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Senator Johnson: Noem Dust Bill “Ridiculous”

Kristi Noem likes dust.Rep. Kristi Noem's bill to exempt dust from the Clean Air Act gets a hearing on Capitol Hill Friday. Expect the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to eat it up. Then expect Senator Tim Johnson to kick this junk legislation into the garbage can when it crosses chambers. Politico notes that Senate Republicans are trying to pressure farm-state Dems facing re-election to vote for such useless legislation, but that Senator Johnson is providing cover:

But enough Democrats could have followed the lead of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). "He has described the House bill as ridiculous and an attempt to scare farmers," his spokesman emailed, referring to farm dust legislation introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) that is similar to the Johanns bill [Darren Goode, "Caught in a Dust Storm on EPA Bills,", 2011.10.10].

Senator Johnson makes clear that Rep. Noem is making stuff up:

"This is a non-issue. While some have tried to scare the ag community using this issue, the EPA has stated publicly several times that it has no intention of regulating farm dust," Johnson said in an e- mail to The Daily Republic. "Similar to the "˜Cow Tax' in the past, this is a made-up controversy, and I don't see it going anywhere in the Senate" [Tom Lawrence, "Rep. Noem's Dust Bill to Get Hearing Friday," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2011.10.12].

Noem's fellow dust clouder and erstwhile cow-fart crusader John Thune tells the Mitchell Daily Republic that Senator Mike Johann's companion bill to Noem's nonsense "would prevent another overreach by this administration." Thune protests thus despite the fact that, just as on the bogus alarm our whole Congressional delegation raised over federal motor carrier safety regulations this summer, the Obama Administration has made clear that it has no intention of reaching, let alone overreaching, in this direction.

Kudos to Senator Johnson for calling out Rep. Noem on her phony legislation. The Clean Air Act is good for the economy and for our health. Rep. Noem should spend less time kicking up dust and more time trying to craft real policy to boost the economy.


  1. Donald Pay 2011.10.13

    Anytime you have a shill for an elected official claiming some bill is "common sense" you can be assured the bill is a loser. If Noem and Congressional Republicans want to waste time doing this kind of stunt for some non-existent problem all it accomplishes is showing how completely out of touch they are with the reality of America right now.

  2. Douglas Wiken 2011.10.13

    Holy batmobile, Johnson actually can stiffen his flexible backbone.

  3. Linda McIntyre 2011.10.13

    Read these articles from 2010 and see that there was a reason for Noem proposing this "ridiculous" in your mind bill. It isn't always necessary to wait for an agency to over-reach and then try to get rid of a new law/regulation; it's better to get ahead of the problem, and that is what Noem's bill does.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.13

    Let's see... from the Reuters article:

    In scientific terms, the EPA is looking to either keep the standards at 150 micrograms per cubic meter or revise it down to 65 to 85 micrograms per cubic meter.

    Environmental groups say these tiny elements could be harmful if not deadly for people, causing cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

    "They are small enough that they bypass the natural defenses of the body and can be inhaled deeply into the lung," said Janice Nolen, the American Lung Association assistant vice president.
    So dust causes disease and death. The scientific recommends either keeping the same standards or tightening them. And all Noem can say is that the EPA is out to destroy the ag industry. That doesn't sound good.

    Also from Reuters:

    But technically, EPA can't use common sense if it clashes with science, as their assessments are required to be purely scientific and mindless of ramifications, said John Walke, clean air director at the National Resources Defense Council.

    "The EPA doesn't care where the pollution is coming from, and our lungs don't care," he said.
    That doesn't sound like "overreach." That sounds like protecting Americans from profit-focused polluters.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.13

    And everything posted yet is all "if", Linda. I see no evidence of EPA regulating in the direction Noem wants us to fear. I see no evidence of EPA regulating just to regulate. The discussion they appear to be having in those drafts is about real health harms and trying to find the right level of protection for Americans.

  6. Nick Nemec 2011.10.14

    The Republican Party thrives on internet rumors. Dust regulation, cow tax what's next hunting licenses for the alligators in the NYC sewers?

  7. Charlie Johnson 2011.10.14

    No, Nick, it's requiring a "parade permit" for any two or more workers visiting together in the lunchroom lest they be organizing a workers union.

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