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Mrs. CAPITO. I want to thank my colleague from West Virginia (Mr. McKinley) for his solid work on this issue.
I want to say to my colleague from California, who said that this issue is going to hold the transportation conference bill hostage, it's absolutely not a fair statement. I'm on the transportation conference committee. We're working day and night, in a bicameral, bipartisan way, to reach a compromise on a jobs bill, and this coal ash provision is very important.
Many Americans are unfamiliar with this, but 40 percent is used as raw material to build our highways and our bridges.
I was just visiting the Sutton Dam in Braxton County in West Virginia. My colleague talks about the Hoover Dam. We celebrated its 50-year birthday of its construction. It's built with coal ash, and it's just as effective today as it was 50 years ago. It is an essential and safe material to be used in our infrastructure.
According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, if we don't use coal ash in bridge and road construction, the cost would increase over $100 billion over 20 years. We simply can't afford this.
Let's be smart about this. We can find the way, and we've known the way, as the Sutton Dam and the Hoover Dam have shown us. I think we can find a way to safely reduce the costs of construction in our roads and bridges by using coal ash.
We have unemployment of over 8 percent for 30 consecutive months. We need a transportation bill. We need a smart transportation bill that's going to put America back to work and rebuild our infrastructure.
Mr. McKinley's legislation, and this motion, takes the right approach by giving the States the authority to deal with this. I hope my fellow conferees will work to ensure that this important provision remains in the bill, that we pass the gentleman's motion to instruct. This will not be an obstruction to us passing the transportation bill, and I look forward to passing that bill on the floor in a bipartisan way.
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