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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1633, Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BALDWIN. I thank the gentleman for yielding time.

Madam Speaker, the bill before us today is entitled the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011.

I want to make something very clear. If we were here today voting on a bill that actually stopped farm dust from being regulated by the EPA, I would support it. Agriculture is hugely important to my home State of Wisconsin, and the thought of regulating farm dust on a Federal level is simply ridiculous. However, there is no attempt by the EPA to regulate farm dust. Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the EPA has no intention of regulating farm dust.

The Republican Senate sponsor of this bill, former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, states that the EPA has provided ``unequivocal assurance that it won't attempt to regulate farm dust.''

This legislation is not about farm dust. Instead, this bill creates a new category of pollution called ``nuisance dust'' and exempts it from the Clean Air Act entirely. To be clear, ``nuisance dust'' is a made-up term that has no basis in established science.

Under this legislation, particulate pollution from open-pit mines, mine processing plants, sand mines, lead smelters, and cement kilns would be exempt from the Clean Air Act. These facilities emit coarse and fine particulates--arsenic, lead, mercury, and other toxic substances.

Now, I don't know about you, Madam Speaker, but this doesn't sound like ``farm dust'' to me.

I agree with my colleague Congressman John Dingell, who said, ``This is a solution in search of a problem.'' During the Energy and Commerce Committee markup, the majority showed us that this bill isn't about farm dust at all; it's about hacking another hole in the Clean Air Act and about stoking the fears of rural Americans and farmers for cheap political points.
Americans are so sick of these political games. They want jobs, not fear mongering and baseless accusations. We shouldn't be wasting our time and theirs dealing with myths. We have real problems that need real solutions.

We should be extending the payroll tax relief for hardworking American families. We should be passing a transportation bill that puts Americans back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges. We should be extending unemployment insurance to millions of Americans who are still out, pounding the pavement day in and day out, trying to find work.

Republicans need to stop stoking the fears of farmers and rural Americans and get back to fixing the real crisis facing our country--the jobs crisis.


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