By Bartholomew Sullivan
The House passed a bill Thursday prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new rules for regulating course particulate air pollution, which some Mid-South lawmakers claimed would stop the agency from trying to regulate “farm dust.”
“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,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn. “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.”
Critics of the bill, including environmentalists at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that proponents of the measure were using misleading slogans to derail air pollution rules affecting coal-fired power plants, refineries, vehicles, manufacturing plants and mines because it is the size of the particulates, not their source, that is at issue. The prohibition on new rules is for one year.
The vote was 268-150, with Fincher, and U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., and Rick Crawford, R-Ark., voting for it. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., voted no.
Published in The Messenger 12.9.11