Environment and Public Works
Subcommittee on Clean Air
Wednesday, February 12, 1997

Mr. Chairman, Thank you Mr. Chairman for calling this important hearing today.

Enormous progress has been made in the last twenty-five years to control and reduce air pollution and we must stay on the course of progress.

My state of California has a great deal at stake because our air in certain areas continues to be polluted. People feel the adverse impacts of that.

There are those who suggest that our children and adults with asthma should just stay home on bad air days.

Staying home and not going outdoors is not a remedy. It is surrender, and I don't believe in surrender. We must act.

The Clean Air Act directs the Administrator to set standards at levels that in the judgment of the Administer protect the public health with an adequate margin of safety. That is her directive; that is her job. It is not to count votes in the Congress and then set the standard or to take a poll and then set the standard. She must set the standard at levels that protect the public with an adequate margin of safety. Health must continue or to be the marker upon which standards are based. And those standards must be based on science. Once health-based standards are set, then costs should play an important role in implementation and timetables.

Let me just say this about the cost issue. The debate over environmental regulations has continuously pitted the environment against industry, in an argument over whether the benefits of higher environmental standards are worth the costs they impose on our economy. I believe this is a phony debate because unfortunately in calculating these costs we never factor in the amount of money we save with higher environmental standards.

A recent article in The Washington Post on a study released by the World Resources Institute states, "When an investment is made or to reduce pollution two things happen: A cost is incurred, and other costs are averted. The fact that only the incurred cost is counted in measuring productivity means that environmental regulation lowers productivity not in reality, but by definition."

We must keep that in mind.

Mr. Chairman, I am going or to work aggressively or to pursue answers or to the serious questions that have been raised about the EPA proposal and I look forward or to working with you, Administrator Browner, as well as this committee.

Thank you.