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Public Statements

Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 2021) to amend the Clean Air Act regarding air pollution from Outer Continental Shelf activity:

* Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of the Capps amendment to H.R. 2021.

* I thank my colleague, the gentlelady from California for bringing this amendment to the floor.

* The Capps amendment corrects a glaring flaw in this legislation by maintaining the rights of states who have already been delegated authority to continue to regulate and monitor air pollution from offshore oil and gas operations that will ultimately affect their residents.

* H.R. 2021 seeks to degrade state permitting powers by cutting time frames, restricting citizen engagement, and shifting responsibilities back to the Environmental Protection Agency.

* I find it interesting that some of my colleagues who campaign on small government have decided to fight regulation by stripping authority from local agencies and handing it over to a federal bureaucracy!

* Under the Clean Air Act, states have the right to issue permits and regulate emissions according to their own criteria, which either meet or exceed national standards.

* States and localities should take the lead in regulating pollution because they are most responsive to the concerns of their citizens and familiar with the dynamics at work on the ground.

* In my home state of California, cities such as Los Angeles, where my 37th Congressional District is located, have struggled with air pollution for decades.

* Thanks to the efforts of state regulatory agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board, the region has seen a marked improvement in air quality and other environmental indicators. The number of air quality alerts has fallen from over 200 per year in the 1970s to less than 10 per year today.

* For 17 years, the Air Resources Board has regulated and monitored oil and gas operations near my district. The standards they employ were developed over nearly 5 decades of experience, and, most importantly, they remain directly accountable to the people and communities of California.

* Mr. Chair, I believe that if a state invests time and money towards establishing high standards and creating innovative solutions to a problem, they ought to enjoy the full support of the law.

* I urge my colleagues to support the Capps amendment.

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