Photo: nosha. Flickr, CC BY-SA
Bold and cunning Republicans in both the House of Reps and the Senate have undertaken a noble new cause: Getting rid of "farm dust regulations" so that poor ol' farmers can get a break from the dastardly Environmental Protection Agency. Republicans have put forward amendments that would eliminate those freedom-destroying "farm dust regulations" once and for all! There's just one thing: They don't exist. No, the EPA does not currently regulate farm dust, nor does it have any plans on doing so. Why then, would anyone insist upon creating an amendment to prohibit a nonexistent activity? Oh, that's right! Cheap, calculating political gain!
See, the GOP is reeeeeeeally trying to push this 'EPA is the destroyer of jobs and all things' narrative, and to get Midwestern voters sufficiently freaked out about the invasion of Big Government, they've taken to convincing folks that their dust is about to fall under federal scrutiny. Which is nonsense. So why would anyone believe it?
Because of our perpetually irresponsible media, of course! Check out the opening to this Politico story: "A Republican amendment targeting the Environmental Protection Agency's nonexistent farm dust regulations laid the groundwork for a surprising, and possibly precedent-setting, parliamentary maneuver from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."
Say what? The author mentions in passing that said regulation is "nonexistent" but then goes on to focus the entire 30+ paragraph piece on the parliamentary maneuvering between Democrats and Republicans, and whether this Dem should have said that, and how effective the GOP's message (which Politico dutifully repeats) that the EPA is a job-killer will be, and blah, blah, blah. If you stick around to the end (if you didn't I don't blame you, it is mind-crushingly dull), you finally see this:
[EPA Administrator Lisa] Jackson has said the agency has no plans to regulate. The agency is currently studying how to regulate soot pollution -- also referred to as coarse particulate pollution or PM10 -- but has not proposed any new standards. The Bush administration found the biggest emitters to include coal power plants, petroleum refineries, cement kilns, incinerators and iron and steel mills.Sigh. Republicans say they don't believe her, and insist that she is indeed manufacturing a sinister plot to, um, crack down on farm dust. For some reason. Which is nonsense of the highest degree. And yet, Politico focuses not on that nonsense, but the he-said-she-said melodrama that is presented as more important than the actual facts.
Regulating farm dust has been lumped into other concerns that Jackson has dismissed as "myths" that the agency would also impose a "cow tax" to regulate bovine emissions and regulate spilled milk like spilled oil.
It's in this swirling confusion, birthed by the credence given to breathless speculating by the media, that face-palmingly dumb ideas and statements are inculcated into reality. This is what happened with the 'death panels', with 'ClimateGate', with Solyndra, and now, with farm dust. And it's all bullshit.