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Disapproving a Rule Submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency Relating to the Mitigation by States of Cross-Border Air Pollution Under the Clean Air Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise today in support of clean air, clean water, electricity, and jobs. I think we can have a clean environment and jobs, but not if we let this administration continue to pass job-killing regulations. These new regulations will cost over $2 billion, and over the course of a decade or more may well exceed $100 billion. We add these new regulations to over $2 trillion worth of regulations already on the books. The President is adding $10 billion worth of regulations every month, and we wonder--we have 14 million people out of work, 2 million new people out of work since this President took office. Yet we continue to add regulation upon regulation.

So far this year President Obama has added $80 billion worth of new regulations. If this President is serious about job creation, he needs to cease and desist from adding new job-killing regulations. The vote today has nothing to do with repealing the Clean Air Act. I am sure we will hear hysterics on the other side. We will hear from environmental extremists. But this has nothing to do with repealing the Clean Air Act. We have rules in place to control emissions from our utility plants. We are not arguing against that. In fact, we are arguing for continuing the same rules that have been in place for some time.

Over the decades our environment has become cleaner and cleaner. Emissions have gone down with each successive decade. We are simply asking that the clean air regulations already on the books stay in place and that we do not make the regulations so onerous that we put utility plants out of business so we have an inability to supply electricity to this country.

Over 50 percent of our electricity comes from coal-fired plants. If we shut down the coal-fired plants or if we bankrupt them--as the President explicitly said in his campaign, that would be the desire of his policies--if that should occur, be prepared for brownouts in our big cities, be prepared for days when there will not be electricity, but also be prepared for rising unemployment as these job-killing regulations put a stranglehold on the economy.

The question is, Can we have clean air and jobs? Absolutely. But to have clean air and jobs we must have balance. We are at the point of becoming so overzealous and of overreaching to such a great extent that we are killing jobs. We are killing industry. We are going backwards in time.

Before we add new regulations we must ask, Are the current regulations working? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Emissions from utility plants have been declining for decades. In fact, while coal-based power has nearly doubled in the last several decades, emissions have been reduced by 60 percent.

I need to repeat that because if we listen to the hysterics, we would think otherwise. We would think the Statue of Liberty will shortly be underwater and the polar bears are all drowning and that we are dying from pollution. It is absolutely and utterly untrue. All of the statistics--and these are statistics from the EPA--all of the statistics from government, from the EPA, show declining pollution. Everything about this argument shows that the environment has been improving for decades. In fact, John Stossel has done a program on this, and he asked fifth graders: Do you think the environment is cleaner now or 30 years ago? All of our schoolchildren have been brainwashed by these environmental hysterics who say, oh, it is a lot worse now. It is actually much better now.

Here are some statistics. We are talking about regulating two emissions that come from utility plants. The first is sulfur dioxide. We can see in the midst of the range, the average has been going down every decade. We have reduced sulfur dioxide just in the last 6 years by 45 percent under the current regulations.

If we look at the nitrous oxides, which are also regulated under this series of regulations, we can also see they have been in decline. The existing rules are working. Nitrous oxides, which can create ozone, are down 45 percent in the last 5 years. The existing rules are working. All we are arguing for is that we not become overzealous, that we not overreach, that the regulators and the regulations not become job-killing regulations. That is where we are headed.

This administration has proposed a series of radical changes to our environmental law. These are regulations that are being written by unelected bureaucrats in which we in Congress are not having a say. What I am asking for today is that Congress vote approval or disapproval of these radical, extremist regulations, these job-killing regulations that are coming down the pike.

If we look at jobs and look at what will happen to jobs, we will see that these regulations--simply this regulation

alone--could cost as much as 50,000 jobs. Indirectly, the people who work for them who would be losing their jobs. As much as 250,000 indirect jobs could be lost.

We do need to ask the important question: Are the existing regulations working or do we need to make the regulations more strict? This is a balancing act. On the one hand we have our environment, which we all care about. No matter what the other side will say, Republicans do believe in clean air and clean water. But we also believe in jobs. It is a balancing act in our country and in all of our communities to try to have both jobs and a clean environment. But we have to look at the facts. We cannot become hysterical and say the other side is for pollution. That is the kind of stuff we are hearing.

We are all for clean air, we are all for clean water, and we are all--or we should all be for jobs. My concern is that the President has allowed radicals to take over the administration. He has allowed environmental extremists to take over policy. As a consequence, we are losing jobs.

