Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

Katie Brown (202) 224-2160  

Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and Subcommittee on Children's Health and Environmental Responsibility hearing entitled, "Air Quality and Children's Health"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:00 am

Today's subcommittee hearing is the third in a series of hearings designed to prop up the Obama EPA's aggressive regulatory regime.  This hearing nominally focuses on air quality and children's health.  But there is no question that we all support clean air and that we all care for the well-being of children.

Taken at face value, one might assume the Obama EPA has only the public good in mind.  But the truth about Obama's regulatory agenda is inescapable: it's designed make the energy we use more expensive.

But don't take my word for it.  The Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said in 2008, "[s]omehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" and don't forget that the President himself stated that under his cap-and-trade plan "electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket."

Advocates for this agenda hope that strict regulations can be used to choke off traditional, American energy so that prices will increase to the point that "green" energy is the only alternative.  But these green subsidies are undermining the economy and hurting working families.

Over the past two years, EPA has moved forward with an unprecedented number of rules that will have enormous consequences for families, businesses, and the nation's fiscal well-being.   Known as the "EPA train wreck," this regulatory agenda is driving energy costs up, and hitting those who can least afford it-the working poor, the elderly, and veterans-the hardest.

Take for example, EPA's new greenhouse gas (GHG) cap and trade regulations.  EPA admits they will have no impact on global temperatures, yet they will come at an estimated cost of $300 to $400 billion annually.  The Agency's voluntary reconsideration of the national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone - a decision based on outdated data that could lead to significant economic constraints on the country - is another Agency action of dubious merit.  EPA projects the cost of this rule could rise to $90 billion.  Meanwhile, the agency is planning to tighten the standards again in just two years.   

The EPA is also aggressively moving forward with standards to reduce hazardous air emissions from industrial boilers, cement manufacturers and from electric power generators.  Now, reducing hazardous emissions is a goal that we all support.  But alarmingly, the benefits the EPA associates with the rules come almost entirely from reducing particulate matter (PM) - not the hazardous emissions.  So here we have the Agency justifying new mandates that will cost thousands of jobs on PM benefits - even though we already have a specific program designed to address PM directly, the national ambient air quality standard for PM.

Recently, I called for this Committee to fulfill its oversight responsibilities and hold hearings on EPA's "train wreck" regulations.  Yet, we are having a hearing next week whose title, ominously, resembles that of today's.  Chairwoman Boxer, in the coming weeks I look forward to working with you on additional oversight hearings where we can begin to take a detailed look at the Obama EPA's aggressive regulatory agenda.