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Public Statements

Climate Change

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan proposed rule.

In the face of a Congress that is in denial about climate change, the administration is doing what it can to address a very real and very serious problem that is already manifesting itself in changing weather patterns, more frequent and hazardous wildfires, and devastating droughts.

This rule is a crucial step toward slowing climate change, developing domestic and affordable clean energy technologies, protecting public health, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Some House Republicans have called the proposed regulations reckless and, others, unconstitutional. Some have even suggested adding a rider to the appropriations bill to block the rule's implementation.

As a member of that committee, I can tell you that this would be a huge mistake that would threaten to undo the hard-won compromises in the bill.

It is shocking to me the lengths to which the majority is willing to go to deny the scientific fact that our planet is warming and that human activity is the main cause.

Here are the facts: First, power plants, today, account for approximately one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, making them the single largest source of carbon pollution.

The EPA plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants by an estimated 30 percent from 2005 levels. That is 730 million tons of carbon pollution that will not be emitted into the atmosphere, warming the climate and causing sea levels to rise.

Second, the proposal will reduce smog and particulate pollution, including nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides, by more than 25 percent by the year 2030.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, asthma prevalence has increased from 7.3 percent in 2001 to 8.4 percent in 2010. The proposed regulations are estimated to prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children and 6,600 premature deaths by 2030.

Third, the vast majority of the American public supports these new rules. In fact, nearly 70 percent of Americans support Federal regulations to limit greenhouse gasses from existing power plants

These new rules won't be easy to implement and we will experience some difficulties along the way, but since when does America let a challenge prevent us from rolling up our sleeves and getting to work? This is a global problem and America must not act alone.

Just as we lead the world in many aspects, climate change is a critical issue where we must lead by example. I call on my colleagues to do the right thing. Stop denying the science and get to work. We can and we must act together to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, clean up our air and waters, and once again lead the way into the future.

I look forward to the EPA finalizing the proposed rule, and I hope it marks just the beginning of our efforts to address climate change before it is too late.

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