It is important to note that people think they will plug their electric cars into the wall and that has nothing to do with coal. Fifty percent of our electricity comes from coal. Does that mean it is perfect? No. But we have to look at the emissions from coal-fired utilities. The emissions have been declining decade after decade.

While coal-fired power has nearly doubled in the last several decades--we are having to produce more electricity from coal in the last several decades--emissions have declined 60 percent. We are doing a good job with the current rules. Let's not kill off industry. Let's not kill off jobs. Let's not put our citizens at risk during the height of the summer and the height of a heat wave of not having electricity or during the height of cold waves in the winter of not having electricity to heat their homes.

The alarmists, such as Al Gore and others, would have us believe everything is worse and the world is on the edge of some sort of cataclysm. If we allow them to control our debate, if we do not talk reasonably and rationally about the facts, if we do not look at the statistics of what has been occurring to control emissions, we are not going to get anywhere. I am asking we base our discussion on rational facts and not on emissions.

To give an idea of where some of these extremists are coming from, there is one of them who is a prominent extremist in this debate. She has called for a planetary law, whatever that is. She wants a planetary law of one child per family because she is worried about the carbon footprint of the worst polluters in the whole world.

But who do we think the worst polluters in the world are? Humans, for breathing. She says we have far too many breathers on the planet and the way we reduce breathers on the planet is we will have one child per family mandated worldwide. We know how China does that.

I don't think we can let the debate get out of control. Today's debate is about overreach. I would like to give an example. Think about what cities looked like in 1900. We have a picture of Pittsburgh, where I was born, in 1905, and then a picture of Pittsburgh today. You may not be able to see the picture from the distance, but we can get an idea.

Throughout Pittsburgh it was smog and pollution. It was heavy. They say at noon on a day in Pittsburgh you could go out and your white shirt would become black. They say at noon in Pittsburgh the street lanterns were on because you could not see through the smog and the smoke.

Here is Pittsburgh today. We are not arguing for no rules. The rules we have in place have been working. What we are arguing is not to let the rules become so overzealous, so onerous, that we kill jobs and we kill industry.

We want a clean environment and jobs. We have to have a balanced approach, and we cannot let hysteria and environmental extremism take over our country.

The West led the industrial revolution. Life expectancy has doubled since the discovery of electricity. Childhood infectious mortality has become one-hundredth of what it was before electricity. For all the advances of civilization, there are advantages and there are disadvantages. As we have advanced from an industrial society, there have been problems, but we have been ironing out those problems for 100 years now. We are doing a good job at that, and we should not allow the regulations to become so onerous that we begin to lose jobs.

One of the other things people argue about and one of the big health concerns they have with pollution is with regard to asthma. The interesting thing is, if we look at all the statistics on all the emissions from our powerplants, all these declining lines are emissions. Emissions have been going down decade upon decade. The incidence of asthma has been rising. If we were looking at this chart, we would say maybe emissions declining is inversely proportional to asthma. The other argument could be maybe they are not related at all, but they definitely are not proportional. We are not seeing rising incidents of asthma because we are having increased pollution. We have decreased pollution and rising incidents of asthma. Either they are inversely proportional or not related at all.

This is an important point because what comes out of the hysteria of the environmental extremists is--we will hear people stand and say half a million people are going to die if this goes through. The Vice President recently said Republicans, because they didn't vote for his jobs plan, were for murder and rape. The ridiculousness of these statistics that are trotted out as truth should be spurned. We should think about things calmly and rationally and decide: Can we have clean air and jobs? When we hear these statistics, let's be very careful not to get carried away.

Joel Schwartz has written about asthma and the environment and pollution and he notes that: As air pollution declines, the asthma prevalence continues to rise. One possible conclusion is that air pollution is not a cause of asthma or not even related. Every pollutant we measure has been dropping for decades pretty much everywhere while asthma prevalence has been rising pretty much everywhere.

The other side will say, but the American Lung Association says pollution is making asthma worse. You know what. The EPA actually gave the American Lung Association $5 million, so I think their objectivity has been somewhat tainted.

If we look at asthma incidence and we say: Where is asthma the worst, interestingly, asthma is worse in the countries that have the lowest incidence of pollution and asthma is actually lowest in the countries that have the highest evidence of pollution.

