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EPA Eyeing That Saturday Afternoon BBQ at the Park

Feds studying emissions from residential barbecues

A resolution in the Michigan Senate sounds the alarm that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon be meddling with how outdoor barbecue-loving Americans prepare their food. Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 expresses opposition to EPA efforts to acquire a study that could lead to regulations on outdoor grills and barbecues.

The EPA has commissioned a study intended, "To perform research and develop preventative technology that will reduce fine particulate emissions (PM2.5) from residential barbecues. This technology is intended to reduce air pollution as well as health hazards in Southern California, with potential for global application."

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, and Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, are joint sponsors of the resolution.

“We want to prevent another absolutely absurd overreach by the EPA and keep them from getting into our backyards and shutting off our barbecues and grills,” Pavlov said.

The resolution says, in part:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our nation's environmental regulatory agency, has funded a University of California-Riverside student project to develop preventive technology to reduce emissions from residential barbecues. By funding this project, the EPA is apparently intent on finding a solution to a problem that does not exist and demonstrating an unnecessary interest and concern over the impact of backyard barbecues on public health; and based on the EPA's past practices, today's study, no matter how small, is a concern to Michiganders and Americans, as it is inevitably the first step toward tomorrow's regulation of this American pastime.

To fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment, the EPA's primary tool has been, and continues to be, regulatory mandates that time and again ignore the financial, economic, and social burdens to the state and the country. The regulation of barbecues would be the latest, egregious example of overreach by the EPA; and funding such a study is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. In the face of record national debts, annual budget deficits, and other profound problems the country is facing, surely the federal government can better use our resources than on a study of grills and backyard barbecues.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 was introduced on May 14 and referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, which is chaired by Casperson.

“This is not the biggest issue we have here in Michigan, and particularly in Northern Michigan, regarding the EPA; but it is especially symbolic of what keeps happening when you have an agenda-driven agency like the present day EPA that wants to regulate everything,” Casperson said.

Pointing out that a concurrent resolution at the state level doesn’t carry the weight of law with the federal government, Michigan Capitol Confidential asked Casperson whether much of anything can be done to stop the EPA from going ahead with its apparent plans.

“We’re trying to educate people and make them aware of the oppressive nature of what we’re up against,” Casperson said. “That’s one of the things we can do — educate the citizens about things like this that they certainly have a right to be angry and concerned over — and I believe it is working somewhat.”

"I think you’re going to see more direct action taken soon on another issue we have with the EPA,” Casperson continued. “Within the next few weeks I think you’ll see a lawsuit filed against the EPA over the County Road 595 project in Marquette County, which was blocked by an EPA permit denial. Someone has to start challenging the EPA on issues like this or it is going to keep on doing things that are beyond comprehension."

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.