Statement of Senator Jeff B. Sessions
United States Senator for Alabama

I would like to thank Senator Inhofe for holding this hearing today to discuss the proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and particulate matter. Improving the quality of our air is a high calling of any public servant or business leader. Protecting the health of our citizens must always be a top priority.

The fact is, the EPA's proposed tightening of the standards for ozone and particulate matter have not been shown to result in a significant benefit to public health, yet the local business and community leaders who will have to comply with the new standards will bear the significant burden of implementing the costly policies needed to comply with the new standards.

It is not just big business and those experienced in working with the EPA and federal regulations who will be forced to make changes if the proposed standards are finalized -- it is the farmer whose work might have to stop when ozone or dust levels rise too high, it is the struggling worker who drives an old car that will now be subject to tough emissions inspections possibly leading to repair bills exceeding the value of the car, and it is the small business owner who will now have to purchase costly emissions control equipment -- resulting in job loss as costs are cut to cover the excessive costs of additional emissions control equipment.

There is no one in public office who can say they don't care about the air quality and health of those living in their communities. But is it very remarkable that those same people, when charged with the task of implementing policies to comply with these proposed standards, are almost universally opposed to their enactment. Their opinions are based on the sound scientific analysis, in fact, many of those who have come before this committee to oppose the proposed standards are themselves scientists and leading advocates of cleaner air.

I look forward to learning more today about what the people who will actually have to implement these proposed standards will be faced with if they are enacted.