Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Rural America from Regulatory Overreach

November 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today approved bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed certainty for rural America. H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, passed the full committee with bipartisan support by a vote of 33 to 16.

The legislation was authored by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Leonard Boswell (D-IA) and is currently co-sponsored by over 115 Republicans and Democrats. The bill is needed to protect America's farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses from continued uncertainty around the current and future regulation of rural dust. Specifically, it prevents EPA from changing its current standard for coarse particulate matter for one year and exempts "nuisance dust" from federal regulation where such dust is already regulated under state, tribal, or local law.

"H.R. 1633 achieves two important goals: regulatory certainty in the short term, and common sense for rural America in the long-term. The bill maintains the current coarse particulate matter standard for one year - a position Lisa Jackson has embraced with her plans to propose maintaining the standard - and it offers regulatory relief to rural America by recognizing that states and local communities are better equipped to monitor and control farm dust. EPA would no longer be in the business of regulating rural dust except in cases where it is not already being regulated and the benefits of EPA regulation outweigh the costs," said Upton.

"I'm pleased to see the momentum behind this commonsense bill that would stop any new job-destroying rules from the EPA to further regulate dust.  If you've ever been on a farm or ranch, you know that dust is simply a part of doing business.  I hope this bill is brought to the House floor soon so we can get one step closer to providing American agriculture with the regulatory certainty they need," said Noem.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, its state affiliates, and over 185 organizations support this legislation and believe it will address their concerns over the regulation of rural dust. House Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) identified a more stringent dust standard as one of the administration's top ten job-destroying regulations. This bill is an important of part of House Republicans' pro-growth agenda to provide job creators regulatory relief to get the economy back on track and Americans back to work.