Ranking Member Bush’s Opening Statement at Second Subcommittee Hearing on Proposed EPA Emissions Standards
Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2023)—Below is Ranking Member Cori Bush’s opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at today’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs examining the EPA’s proposed emissions standards.
Ranking Member Cori Bush
Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs
Hearing on “Clearing the Air: Examining the Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Emissions Standards”
June 21, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. St. Louis and I are here to talk yet again about the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis and protect human health by reducing polluting emissions.
The subcommittee already considered this topic in this very hearing room just a month ago. While we have a different witness today, the science and facts remain the same.
Decades of scientific research proves that burning fossil fuels creates polluting emissions that enter the atmosphere and generate a greenhouse effect that dangerously warms our planet. These toxic emissions enter our lungs through the air we breathe and make us all sick. Pollution is non-partisan–it impacts all our communities differently.
The quantity of pollution entering our atmosphere is staggering. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “in 2021, worldwide emissions of greenhouse gasses from all sources amounted to 40.8 billion metric tons,” and the United States was “estimated to account for almost one-sixth of that amount.”
As I explained last month, we have only a brief window to act to prevent the most severe consequences of the climate crisis. We know the health effects of air pollution fall disproportionately on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
I would like to request unanimous consent to enter into the record an article published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 27th of this year.
According to that article, “about 4 million kids in the U.S. have asthma. The percentage of Black children with asthma is far higher than white kids; more than 12% of Black kids nationwide suffer from the disease, compared with 5.5% of white children. They also die at a much higher rate.”
These are the stakes. The health and safety of innocent Black children are being compromised by reckless environmental destruction and pollution. Alarming data from the Missouri Department of Health Human Services shows, “Black children are more than ten times as likely as white children to visit emergency rooms for asthma-related complications.” This is unacceptable.
Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, the EPA is proposing tough, yet attainable standards to reduce the polluting emissions entering our atmosphere.
When we finally implement the EPA rules, we will be taking significant steps to combat climate change. By making significant and long overdue reductions in the amount of pollution poisoning our air every day, we will be saving lives and preventing illness and suffering.
As we discussed last month, adoption of EPA’s proposed standards to reduce emissions from heavy trucks would produce, “up to $29 billion in benefits from fewer premature deaths and serious health effects such as hospital admissions due to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.”
By the year 2030, adoption of the EPA’s proposed standards for fossil fuel-powered power plants would result in “approximately 1,300 avoided premature deaths and prevent more than 300,000 cases of asthma attacks.”
During the last hearing, my colleagues across the aisle tried to distract from these essential facts. They claimed that the Biden Administration was trying to hijack the auto industry and eliminate consumer choice. They also claimed these standards were unaffordable—as if getting sick in this country was free, or as if the climate crisis will not impose any costs on our businesses, homes, and schools.
The reality is that Republicans’ efforts to impede the finalization of EPA’s proposed emissions control rules would result in the dumping of billions of metric tons of pollutants into the air that could have been avoided.
Republican antics would exacerbate the climate change already occurring, needlessly exposing our communities—particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities—to the health consequences of pollution.
I thank the Biden-Harris Administration and the EPA for their work to address the climate crisis and make our communities healthier, and I thank Mr. Goffman for joining us today and for his leadership in this critical effort.
Thank you, and I yield back.