust, for one year following enactment into law. It also limits the EPA's ability to regulate nuisance dust, which the bill defines as being generated from natural sources, unpaved roads, agricultural activities, and other activities that occur in rural areas. H.R. 1633 provides farmers and other small business owners with regulatory certainty, while still allowing state and local governments to regulate efficiently.
Fincher said, "I've never heard anything so crazy as the EPA trying to regulate dust. But that's how out of touch the EPA is with rural America." Fincher stated, "Imagine not being able to drive down a dirt road or not being able to plow the soil. It seems that the EPA needs some time on a farm before proposing more costly regulations that will devastate rural America."
Fincher continued, "Adding additional regulations on farm dust will only cause farmers to grow less food, not more. Less food grown means higher costs at the grocery store. With rising input costs, an overreaching federal government, and an unstable economy, farmers and other small business owners need certainty to plan for the future, create jobs, and expand their operations. This bill protects family farmers and small businesses in rural communities from out of touch bureaucrats in Washington, while still allowing state and local governments to regulate efficiently."
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the ability to more stringently regulate dust. If the EPA determines more stringent standards are necessary, family farmers and ranchers, as well as rural economies, would be devastated.
In March of this year, Congressman Fincher sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson urging her not to implement a more stringent rule for regulating dust.