Freshman Rep. Fincher, R-Tenn., has initiated both a Dear Colleague letter and a Members letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, which convey congressional opposition to EPA’s proposal to regulate coarse particulate matter (dust) at lower levels. He is circulating these letters for signatures of other House Members. These letters are available on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2011/fincherdust.cfm.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is required to review its National Ambient Air Quality Standards every five years. Particulate matter is one of six criteria pollutants under the CAA which are subject to this periodic review.

An EPA advisory board, which helps EPA review the standards, concluded that the uncertainty surrounding current health data are such that EPA could either maintain the present standard or reduce it. Although the agency has not made a formal proposal, it is considering a threshold twice as stringent as the current standard.

In his letter to Administrator Jackson, Rep. Fincher states, “Given the difficulty and expensive process of mitigating dust in most settings, the revised standards could have a devastating impact on rural communities and greatly reduce our nation’s food security.”

Rep. Fincher, 37, was a managing partner in Fincher Farms, a W. Tennessee-based business farming cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. He has been a farmer in the family business his entire life and lives in the Frog Jump community of Crockett County. He currently is a member of both the House Committee on Agriculture and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.