Erika Johnsen

If, by the title "SPIN METER: GOP Debates Nonexistent Dust Rule," the AP is openly admitting that, yes, they are presenting this story with a wildly slanted agenda, then sure--I'll take it. But if that's supposed to mean that they're cutting through the spin and reporting the facts from a bias-free platform--then no.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The issue may be dust in the wind, but Republicans are still moving to block it.

Environmental Protection Agency officials have said — over and over again — that they won't propose new regulations to limit dust kicked up by farm equipment. But anti-regulation sentiment is strong this year on the campaign trail, and real or not, House Republicans are planning to vote this week to prevent such regulations.

Republicans and even some Democrats have told farm-state audiences that the EPA is considering a crackdown on farms, despite the agency's public statement in October calling that a "myth." ...

In letters to two senators in October, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency won't expand its current air quality standards to include dust created by agriculture. "We hope this action finally puts to rest the misinformation regarding dust regulation and eases the minds of farmers and ranchers across the country," Johnson said then.

That didn't stop the opponents' message machine. Just a few weeks later, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has since suspended his campaign, ran a television ad in Iowa that quoted a farmer saying, "The EPA wants to regulate dust." ...

Environmentalists say the House bill, which is not likely to make it through the Senate, would prevent the EPA from even considering tighter regulations if that became necessary for public health.

Okay, let me get this straight: The EPA has definitely said in the recent past that they would like to regulate farm dust. Now, officials are saying that they are not currently interested in regulating farm dust. (Unless, of course, that regulation became necessary for public health. Who, may I ask, decides if and when farm dust becomes an issue of public health? Oh yeah, the EPA and the rest of the Obama administration.) You'll pardon me, EPA, if I don't take you at your word.

The GOP isn't buying the EPA's latest bloviations either, and this morning voted 'yea' on a bill authored by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Leonard Boswell (D-IA) aimed at eliminating the uncertainty the EPA has created for America's farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses. "The EPA has been so aggressive on a lot of its policies, so we just want to make sure they can't take any action that can hurt the farm industry right now," Noem said.

Doubt and uncertainty surrounding future business endeavors can be just as damaging as actual regulations, and it's a good strategy to nip potentially devastating regulations like this in the bud in this economy. This was a smart move by Republicans as a part of their pro-growth agenda, despite Democrats and administrators trying to ridicule and bully the bill as pointless and ineffectual. The Senate probably won't take it up, and the White House has said that it will veto the bill anyways, which is weird--if, as all these bureaucrats claim, they really have no interest in regulating farm dust over the next year, why wouldn't they just pass the bill and bring certainty to all of the farmers who are most certainly asking for it? Could it be... partisan politics?! Never!


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.