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Public Statements

Resolution Of Disapproval Of EPA Rule-Motion To Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I have listened to a great deal of the debate. I have heard it claimed that the EPA has scientists; that none of us are--except that is not accurate. There are about four or five trained scientists in the Senate, and I happen to be one of them. But the whole predicate that we heard from the Senator from Massachusetts was: The basis was the Supreme Court. They are certainly not scientists.

The other thing I would reject is what the Senator from New Mexico said. As a scientist--and if you read the minority opinions on all the reports they have cited--this is not settled science. Even if it were, this is one Senator who would say this is not the time to do this. Our economy is still on its back, and it is going to be that way for the next 4 years. We have massive problems in front of us. And we are going to add a ruling--not a congressional ruling, a bureaucratic ruling--that is going to kill jobs, that is going to increase the cost of everything we produce in this country because it all starts with energy. It is going to mandate changes in behavior that will affect every family in this country. So even if it were absolutely true, I would tell you we should not be doing it now.

The second thing is to say that the EPA is going to do this. Do you realize the EPA cannot even train 250,000 contractors for lead paint? They blew it. They totally blew it. They were incompetent, and, consequently, we have hundreds of thousands of people who today still are not working on older homes because of the EPA's incompetence.

So for us to claim we have to do this now, and we should not reject this now, is like cutting off our nose to spite our face. No matter what anybody says, it is going to have a major impact on our economy at the time when we cannot afford to have another negative drag on our economy.

Even if it is true--it is not; but even if it is--it would be stupid for us to do this now, especially when the rest of the world is not coming along at all and the footprint we might minimize will not have any impact on the health of Americans. So we are going to have a certain amount of CO2 no matter what because the Chinese certainly are not doing it, the Indians certainly are not doing it, and they are building one smokestack a day in China right now.

So for us to take this action--in light of the incompetency at the EPA, in light of our economic situation we find ourselves in--I find it highly ironic, even if it is the right thing to do, now is not the right time to do it, given the place where we find ourselves economically in this country.

Then, finally, I have been in this body for 5 years, and I have heard, time and time again, the people opposing this motion to disagree complain about an administration taking away our rightful legislative duty. This is not something that should come from a bureaucracy. This has way too big of an impact.

If we cannot get it through Congress, it should not happen. That is what our country is set up on. Instead, by default, we are going to allow a bureaucracy to take over what we are supposed to be doing? The way this country works is, if we do not do it, it should not be happening because there is not a consensus in the body to get a clean energy program out of the Senate. So you cannot have it both ways. You cannot complain about it when you are seeing it in things you like and not complain about it when it is things you do not like.

I will finish with this one point: We better be very careful in this body about what we are doing. We are playing with the future of 200 million Americans that is extremely precarious at this point in time from an economic standpoint. We can claim all the long-term negative health consequences, but as a physician, if you do not have an economy or you have an economy that crumbles, no matter what you have done on that, you have not helped anybody.

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