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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:

Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I voted against H.R. 2021, the so-called Jobs and Energy Permitting Act. H.R. 2021 is the latest piece of legislation from the Majority that puts Big Oil before public welfare.

H.R. 2021 is yet another attack on the Clean Air Act. This harmful legislation would revoke Clean Air Act protections mandating that oil companies use pollution control technology for vessels used in offshore drilling. H.R. 2021 would allow oil companies to measure pollutants and toxics generated from offshore drilling rigs at onshore locations, effectively allowing for offshore sources to generate larger and larger amounts of toxic air pollution.

While these permitting loopholes present clear dangers to public health and welfare, perhaps the most egregious affront to the Clean Air Act is the provision in H.R. 2021 that eliminates the Environmental Appeals Board at EPA. This board provides those citizens directly affected by coastal air pollution access to an impartial review of permitting decisions. To be clear, this misguided legislation puts oil companies before the health of the American public.

For 40 years, the Clean Air Act has been successful in reducing emissions into the atmosphere of pollutants and chemicals that kill people and endanger public health. Its success is due, in large part, to being enacted and strengthened based on the best science to find the most effective ways to remove the worst pollutants from our air. The Clean Air Act should not be undercut to benefit large oil companies.

If enacted into law, this bill would have far reaching consequences and damage public health in the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts. The world's most profitable oil companies should be held to the highest public health and environmental safety standards, not given a free pass to generate toxic air pollution. I urge my colleagues to vote against this harmful and reckless legislation.

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