Mr. BARTON of Texas. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky.
I would like to start off, Mr. Chairman, by making the point that the TRAIN Act doesn't change any existing environmental law or existing environmental rule. It simply delays proposed regulations that the EPA has promulgated and requires a study of some of those regulations before moving forward with them.
My friends on the Democratic side would have you believe that we're going in and gutting the Clean Air Act. Nothing is further from the truth. I'm a cosponsor of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1991, and believe it or not I'm a strong supporter of an active EPA enforcing existing rules. I have a sister whose an enforcement attorney at the EPA in Dallas, Texas, and has about a 99 percent conviction rate. So Republicans want a strong EPA. We want strong air and water quality rules, but we also want, in this struggling economy, some common sense to be used before proposing new additional rules.
There is no criteria pollutant under the Clean Air Act that is currently becoming worse. In fact, the air is becoming cleaner, and that can be proven factually by monitoring. Every power plant in the country is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, as are our chemical plants and all major source emitters. The data is there, Mr. Chairman.
The question that I asked the EPA Administrator today, Lisa Jackson, is: Is it better, Madam Administrator, to keep an existing plant that is in compliance with existing air quality regulations in production, or is it better to close that plant because it can't comply with new, more stringent regulations that are being proposed? That's the question. And that's the reason that Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Whitfield and myself and others have either sponsored or cosponsored this legislation. We want strong air quality regulations. We want those rules enforced, but we don't want an EPA that continues to go stronger and stronger and stronger, regardless of the economic consequences.
Now, Mr. Whitfield, tomorrow, is going to offer an amendment that replaces the proposed Cross-State Air Transport Rule with the CAIR regulation that the Bush administration promulgated back in the early 2000s, that he wants a delay of the proposed boiler MACT while we have a little more time to implement that. And he also has, at my suggestion, put into that amendment that we should use real monitored data as opposed to EPA-modeled data. How unique. Let's actually use what's happening in the real world.
This monitoring versus modeling does not mean the EPA can't use models. We understand that you would have to be able to model the environment and the effects, but you can use real data to put in your model, not projected or hypothetical data. Real data.
The Whitfield amendment is an important addition to the TRAIN Act, and I hope that we will support it.
With regards to mercury, mercury has been reduced since the mid-1990s by 90 to 95 percent in the United States.
The gentleman who spoke about mercury just now correctly stated the amount of mercury that's emitted, 96,000 pounds, 48 tons, 96,000 pounds. What he did not say is that that is less than 1 percent of the total mercury emitted in the country. Most mercury that's emitted is emitted by natural causes; and if you enforce the new proposed mercury regulation, you're going to get an improvement of .0004 percent, four-thousandths of 1 percent.
For an average 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant, they emit about 70 pounds per year of mercury.
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Mr. BARTON of Texas. We've already reduced mercury emissions by 90 to 95 percent. To get another 90 to 95 percent is so cost prohibitive that you would probably just shut down some of those plants. In my opinion, that's not necessary.
So what the TRAIN Act, in conclusion, is doing, Mr. Chairman, is just saying let's do a time-out. Before we go forward with any new regulations, let's make sure that there really is a true benefit that outweighs the cost.
In my district alone last week, a closure was announced of one plant and one coal mine that are going to cost directly at least 500 jobs. That's not hypothetical. That's not modeled. That's real. And if all these plethora of EPA regulations go forward, you're going to see thousands of jobs eliminated, billions of dollars in cost, and very problematic improvements in health.
Please vote for the TRAIN Act when it comes up for final passage.