Beware! Dust!

Have you ever driven along a dirt road? Ever tracked dirt into the house or dusted? Of course you have, because dirt is a naturally occurring entity which is found everywhere. And, apparently, according to the EPA, it’s making us sick, and therefore needs to be regulated.

We’ve heard of some ridiculous regulations before (see: over the counter asthma inhalers), but this is somewhere near the top of the list. The EPA is trying to revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) relating to “coarse particulate matter.” You may have heard of it, it’s called dust. The EPA currently regulates such matter as soot, but now they want to change that to include dust, like what you’d find walking in the woods or just about anywhere else.

Farmers would be most hurt by this regulation. They already try to control their dust with some well-developed practices, but it is difficult what with those darn crops not cooperating. As with most of their ridiculous regulations, the EPA believes it has the right to control dust by loosely reading the Clean Air Act. And, just like most of their regulations, science isn’t exactly on their side. Their own assessment shows there is uncertainty as to whether more regulation is needed. By why let a little thing like science get in their way?

By further regulating coarse particulate matter to include common dust, the EPA is putting more burdens on farmers, especially small farmers and family-owned farms. But we know the EPA doesn’t care about job creation, input costs for farmers, rural development or even what it would mean for our grocery bills.

Enter Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD), who has introduced H.R.1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011. It has 121 cosponsors and would prevent the EPA from introducing, passing or enforcing any regulation that would revise the NAAQS for at least one year after this bill is passed.

The RSC highlighted the EPA’s regulation with their Golden Turkey Award, which is given out to highlight absurd and obscure government regulations. It’s easy to see why this one made the list and as such it needs to be combated before it ever sees the light of day – which the EPA might just try to regulate next.

The House is debating the bill right now. Interestingly, President Obama has threatened to veto it, even though his very own EPA declared it had no intention to regulate farm dust. Why issue a veto threat for it then?

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