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GOP Battles Non-Existent Regulations

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More items for Health & Safety

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Hey, did you hear that the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to ban dusty back roads and has fined hundreds of companies $5,000 a day for spilled milk?

You probably have—Republicans have been beating the drum over both as examples of regulation run amok.

The problem: The rules don’t exist, never did, and are not in the works.

Still, the stories have gained surprising traction—even, in the case of the road-dust story, spawning no less than three federal bills to fight a rule that doesn’t exist.

‘You Can Be Fined for Driving Home’

“Now, here comes my favorite of the crazy regulatory acts,” Rep. John Carter (R-TX) recently said in a speech on the House floor. “The EPA is now saying you can be fined for driving home every night on your gravel road.”

 C-Span video

 C-Span video

“The EPA is now saying you can be fined for driving home every night on your gravel road,” said Rep. John Carter (R-TX). No such regulation is proposed.

Carter said EPA had proposed a rule that would require farmers and other rural residents to “go out and spend $20,000 and pave your driveway, five miles of driveway.”

He added: “Make sure you put a certain kind of pavement, because it’s got to have pavement that doesn’t kick up dust.”

Even farmers who pave roads might be in trouble, Carter said, because “paving it might kick up enough dust to get you fined anyway. The EPA wants to regulate dust.”

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has also joined the farm-dust bandwagon, citing the alleged rule as a reason to eliminate the EPA.

 “Now, I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild,” Cain said Sept. 22 in a GOP debate in Orlando. “The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they’ve gone too far.”

3 Bills Fight Phantom Rule

No such regulation is planned regarding PM10, which includes farm dust, much less taking effect on Jan. 1.

Still, the stories have proved so persistent that they have launched three bills in Congress to prevent any such thing.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is sponsoring one of those measures. Although EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said, and written,  that the agency has no plan to regulate open-air farm dust, Noem is not satisfied.

Her bill, which has drawn 111 co-sponsors, would weaken EPA’s power to do so in the future. The bill passed a House subcommittee on Nov. 3.

 “This EPA has been very hard on business in this country, and this EPA has been very hard on agriculture,” Noem said. “I think it’s time we pushed back.”

Fining Bessie the Cow

The flap began about a year ago, when Arizona and California began to require some farmers to take some dust-control measures. Later, an advisory panel to EPA recommended a wider standard. Jackson, however, declined to act, saying repeatedly that she would not propose such a standard. And none has been drafted.

That did not stop House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) from criticizing what he called “EPA’s proposed regulations” on farm dust in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) followed up with: “Say Bessie the cow kicks up too much dust running over to your pickup truck at feeding time. The EPA is going to fine you for Bessie’s misconduct.”

Spokesmen for Boehner, Poe and Carter all told The Washington Post that “their bosses knew there was no actual proposed rule” and “were speaking hypothetically …. about the threat of a possible rule,” reported. A Cantor spokesman offered no explanation.

Decrying Over Spilled Milk

The fictitious spilled-milk regulation—the target of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)—also has observers scratching their heads.

 Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

 Ken Stone

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) says “hundreds of companies” have been fined $5,000 a day for spilled milk. His office could provide no documentation.

Appearing Nov. 7 at a small-business seminar at a local community center, Hunter told the crowd that it was “impossible” for business to keep up with today’s regulations.

He cited this example:

“If you spilled milk on your factory floor, it’s $5,000 a day fined by the EPA,” Hunter said. “Spilled milk is considered an oil spill. It, it was. President Obama just had the EPA roll back the rule.”

He went on: “Literally, if you spilled milk on your factory floor, it was considered an oil spill and you can be fined, and people were fined—hundreds of companies fined—$5,000 a day for spilled milk. When you have rules like that and you are a small business, it is impossible to succeed.”

However, Hunter’s office was unable later to provide any documentation of any such fines. Nor does EPA have any record of any such regulation, much less fines imposed.

Even the Washington-based International Dairy Foods Association, a lobbying group, told “We do not have any information on dairy companies that may have been fined for milk spills by the EPA.”

In April, in fact, EPA specifically exempted milk production, handling and transfer from the agency’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations.

A spokesman for Hunter told  “The congressman’s point underscores that regulation—supported by this [Obama] administration—is hurting the economy.”


Tagged categories: Environmental Protection; EPA; Health and safety; Regulations

Comment from Jose Joven, (11/16/2011, 6:45 AM)

In their quest to paint President Obama as the "bad guy" the right has over reached, lied and obstructed the US time and time again. When do these efforts become treason? 2012 is the year we need to get rid of these charletans.

Comment from Jerry Trevino, (11/16/2011, 9:06 AM)

What kind of paint are they using to paint obama? lead based, maybe paint with chromates? do they have the msds for this paint? is it manufactured by labor unions or single mothers? was it transported over sensitive wild life areas, was an environmental impact study made? Was it a shovel ready project? did GE supply any of the raw materials? What was the VOC content of this paint? Jose, please further explain to us the proposed paint to be used on obama.

Comment from William Feliciano, (11/16/2011, 9:33 AM)

It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican to know that over-regulation is bad for all, not just businesses. Even Joe Average can be hurt by it. But for politicians to intentionally lie in a public forum to mislead voters, who when they vote exercise their right only because of the sacrifice of our veterans, should be considered criminal and prosecutable. I say hang them by their feet off a wire for all to see.

Comment from Car F., (11/16/2011, 10:49 AM)

The "system" can only work with the voluntary acquiesence of the people who will defend it as long as it guarantees certain basic things: freedom, safety, honest government, opportunities, needed services, employment. The "system" is becoming illegitimate because it is inflexible to people's needs and is being administered by corrupt corporations and ruling elites, thus Occupy. Once legitimacy is questioned and protest begins, those questioned will resort to lies, deception, violence and ultimately, repression. Society is slowly decomposing sinking lower and lower, the examples listed in this article shows the level of decay and rot, which is not limited to one or the other political party. It is alarming when a President can openly boast about killing a couple of US citizens in another country with no trial, no Court....what happened to "plausible denial"?.....

Comment from Tom Teune, (11/16/2011, 11:01 AM)

Thank you "Paint Square" for reporting on this conservative nonsense. The republican party is becoming not much more than a propaganda machine for extremists. I certainly do not want any of them leading our government.

Comment from John Fauth, (11/17/2011, 8:36 AM)

I think it has become all too common for politicians of both parties (and sadly, many news outlets) to repeat rumor and internet fiction as if it were factual in order to sensationalize an opinion. This happens daily in all facets of our government, and on any radio and television show devoted to political topics. Pointing the finger at any one party, or source, is simply disingenuous.

Comment from Dave Wonnacott, (11/17/2011, 11:13 PM)

Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, it should not be the agenda of this newsletter to become a political activist site. We should be covering topics of merit or discourse about current oroblems to solve. Regarles of which political party you find fault with, the other parties has just as many of the same types of errors. You get you opportunity at the polling booth. Now, lets get off the politics and get down to business or this newsletter will not serve it's purpose.

Comment from shane hirvi, (11/19/2011, 5:06 PM)

Regardless of which side you are on you should call a spade a Spade. There is no shame in calling these people out for passing off figments of their imagination as fact. Great rhetoric but a completely devoid of honesty and integrity.

Comment from Car F., (11/23/2011, 12:36 PM)

Thank you for bringing these interesting topics to the newsletter. I'm often in disagreement with your comments, but I appreciate the respectful tone and language used. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and focus only in our own industry matters, every political decision will affect our industry, either positively or negatively. I support the selection of your Current Affair topics, the more informed we are, the more discerning and educated we become. Respectfully. Carl F.

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