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Public Statements

Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. CHU. I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 2681 and H.R. 2250.

Some in Congress want to use the jobs crisis as an excuse to roll back clean air protections that will prevent 9,000 premature deaths every year. Today, we are debating an unnecessary, wasteful bill that only delays long overdue pollution-reducing regulations at the expense of Americans' health. This is one of the Republicans' so-called ``jobs bills,'' conducting redundant and costly studies that will do nothing but add paper to landfills instead of creating jobs by upgrading cement kilns so that they are no longer a threat to public health.

These studies have been done. Americans are still breathing mercury, arsenic, and lead; but we have a means to clean it up. It's called the Clean Air Act, and it was passed in 1963. It is known as one of the most successful pieces of legislation in congressional history; yet the Republican majority is trying to gut it over and over, bill after bill, wasting time and energy that could be spent passing legislation that would help create new jobs for Americans. Today's bill would cancel requirements to clean up toxic air pollution, smog, and soot from cement plants.

So, while big companies save a penny or two, American families will face billions of dollars in increased health costs. Thousands more people will go to hospitals with cases of bronchitis, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and thousands more will die prematurely. These pollutants are also neurotoxins, causing major harm to the development of unborn babies, infants, and children.

While the majority claims that eliminating this antipollution rule for the cement industry will be good for business and the economy, the EPA rule institutes new standards based on the best available technology already in use in the industry. Let me repeat that. This rule that the Republicans are trying to weaken is based on the best available technology already in use voluntarily by a good portion of the companies in the industry.

What does that mean? These antipollution standards are actually achievable today, and companies are already using them and making a profit.

So today's bill is just another in a long string of anti-environment/anti-health attacks that look out for corporate interests over the best interests of American families. We cannot afford to give polluters a free pass to spew deadly, toxic air pollution that hurts our health and puts our children at risk. No matter what anyone says, increased pollution is not a sustainable path to job creation. Instead, we should be saving lives, saving our environment, and investing in the clean-tech jobs of the future.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and the anti-environment/anti-American health bill that is up for a vote tomorrow.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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