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Public Statements

Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WELCH. Madam Chair, in this legislation there are findings. It is common in our legislation for there to be a finding section. This amendment would propose a finding for inclusion in this important legislation, and that finding would read that ``Congress finds that the American people are exposed to mercury from industrial sources addressed by the rules listed in section 2(b) of this act through the consumption of fish containing mercury, and every State in the Nation has issued at least one mercury advisory for fish consumption.''

So the question is, to the proponents of this legislation, as to whether there would be an objection to include this finding about mercury and the scientific community's absolute conclusion that mercury is hazardous to the health of those who consume it. That's the question. If you believe that science has a place in our consideration of important legislation that affects health and safety, then it would suggest that you would want to have a finding affirming Congress's acceptance of the scientific conclusion that mercury causes harmful health effects.

So this amendment offers this Congress the opportunity to say the obvious, and that is: Mercury poisoning is bad for our health.

The reason why I ask that this Congress consider this finding is that this Congress has been debating the applicability of science to our deliberations. This is not a question of whether a regulation is onerous or not or the cost is too great for the benefits derived; it's a question of whether we will accept the responsibility to acknowledge that mercury does have significant detrimental health consequences. This should be acknowledged. It should be part of this legislation.

What this Congress cannot do, whatever its dispute is about the degree of regulation, the effectiveness of regulation, whether it's too onerous or not, is have the point of view that we can, by legislation, defy science. It does not allow us to do that.

So, Madam Chair, I urge that this Congress accept this finding, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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