House moves to prevent future EPA farm dust regulations


(Cliff Owen/AP)

The House on Thursday passed a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing any rules to strengthen its standards on farm dust, as Democrats derided the measure for taking aim at a regulation that does not exist.

The measure, H.R. 1633, was sponsored by freshman Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.); it passed Thursday afternoon on a 268-to-150 vote, with 33 Democrats joining all Republicans present to vote in favor of the bill.

The bill stands little chance of being taken up in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the White House on Wednesday issued a veto threat of the measure.

House Republicans hailed Thursday’s bill as a jobs bill that would bring certainty to farmers and ranchers and argued that the measure represents the GOP’s latest effort to strike back against overregulation by the federal government.

“Stopping excessive government regulations that threaten job growth is a key part of the Republican jobs plan,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “The jobs bill passed by the House today would prevent Washington from imposing unnecessary restrictions on American farmers and ranchers that would destroy jobs and raise prices on families struggling in President Obama’s economy.”

Democrats and the Obama administration countered that the bill seeks to do away with regulations that do not exist – and that the EPA has stated earlier this year it does not intend to propose.

The White House argued that the bill was “ambiguously written” and “would create serious problems for implementing Clean Air Act (CAA) public health protections.”

“The bill therefore, goes far beyond its stated intent of prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from tightening national standards for coarse particles, which the Administration has repeatedly explained that it has no intention of doing,” the White House said in its statement.

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