GOP senator grills EPA over barbecue research

GOP senator grills EPA over barbecue research
© Getty Images

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on MORE (R-Ohio) is hitting the the Environmental Protection Agency for funding a small research project into reducing barbecue emissions.

Portman’s office puts out a monthly series on what he considers wasteful government spending. Ahead of the Fourth of July, he highlighted a $15,000 EPA grant into ways to reduce fine particulate emissions from barbecue grills.

“Ohioans celebrating our nation’s independence this 4th of July should be able to grill in peace,” he said in a statement. “The EPA doesn’t need to use taxpayer dollars to tell us how to safely grill a cheeseburger."

ADVERTISEMENT

Last August, the EPA issued the grant to University of California researchers investigating ways to reduce the emissions and “alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation,” according to the grant page

The researchers are developing a two-step process to prevent barbecue grease from dripping into an open flame or reduce the emissions that come from those flare-ups.

They first designed a tray to collect grease when flipping meat and then a “secondary filtration system” to reduce emissions from whatever grease the tray misses.

“By reducing [fine particulates], the well-being of the community will benefit due to cleaner emissions,” according to the grant page. The technology is designed for southern California, but there is the "potential for global application" as well. 

But the grant fired up Portman, who skewered the EPA for what he called a waste of taxpayer money.

"I support a clean environment, and the EPA has more important things to do instead of meddling in American past times," he said. 

The EPA responded Thursday, saying the grant was for student researchers ahead of a science fair.

"The competition helps inspire the next generation of innovators and scientists, and brings technology and science into the marketplace," spokeswoman Laura Allen said. "The market would decide if this technology is used."

—This post was updated at 1:05 p.m.