STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER S. BOND
EPW HEARING ON HEALTH RISKS OF FINE PARTICLE AIR POLLUTION
Wednesday, October 2, 2002, 2:00pm, SD-406
• Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing to examine the health risks associated with fine particle air emissions. I am only sorry that this Committee will end the session by refusing to pass three-pollutant legislation that would save lives by addressing this very problem.
• According to EPA, fine particles of soot and smoke pose the greatest public health risk of any regulated air pollutant. Fine particulates are associated with tens of thousands of premature deaths per year in people with heart and lung disease. Such emissions also lead to increased hospitalizations, emergency room and doctor visits, medication use and numerous days of missed school and work.
• One major source of fine particulates is coal-fired electric utility plants. Indeed, reports show that full implementation by electric utilities of the federal government’s acid rain and smog reduction program in 2007 would annually save 5,900 premature deaths and tens of thousands of respiratory illnesses associated with just eight major coal-fired utilities.
• The question becomes, why did this Committee pass up the opportunity to mandate further reductions from electric utilities of the pollutants that produce particulate matter?
• This year, President Bush proposed his Clear Skies Initiative to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides and mercury from electric utilities. Reducing emissions of these three pollutants by over 2/3, as called for by President Bush, would also produce significant fine particulate emissions reductions.
• While we have made great strides in reducing air pollution since passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, we still have further to go. Based on the latest data, 173 counties nationwide are likely to exceed EPA’s PM2.5 fine particle health standard.
• THE CHART HERE BEHIND ME shows where those counties are. As you can see, 157 counties in the East and California (home to many of my friends on the other side I might add) will exceed the fine particle health standard when it goes into force.
• Passage and implementation of President Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative would bring 54 additional counties, above and beyond what will be achieved with existing programs, into compliance with the fine particle standard.
• THIS CHART HERE shows the improvement the Clear Skies Initiative would bring to over 21 million people. You can see that only a handful of counties would remain out of compliance with the PM2.5 health standard after President Bush’s plan. That would relieve part of the burden to cut other sources of PM pollution such as transportation projects.
• The mortality-related benefits from reducing fine particles under President Bush’s plan are equally striking. THIS CHART HERE shows the number of lives saved under two different study assumptions analyzing the President’s plan.
• By 2010, Clear Skies would prevent annually between 3,800 and 6,000 premature deaths related to fine particles.
By 2020, President Bush’s plan would prevent annually between 7,000 and 12,000 premature deaths.
• The health of my constituents in Missouri would benefit greatly from the President’s Clear Skies Initiative. Beginning in 2020,
over $2 billion of the annual benefits of Clear Skies would occur in Missouri.
Missourians would face:
- 300 fewer premature deaths,
- approximately 200 fewer cases of chronic bronchitis,
- approximately 11,000 fewer days with asthma attacks.
Missourians would suffer:
- 300 fewer hospitalizations and emergency visits,
- 46,000 fewer days of work lost due to respiratory symptoms,
- and over 360,000 fewer total days with respiratory-related
• Why have we not passed legislation that would reduce fine particle pollution from electric utilities? Why are we not taking advantage of the political consensus that exists between President Bush and Congress, between Republicans and Democrats, to reduce NOx, SOx and mercury?
• This Committee is failing to take action on legislation that would address the very health risks this hearing will examine for a totally unrelated reason. Some folks want to hold up work on reducing fine particle pollution in order to make a political point about climate change, global warming and carbon dioxide.
• Some want to preserve the global warming issue for future elections, including Presidential elections more than two years away.
• So I urge my colleagues - as we listen to today’s testimony on the health risks of fine particles - to be thinking of ways we can move forward on multi-pollutant legislation. President Bush has put forward a plan that will save and benefit thousands of lives. Senator Jeffords has his own plan. The opportunity exists for compromise and I hope we will do so next year.