EPW Hearing Statement: Economy-wide Implications of President Obama’s Air Agenda

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, issued the following statement on the committee’s hearing about the economic implications of President Obama’s clean air agenda:

“Over the years, I’ve had a lot of different jobs – newspaper boy, naval flight officer, treasurer and governor of my state, chairman of the National Governors Association – just to name a few. But my most cherished job – and the one most important in the end – has been the role of father. A major motivator in my life has been my love for my sons and my desire to make the world a better place for them, as well as for their children and grandchildren.

“Today, I am reminded just how important our fight for clean air is for my children and for children across the country. Despite what we might think sometimes, our children actually listen to what we say. They hear us talk about chores, homework, and responsibility, but they watch to see if we actually pitch in and do our fair share.

“Much of our country’s ongoing efforts to clean up air pollution is about playing fair and doing our share. In my home state of Delaware, we’ve done our homework and worked hard to curb harmful emissions that create dirty air. As a result, we’ve made great strides in cleaning up our own air pollution.

“Unfortunately, a number of the upwind states to the west of us have not made the same commitment to reducing harmful pollution by investing in cleaner air. In fact, 90 percent of Delaware’s air pollution actually comes from our neighboring states. This pollution is not only dangerous to our hearts, lungs and brains, it also costs us a great deal in medical bills, and in the quality of the lives we live. And some of this air pollution – like carbon pollution – impacts our climate, threatening the health of this generation and of generations to come.

“Fortunately, federal clean air protections – established by the Clean Air Act – have been created to right that wrong. These protections were forged by both Democrats and Republicans who were strongly committed to making sure we all do our share to clean up America’s air.

“The bipartisan vision embodied in our nation’s clean air laws has translated into healthier, longer and more productive lives for hundreds of thousands of children in Delaware, and millions more across America. Compared to 1970 when President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law, our nation’s air is much cleaner and safer. But we can, and must, do better.

“As science evolves, so does our understanding of how pollution impairs health, how it travels, and how we can be cost-effective at cleaning it up. We also know more about how these pollutants impact our global environment – especially when it comes to global climate change. In order to keep up with these new challenges and keep our children healthy, this administration has continued to implement the Clean Air Act as directed by Congress over two decades ago. That means keeping our air healthy, while continuing to grow our economy.

“As the Pope reminded us last week, we must treat our neighbors as we would want them to treat us. Many of the recent Clean Air Act rules issued by the EPA – such as the air toxics cross-state air pollution and carbon rules – help ensure we all do our fair share to reduce air pollution, and that one community is not overburdened by another’s pollution. I believe these rules embody the Pope’s lesson. Let’s follow his sage advice and work together to make our air clean and healthy for our children and the generations of children who will live on this earth after us. They’re counting on us.”