The Environmental Protection Agency is all worried about this very serious health hazard: flaming grease from backyard barbecues.

Yup, apparently when you fire up the grill and drop those steaks onto it, some of the hot fat dribbles onto the flames, and whoosh! Air pollution!

So the agency has made a $15,000 grant to the University of California Riverside for students to develop some contraptions–soon to be mandatory, if EPA past practice is any guide–that would "reduce fine particulate emissions (PM2.5) from residential barbecues."

Here's what the EPA way to make outdoor cooking more fun would be like:

The primary approach is a preventative method that will remove the majority of grease drippings from the possibility of unwanted flare ups. A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion.

Hey, pit masters, have a great time maneuvering that tray back and forth (careful not to overcook those steaks while figuring out how to do it!),

Ha ha! I like the little touch of using the grease at your "discretion." Hmm, grease? My imagination is already heating up, so to speak.

But there's more:

100% prevention is not practical, therefore a secondary filtration system is proposed to mitigate the remaining aerosol and particulate matter formed. The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank. Both of these power methods produce the same result of creating rotational speed for the fan blade. The catalytic treatment system will include a cylindrical housing with multiple honeycomb shaped filters coated with catalytic material to break down volatized organic matter. A filtration method will include multi-stage filters going from greater to smaller pore sizes to avoid quick clogging and allow PM10 and PM2.5 to be removed from the barbecue environment.

Huh? As Beef magazine's Joe Roybal puts it:

I’m having a hard time envisioning the look and function of these mechanics – some kind of a Rube Goldberg-style monstrosity attached to my Weber comes to mind.

He continues:

EPA says it isn’t interested in regulating backyard family barbecues, but at least one legislator is having none of it. “The idea that the EPA wants to find their way into our backyards, where we’re congregating with our neighbors, having a good time, on the 4th of July, barbecuing pork, steak or hamburgers, is ridiculous and it’s emblematic of agency that’s sort of out of control,” says State Senator Eric Schmitt from St. Louis, MO.

In fact, Schmitt has instituted what he calls, a “pork, steak rebellion on Twitter (#porksteakrebellion), to dispel any EPA notions about messing with Americans’ backyard barbecues. He’s also encouraging Americans to fire up their grills in protest this week.

I'm with Schmitt. Get the government out of our bedrooms? How about getting the government out of our backyards?

By reducing PM2.5, the well-being of the community will benefit due to cleaner emissions.