Sen. Carper; Carol Browner; and Congressional, Public Health and Business Leaders Celebrate 21st Birthday of Clean Air Act of 1990

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, hosted Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the Honorable Carol Browner and other public health and business leaders at a press conference to celebrate the 21st birthday of the Clean Air Act of 1990.

As the Clean Air Act comes under repeated attacks from many in Congress, the Members and industry leaders spoke to the gains our country has made over the years to cost effectively protect public health by reducing air pollution. They also highlighted the health and economic benefits our nation has seen in the last 21 years from the Clean Air Act and future benefits as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to improve safeguards for the next generation.

Other speakers included Dr. Albert Rizzo, Chair of the American Lung Association’s National Board of Directors; Mr. David Foerter, Executive Director for the Institute of Clean Air Companies; and Ms. Alma Garnett, President and Founder, Hunter Panels, LLC; Vice President, Carlisle Construction Materials, Inc.

To watch the press conference in its entirety, please click here.

Sen. Carper’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

“Thank you for joining me here on this birthday celebration. And that is what this is – a celebration – of a law that has greatly improved the heath and lives of everyone in this country.

“Twenty one years ago, we weren’t debating how to weaken or delay our clean air laws. Instead we were debating bipartisan legislation that would improve and strengthen our clean air laws. Eighty–nine senators approved the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, which a Republican president, George H.W. Bush, signed into law 21 years ago today. And we’re all better for it.

“I’ve always believed that we can protect the environment and grow the economy at the same time. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The Clean Air Act is one of the best examples of this. Since we passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, for every dollar we’ve spent installing new pollution controls and cleaning up our air, we’ve seen 30 dollars returned in reduced health care costs, better workplace productivity and saved lives. In other words, fewer people are getting sick and missing work because of the Clean Air Act.

“Here’s some more good news. Our economy didn’t take a slide because of these protections, either. Quite the opposite is true. Since President Bush signed the bipartisan Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, electricity rates have stayed constant and our economy has grown by 60 percent. Despite the successes, more needs to be done. Sixty percent of our citizens are still breathing unhealthy air.

“We also know more than we did 20 years ago about how pollution impairs health. We know more how pollution travels from one state to the other. And we know more how to curb that pollution in ways that make sense and are cost-effective.

“Last week’s victory in the Senate against the Resolution to dismiss the Cross-state Air Pollution Rule gave me great hope that clean air can again be a bipartisan effort. I am hopeful we can all work together for a cleaner tomorrow.”