Ever since I heard of Rep. Kristi Noem’s bill to stop the EPA from regulating “farm dust” – defined as “coarse particulate matter” rather than the “fine particulate matter” of garden variety air pollution – I was reminded of John Thune’s 2009 campaign to stop the agency from implementing a “cow tax.”
But where Thune had a declaration from the EPA stating that carbon dioxide, methane and other gases were “major hazards” to Americans’ health as a springboard, Noem has a much weaker 5-year agency review.
Still, I wasn’t ready to waive off the issue as some of Noem’s political opponents have done. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine an EPA scientist/bureaucrat toiling away in a nondescript DC building issuing a recommendation to examine coarse particulate matter in preparation for the agency’s 5-year review.
Add a bloated lobbyist/operative class looking for mischief, stir and serve.
Then something Noem said on her weekly conference call with reporters on Thursday set off my reporter’s radar like a Goodyear Blimp.
This just guarantees the EPA won’t be able to change those standards for next year. …
This freezes the standard for next year regarding national ambient air quality standards. They can still come forward during the midst of their reviews and make changes for the future.
Uh, next year? The MDR West River investigative bureau sprang into action. I read the bill. It’s short even by SD Legislature standards and downright micro by Capitol Hill standards. Here’s the language on the timeframe:
Before the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may not propose, finalize, implement, or enforce any regulation revising the national primary ambient air quality standard or the national secondary ambient air quality standard applicable to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter greater than 2.5 micrometers under section 109 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7409).
It doesn’t go further than that. There isn’t another section that augments or extends anything.
If farm dust regulation is such a threat to our economy, indeed to our very way of life in SD, why would this bill, given all the grief it creates, hold off the EPA for a measely year? Could the point be what Noem said on her Thursday call:
To have that certainty in law is very important for ag producers.
It’s difficult to define a year’s moratorium as “certainty.” So maybe the point is all the grief. MDR editor Seth Tupper’s column in today’s paper would seem to reinforce that:
“The Environmental Protection Agency is out to do us all in,” Noem said [in Mitchell in June], “and close all our businesses.”
What can one say about that except, “Good grief.”