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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Supporters call it the #porksteakrebellion: a St. Louis-born effort to keep the EPA from regulating back yard barbecues. State Senator Eric Schmitt (R) Glendale, is urging people to barbecue this week to send the EPA a message. There are concerns about “particulate emissions” you breathe when you stand over a gas grill; especially when grease hits the flames.

The EPA is funding a $15,000 University of California-Riverside study into the issue.

LeGrand’s Market & Catering in South St. Louis is a favorite stop for sandwiches and –better yet in our recent pre-Spring warmup – burgers and pork steaks for the grill. It was “Grade A” prime ground for the so-called rebellion Monday night.

“I’m ready to be the president of it,” said proprietor, Joe LeGrand.

Schmitt launched the rebellion via Twitter after learning the EPA had funded the study. It will look at cutting emissions from propane grills with built-in exhaust fans and drip trays people would have to insert to catch grease every time they flip meat.

Schmitt introduced a resolution in the legislature Monday to discourage the EPA from any back yard barbecue regulations.

“The idea that the EPA wants to find their way into our back yards, 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,” Schmitt said.

He laughingly called on people to grill in their back yards this week as a sort of “peaceful protest”.

“Personally, I think being able to barbecue in your back yard extends your life,” said Pat Schommer of South St. Louis as he picked up burgers from LeGrand’s to grill for supper, Monday. “It’s part of pleasure – backyard barbecuing and I love it.”

“I do agree we do need to take precautions for our health,” LeGrand said. “But there’s a lot of other things we need to worry about beside our backyard barbecue and our neighbor functions that everyone has fun with. There’s nothing better than a little sunshine, a cold Budweiser, and a pork steak on the grill. A lot of people feel that way, you know.”

Researchers said the study could have global implications.

A spokeswoman for the American Lung Association in St. Louis said any study that could lead to cleaner air was a good idea, especially in the St. Louis area where there’s such a high prevalence of breathing problems, like asthma.