As we look through these statistics, we need to be concerned about the costs of these new regulations. We need to be concerned about having balance between job creation and job-killing regulations. I am afraid what happened is we have opened the White House and this administration to environmental extremists, the kind of people who say: The polar bears are drowning. The whole thing on the polar bears drowning was based on the sighting of two polar bears on an iceberg and they all of a sudden maintain this. Once we start counting the polar bears, apparently they are not in decline.

So the statistics and hysteria over whether within 50 years the Statue of Liberty will be underwater, this is the kind of hysteria we don't want to drive policy. It is the kind of hysteria that when our brother-in-law is out of work and when 2 million new people are out of work since this administration came into power, we need to be concerned about regulatory overreach.

Another issue we are concerned about is what will happen with these new regulations with electricity rates. We have a map that shows across the United States what will happen. When we think about our electricity rates going up and the expense to this, think about who gets hit worse, the working class and senior citizens on fixed incomes. They are the ones who will suffer from rising electricity rates. It is the person who depends only on their Social Security check and has no other means of supporting themselves and is trying to pay for their electricity.

In some regions, electricity could go up almost 20 percent with this series of regulations this administration is proposing. This is throughout the country. It is more in some areas than others, but it will go up dramatically, and that is the danger of allowing these new regulations--what will happen to electric rates and will poor people in the winter or heat of the summer be able to afford their electricity? The cost of these regulations is real. The cost of these regulations will be passed on to the consumer and there are significant dangers of there being periods of times in large cities where there is not enough electricity to go around and the electrical grid is overwhelmed.

As we go forward and as we begin to hear some of the hysteria that will occur from the other side, be aware that what we are arguing for is not the elimination of regulations. We are arguing for continuing the existing regulations, with the two emissions we are talking about have declined significantly over decades. Sulfur dioxide has declined over 70 percent over the last three decades. Nitrous oxide has declined over 50 percent over the last several decades. So the question is, if we are doing an adequate job, if we are doing a good job, if emissions are going down, why would we want to impose new rules that will cause loss of jobs and will cause an increase in rate of electrical costs?

If one is cynical, one of the reasons might be because the President wants to reward some of his campaign contributors; for example, Solyndra. The owners of Solyndra, which makes solar panels--or did. They have now gone bankrupt after they ate up $500 million worth of our money. Perhaps this is more of a political argument that he doesn't like certain industry but he likes other industry. So he is willing to spend our money, $500 million worth, on one company.

Solyndra went bankrupt recently, and $500 million is still a considerable amount of money. I will put that in perspective. In Kentucky, we get over about $420 million to pave our roads annually out of the gas tax that we pay. There are 35 States that get about the same amount, somewhere under $500 million. Yet the President saw fit--because he has been consumed with this environmental extremism--to give $500 million. That is more than 35

States get for their highway funds. He saw fit to take that money and give it to one political contributor because he has decided he wants more expensive electricity. He wants electricity that comes and is produced by people who have been his campaign contributors.

As we look at adding these new regulations, these need to be put in context. We need to look at and seriously think about whether we want our country to be taken over by environmental extremists, whether we want or care about can we have a clean environment and jobs. I think we can have both. I think we can have clean air, clean water, and jobs, but it will require a balanced approach. My fear is, if these regulations go forward, the balance will become imbalanced, that there will be job-killing regulations that cause electrical rates to go up and cause us to have significantly more economic problems than we are already in.

At this time, I call on my colleagues to consider supporting this resolution, which will be a disapproval of these new and onerous regulations, and I reserve the remainder of my time.

I yield the floor.


Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise in support of clean air, clean water, electricity, and jobs.

Interestingly, the other side hasn't read the EPA v. North Carolina opinion that says the regulations were not overturned. We are arguing for keeping in the current regulations. We are just arguing that we not be overzealous and that we not add $2 billion in new regulations on top of the current regulations.

We have $2 trillion worth of regulations heaped on our economy, 14 million people out of work--2 million new people out of work since this President came into power. We cannot allow this administration to continue with its job-killing regulations.

We can have a clean environment and we can have jobs. We are arguing for the existing regulations. We are arguing against placing additional burdens. We are arguing for the existing regulations. They don't seem to get it, so they make up all these numbers. All of their numbers are completely fictitious because they don't account for the current regulations that would still be in place if we don't increase these regulations.

This is about whether we can have a balanced approach in our society, whether we can have a clean environment and have jobs. What I am arguing for here is some reasonableness.

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