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Congressman Stephen Fincher

Representing the 8th District of TENNESSEE

Dusting Off the EPA

Oct 28, 2011
Weekly Updates

Teaching the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commonsense is like teaching an old dog new tricks – tough and slow, but with a lot of work sometimes doable. 

We all know the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is out of touch with American citizens, American farmers, and the agriculture community.  Just recently the EPA announced it is seeking to regulate dust.  Can you imagine trying to regulate dust on farms in Tennessee?  Just sounds crazy. 

Specifically, the EPA has considered more rigorous rules for regulating Coarse Particulate Matter (PM10), or dust, even though the EPA itself estimates that there will be no benefits in regard to public health.  This further highlights the disconnect the EPA has with small business and the economy. Every day I am fighting back against the unworkable rules and regulations that just don’t make sense.

These potential strict dust regulations are ridiculous. Regulating rural dust would mean regulating farmers’ actions, driving down rural dirt roads, and other everyday activities. In Arizona, where farm dust is currently regulated, farmers are forced to park tractors on windy days to prevent getting strapped with outrageous fines.

Farmers and ranchers work hard every day to grow food for our growing nation. They plant and harvest according to the weather and seasons; asking farmers to consider how much dust they may stir up as a result of farming flies in the face of common sense.

This proposal by the EPA is simply outrageous. That’s why I am proud to co-sponsor H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011, to provide regulatory certainty to the agriculture industry and American farmers.  H.R. 1633 will do two main things. First, it will prevent any changes to current farm dust regulation for one year. Second, it will allow state and local governments to regulate nuisance dust (which excludes dust typical of rural areas). Only when there are no local regulations in place, the EPA can enforce regulations after they have determined a specific type of dust causes health problems.

As a farmer myself, I realize the importance of this legislation. With rising input costs, an over-reaching federal government, and an unstable economy, farmers, and other small business owners need assurance to plan for the future, create jobs, and expand their operations. H.R. 1633 will give farmers certainty when it comes to job-killing EPA regulations. 

In conclusion - it’s time to bring some Tennessee commonsense to Washington.