Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today spoke out against proposed efforts by the House majority to roll back the Clean Air Act. Today, a House panel discussed proposed legislation to repeal pollution safeguards that protect the public health. Holt, the Ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, said that the 40-year-law has saved lives and saved money.
"The Clean Air Act has been successful in reducing emissions into the atmosphere of pollutants and chemicals that kill people," Holt said. "Instead of looking for ways to strengthen this successful law, the Republican majority is preparing to gut the Clean Air Act. Legislation being discussed would prevent the Clean Air Act from continuing to protect Americans. This is a matter of public health and it's a matter of economics."
Holt noted that the law and subsequent regulations of pollutants under the law is based on scientific evidence.
"The Clean Air Act has used the best science to find the best ways to remove the worst pollutants from our air," Holt said. "Unfortunately, because of politics -- and not science -- the law is now under attack."
According to estimates, the Clean Air Act has decreased lead emissions by 95 percent. In using the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced emissions from diesel engines by almost 90 percent. In 2010, according to EPA estimates, the Act saved more than 160,000 lives.
Holt also discussed how the Clean Air Act has spurred technological innovation, driving the creation of new industries and American jobs. Clean air standards encourage companies to invest in new pollution abatement equipment and services and to build new plants that are cleaner and more efficient.
"The rest of the world is not backing down. The rest of the world is not moving toward a dirtier atmosphere, toward more atmospheric emissions," Holt said. "They understand that to do so is deadly and costly. Many of the technological opportunities for more energy efficiency and less atmospheric emissions can be developed here in the United States. Wouldn't it be better if we developed them here and sold them to the rest of the world instead of someday having to buy them?"