Chairman Carper’s Opening Statement: Hearing on EPA Air Nominee
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday May 18, 2022, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Joseph Goffman to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Below is the opening statement of Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:
“Today, we are here to consider the nomination of Joe Goffman to serve as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Joe, welcome back to the EPW Committee. While I know this hearing room brings back memories from your time working with us on this committee, today you join us as a nominee. Thank you for being here and for your willingness to serve our nation at this critical point in our history. Before I talk about Mr. Goffman’s experience and qualifications, let me begin by setting the table for what’s at stake with his nomination.
“Make no mistake, we have come a long way in terms of reducing air pollution and doing so without harming our nation’s economy. Since Congress passed the historic Clean Air Act of 1970, we have reduced our nation’s soot and smog pollution by nearly 80 percent, while our gross domestic product grew by more than 250 percent, adjusting for inflation.
“Along the way, we have found that cleaner air is an enormous benefit to all Americans, with the benefits outweighing the costs by nearly 30 to 1.
“Yet, despite all our successes, many of the most vulnerable Americans still breathe unhealthy air, especially those living in disadvantaged and low-income communities. According to EPA’s research, nonwhite children today are much more likely to die from air pollution than white children in our country.
“We have a moral imperative to do more to help all Americans breathe healthy air. And, we can no longer turn a blind eye to downwind and frontline communities.
“At the same time, we have a moral imperative to do all we can to save this planet that we call home from the perils of climate change. But, we are running out of time to change course before it’s too late.
“Last month, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that it is ‘now or never’ if we are going to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid a future with disastrous, irreversible climate impacts.
“Communities across our country and the planet are already feeling the impacts of climate change in the form of rising sea levels, historic droughts, and other extreme weather.
“Just last week, the National Weather Service released its seasonal outlook. It predicted that the drought gripping the American West and fueling record-breaking wildfires would persist throughout the summer. As we gather here today, the state of New Mexico continues to battle the worst forest fire in its history.
“To put it simply, the climate crisis is here. We are at a critical point when it comes to addressing this crisis and mobilizing our nation towards a better future by transitioning away from fossil fuels and deploying cleaner technologies.
“Fortunately, we have an EPA under the Biden Administration — in particular, the Office of Air and Radiation — that’s willing to follow the law and tackle these great clean air and climate challenges that lay in front of us.
“With all of this said, it’s clear the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation has an outsized impact on our lives — from protecting Americans from planet-warming pollution to cleaning up air toxics to improving vehicle emissions standards.
“President Biden selected Joe Goffman to lead this office because he knows that Mr. Goffman is up to the task. Throughout his time at EPA, Joe Goffman has demonstrated his commitment to following the law in a way that provides cleaner air and a safer climate for all, while also providing predictability and certainty for industry — predictability and certainty are always top priorities for businesses.
“A great example of this is Mr. Goffman’s integral role in the crafting of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule while he was at EPA under the Obama Administration. This rule helped reduce mercury and other air toxic emissions from our nation’s power plants by 90 percent, protecting the health of pregnant women and children across our nation.
“Despite early industry concerns the rule would cause blackouts, there were not any. In fact, the rule was achieved by every utility in the country on time and under budget. Today every major utility organization supports the rule. It has enabled us to achieve major health benefits across this country, which is fundamental to job creation and preservation. This is just one example of why Mr. Goffman is so deeply respected and highly qualified for the job at hand.
“Joe has garnered broad support from the environmental community and industry. This includes utility organizations like the Edison Electric Institute, biofuel groups such as the Renewable Fuels Association, Tribal organizations like the National Tribal Air Association, as well as some of our largest unions, including the AFL-CIO.
“Even the United Mine Workers, our nation’s largest union of coal miners, have voiced their support for Mr. Goffman’s nomination to lead the Office of Air and Radiation.
“Having worked with Mr. Goffman, I know he is well prepared for this role. He is a life-long public servant with nearly a decade of experience at the Office of Air and Radiation, as well as several stints on our EPW committee, including working for me. He also spent time as a staffer for former Senator Joe Lieberman. We look forward to hearing from Joe today.”