Bloomberg News

House Votes to Stop Farm-Dust Rule EPA Has No Plans to Issue

December 12, 2011

(Updates with comment from Whitfield in third paragraph.)

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from tightening air-pollution controls on farm dust, a regulation the agency said it has no plans to issue.

The Republican-led House passed the legislation 268-150 today. President Barack Obama’s administration said it opposes the bill and issued a veto threat yesterday. Republicans said they don’t trust the EPA to hold off on new standards and worry a lawsuit could force the agency to act.

“Many of the environmental decisions made in America today come as outside groups file lawsuits, and EPA runs and enters into” an agreement to comply with that request, Representative Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican, said before the vote.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, that the EPA would keep intact the current standard for particulate-matter pollution for farms, construction and demolition work.

Jackson, in the Oct. 14 letter, said that she decided to maintain the 1987 standard after a review of the science, an analysis by agency scientists and recommendations from an outside advisory panel.

“This is a bad solution to an imaginary problem,” Representative Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said during debate. “With one week left in the legislative session, we are spending a day on a bill that addresses a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The bill is H.R. 1633

--Editors: Steve Geimann, Larry Liebert

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net


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