Nesselhuf Statement on Farm Dust Bill Following House Vote

South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf released the following statement after the House of Representatives moved forward with Kristi Noem’s bill to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting farm dust regulations that don’t exist.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem has proven today that she is willing to spend $10 million in taxpayer money to ban farm dust regulations that don’t even exist.  Every day that Noem spends fighting farm dust regulations that don’t exist is another day that Noem is neither fighting to create jobs nor preserve taxpayer dollars.  Congress is already starting to debate the future of popular programs for farmers.  It’s long past time that Noem stop her $10 million effort to scare farmers and start joining the conversation on the real issues facing rural South Dakotans.

For more information, please contact Ben Nesselhuf at 605-271-5405 or ben@sddp.org

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Background

Noem Votes To Waste $10 Million On Nonexistent Regulations

Roll call vote on HR 1633. House vote #912 in 2011 [primary source: clerk.house.gov]

Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate [12/6/11]

CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $10 million over the 2012-2016 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary funds. Such funding would cover EPA’s costs to carry out changes to certain existing emission control standards, and activities to study the need and feasibility of modifying EPA’s national monitoring network for PM.

Farm dust bill up for House vote this week

Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter | Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

The House is scheduled to vote this week on legislation that would prohibit U.S. EPA from setting new limits for dust kicked up on farms in rural areas.

According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) weekly schedule, freshman Rep. Kristi Noem’s (R-S.D.) “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act” (H.R. 1633) is on the chamber’s jam-packed agenda that includes 20 bills.

Additionally, the House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow to set the terms of the floor debate for Noem’s bill.

The movement on the legislation comes just a week after the House Energy and Commerce Committee signed off on the bill after a highly contentious debate. Republicans passed the measure out of that committee in a largely partisan vote — only three Democrats joined the majority.

The Rules Committee also announced that they may consider a rule for the bill that could limit the amendment process, which would speed up the legislation’s path to the floor.

Noem’s bill is the latest from congressional Republicans that takes aim at U.S. EPA’s air regulations. The legislation would prevent EPA from changing its standard for coarse particulate matter for one year.

Notably, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said she has no intention of changing that standard or regulating farm dust.

Republicans, however, have contended that the legislation is still necessary because standards can change in the rulemaking process and environmental groups are already lining up to challenge the current standard in court.

Democrats have charged that the bill would open the door to deregulating pollutants beyond farm dust. At the Energy and Commerce Committee markup, ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said the legislation uses the term “nuisance dust,” which his not used in the Clean Air Act and is broadly defined in the bill.

Nuisance dust, Waxman charged, could include both fine and coarse particles, as well as pollution from a host of sources including industrial mining and cement kilns.

The Energy and Commerce Committee did pass one amendment, from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), clarifying that nuisance dust did not include coal ash or any residuals from coal combustion (E&ENews PM, Nov. 30).

Schedule: The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow at 3 p.m. in H-313 in the Capitol.

Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 1633 – Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act [12/7/11]

This ambiguously written bill would create high levels of regulatory uncertainty regarding emission control requirements that have been in place for years.  Specifically, the bill’s exclusion from the entire CAA of a new class of air pollutants called “nuisance dust” (an imprecise and scientifically-undefined term) could be used to roll back existing public health protection limiting pollution from mining operations, industrial activities, and possibly other sources.  The bill also raises serious issues about whether EPA could continue to implement the existing health-based fine and coarse particle programs, which play a vital, ongoing role in preventing adverse health effects of air pollution including premature deaths, childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.

Further, this bill is unnecessary, as it purports to address a problem that does not exist.  Responding to false claims that EPA intended to tighten regulation of coarse particles EPA has repeatedly explained that it plans to retain the existing coarse particulate standard, which originally went into effect in 1987 and remains adequately protective of public health.

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