Lois Capps

Train Act and Clean Air Act - July 31, 2011

Lois Capps
July 13, 2011— Washington, D.C.
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House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word to speak against Chairman Whitfield's amendment. Mr. Chairman, the Train Act is designed to make a train wreck out of a specific list of life-saving public health protections that are provided by the Clean Air Act. Now, we have an amendment before us to delay EPA's mercury and air toxic standards for power plants, standards that will save thousands of lives each and every year. Power plants are the largest emitter of mercury and scores of other toxic air pollutants; and they are still failing to comply with the basic Clean Air Act requirements for toxic pollution, over two decades after the adoption of the 1990 amendments. This situation is due to unlawful delays in standards by the prior administration that had resulted in the obligation by the present EPA to re-propose and reissue lawful air toxic standards to protect the public. EPA's proposed mercury and air toxic standards for power plants will deliver enormous public health benefits. Were these standards to be delayed by even a single year, the potential magnitude of extreme health consequences would be significant. EPA has projected that, by 2016, the proposed standards every year would avoid up to 17 thousand premature deaths, 11 thousand nonfatal heart attacks, 120 thousand asthma attacks and 850 thousand days of people missing work. So chairman, why would we delay with saving that many lives? Why would we delay preventing that many asthma attacks? There is a huge economic cost in not doing so, in not implementing those standards immediately. In fact, we should really be working to do that here today. It's what our constituents want us to do. You know, I learned this first-hand when I recently received some test results showing—I brought the results here—that I have, personally, an unsafe level of mercury in my body. I decided to take a clump of my hair and I sent it down to the University of Georgia to an independent lab. This is the result I received back…that I have an unsafe level of mercury in my body. So I'd suggest that my colleagues might want to do the same thing. It cost 20 bucks. But it's worth knowing what impacts air pollution has on our bodies, along with other kinds of pollution, of course, as well.

Speech from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ7m8w2BFvk.