“Not Some Rump Group”: CLF Cited in Congressional Debate on Farm Dust

Rep. Eshoo at hearing

Since the new Congress began in January, a record number of votes have been taken in attempts to weaken environmental regulations.  According to a useful database maintained by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the U.S. House of Representatives has voted 170 times since the beginning of the year to strip key environmental and public health protections from the law.  This number does not include—not yet, anyway—a vote on the legal authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate particulate matter (PM) in rural areas under the Clean Air Act.  That will soon change, however, as the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 1633/S. 1528) makes its way to the House floor.  The bill defines a new category of PM—one established without scientific rationale—and effectively exempts all PM within that category from EPA regulation.  If passed, this bill could have serious consequences for the health of rural communities, so CLF has been tracking the legislation closely.  We recently sent a letter to Congress that outlined the scientific literature on exposure to PM in rural areas.  The bill—and our letter—took center stage recently at a meeting of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Read More >