At Subcommittee Hearing, Democrats Underscore Biden-Harris Administration’s Efforts to Protect Public Health and Combat Climate Crisis
Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2023)—Today, Rep. Cori Bush, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, led Subcommittee Democrats in examining the Biden-Harris Administration’s urgent efforts to adopt emission standards that will help American families breathe easier while tackling the climate crisis.
“The Administration has been advancing ambitious, yet attainable standards to reduce polluting emissions from vehicles and improve public health. We have only a brief window to act to prevent the most severe consequences of climate change. Reducing emissions from the transportation sector is critical as transportation is now the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” said Ranking Member Bush in her opening statement.
The hearing included testimony from Republican witnesses Steve Bradbury, Distinguished Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Doug Kantor, General Counsel, National Association of Convenience Stores; and Josh Roe, Chief Executive Officer, Kansas Corn Growers Association. The hearing also featured testimony from Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Senior Director, Domestic Climate and Energy Policy, Center for American Progress.
Subcommittee Democrats highlighted why reducing emissions in the transportation sector is essential for public health and the climate.
- Ranking Member Cori Bush pointed out that medium and heavy-duty vehicles produce a staggering 59% of ozone and particle forming emissions and 55% of particle pollution. “The negative effects of polluted air are disproportionately severe on Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.” She continued: “According to the American Lung Association a person of color is 61% more likely than a white person to live in a community impacted by unhealthy air.”
- Rep. Shontel Brown applauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for working to put in place rules that are “smart, aggressive, and impactful for communities across America. The EPA’s tailpipe emissions rules are critical for tackling climate change and will have particular benefits for communities of color who suffer an unequal burden of climate pollution.” She continued: “Communities that are located near heavily trafficked roads and highways, the communities that make up 30-45% of the urban population in North America, have higher rates of diseases like asthma, pulmonary illnesses and cardiovascular disease. According to the American Lung Association “zero-emission trucking will not only cut harmful air and climate pollution broadly, it will provide much needed relief in local communities most impacted by pollution.”
Subcommittee Democrats underscored how the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to pursue ambitious federal emissions standards will help cut harmful air pollutants.
- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton highlighted the work of the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress to craft and pass the bipartisan, once-in-a-generation Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Mx. Baker-Branstetter emphasized provisions in that law that support electric vehicle charging infrastructure on highways and in rural areas, the manufacturing of electric buses, and other advances. They also pointed out incentives and grants to support the manufacturing of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the Inflation Reduction Act.
- In response to a question from Rep. Shontel Brown on how the increased production of electric vehicles will create good-paying American jobs, Mx. Baker-Branstetter said the Inflation Reduction Act includes monetary supports for the domestic content and assembly of electric vehicles. “As a result of the Biden Administration’s policies and the work of Congressional Democrats, Climate Nexus reports that the transition to electric vehicles will result in 2 million more American jobs by 2035,” Ms. Brown said.
Subcommittee Democrats discussed how ongoing efforts by Republicans to delay critical emission standards will only accelerate the global climate crisis and put future generations at risk.
- Rep. Melanie Stansbury noted that America’s auto industry is already making significant investments in the development of electric vehicles, explaining: “They are already planning their fleets out a decade and have already made commitments to move toward electrification.”
- In her closing statement, Rep. Stansbury further emphasized that the private sector is already evolving to electric vehicles and that the federal government needs to keep pace: “What we’re talking about here is addressing emissions in the vehicle sector so that we can avert a global climate crisis. Industry is already headed in that direction. The market is already headed in that direction. No one is banning electric or gasoline vehicles nobody is trying to take your stoves away, nobody is going to take your beloved classic car away. Industry is headed towards the electric market because that is the market of the future.”
- Republicans said the quiet part out loud when they took issue with an unrelated business decision made by America’s free market economic actors: eliminating AM radio functionality in new vehicles.