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Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act or ``Dirty Air Act'' which will end the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ability to regulate harmful carbon pollution.
I will vote against this bill for many reasons, but one that is particularly concerning to me is related to my strong support for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. I believe that STEM education is critically important to our recovering economy and to our future competitiveness and innovation. I support programs, such as the Cyber Foundations Competition, to encourage more students to pursue careers in science and technology and I believe that many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle share this goal. But how can we ask our students to pursue careers in science and then ignore scientists when their findings are not politically convenient? This bill sets science aside and sends a dangerous message to our students pursuing studies in STEM fields.
In addition to an attack on science, this bill will stop and reverse the public health, environmental, and economic protections that have been achieved since the passage of the Clean Air Act 40 years ago. In 2010 alone, the Clean Air Act contributed to the prevention of 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, and more than 100,000 hospital visits. This bill will also prevent the EPA from setting pollution standards for cars and trucks, increasing carbon emissions in our communities, and continuing our nation's addiction to foreign oil. Further, a return to outdated technology will limit new innovations in renewable and more efficient technologies and limit the job growth opportunities in these emerging manufacturing industries.
Rhode Islanders have great respect for their environment and they deserve the right to step outside and feel safe breathing the air around them. By preventing the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, we are turning back the progress we have made to protect our health under the Clean Air Act and we are halting important economic opportunities that will help make our nation a world leader in new technologies. I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill and supporting responsible regulations that will keep our nation moving forward and keep our environment safe for future generations.
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