WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing to examine four pieces of legislation relating to air quality and pollution:
- S. 2736, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2021
- S. 1475, the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act of 2021
- S. 2661, Smoke-Ready Communities Act of 2021
- S. 2421, the Smoke Planning and Research Act of 2021.
Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), as prepared for delivery.
“Thank you, Chairman Carper, it’s good to be back, and nice to see the members of the committee.
“I would also, before I begin, note that Senator Burr, who is one of the main cosponsors of one of the bills, the RPM Act, could not make it today. So I would ask unanimous consent to include a written statement from Senator Burr. And Senator Tillis is also on the statement.
“I want to thank our witnesses for joining us here today, and I look forward to hearing from each of you.
“We are here to consider four bills: the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act, the Smoke-Ready Communities Act, and the Smoke Planning and Research Act.
“These bills relate to EPA’s authority on issues spanning from livestock to racing vehicles to wildfire smoke.
“I am interested to hear more about Senator Merkley’s bills, the Smoke-Ready Communities Act and the Smoke Planning and Research Act.
“But I do want to highlight that EPA has existing authority to fund wildfire research, including through the “Science to Achieve Results” (STAR) program.
“That program has provided research funds for universities for wildfire research, which appears to be something that Senator Merkley’s bill, the Smoke Planning and Research Act, would reauthorize in a separate [program], and I’d like to understand if there’s any duplication there.
“In 2021, EPA awarded $9 million in grant funding for researchers to develop approaches and strategies to reduce the risks of smoke from wildfire and prescribed harm.
“And through the Democrats’ what I call a reckless tax and spending spree that we just saw last month, EPA has been provided with excessive additional funding and authorities. EPA received funding for air monitoring, which can be used for wildfires, as well as a $3 billion grant that can award funding to ‘mitigate climate and health risks’ from wildfire events.
“I question the need for an even greater increase in EPA power and appropriations in light of the recent spending.
“As we consider the other topics before us today, I want to thank Chairman Carper for agreeing to consider two bipartisan bills during this hearing: the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, and the RPM Act.
“These two bills are narrowly tailored to provide clear relief and certainty to critical American groups that could suffer outsized costs from EPA regulation: farmers and ranchers, and motorsports enthusiasts, which are rampant in my state.”
“The regulatory threat is real and we have already seen this administration take a very expansive view of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act when evaluating the energy sector.
“The first bill I’ll talk about is the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, which would ensure EPA cannot establish a new “cow tax” and would prohibit EPA from requiring Clean Air Act permits related to livestock emissions.
“Farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of dealing with rising prices, including higher costs of fertilizer, feed, fuel, and equipment that are vital to their operations.
“Enacting Senator Thune’s bipartisan, straightforward bill, which is cosponsored by Senator Kelly, a member of this committee and thank you for that, Senator Boozman, and Senator Sinema, could codify a narrow exemption for livestock.
“I would note that Majority Leader Schumer himself supported Senator Thune’s bill when it was introduced back in 2009.
“I am also pleased to speak in support of necessary relief for racecar enthusiasts and their supporting industries.
“I have proudly supported Senator Burr’s RPM Act since it was first proposed.
“This legislation seems so simple to me. As introduced, has broad, bipartisan support, including on this committee.
“In addition to myself, four other committee members are supportive: Senator Kelly, thank you for that support, Senator Inhofe, Senator Ernst, and Senator Sullivan are also cosponsors.
“In total, the bill has 32 cosponsors, including 11 Democrat cosponsors.
“Back in 2017 when I was chair of the Subcommittee of Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, we held a hearing on the RPM Act.
“As we heard then and we will hear again today, Americans all over the country enjoy the hobby of modifying vehicles into racecars.
“The RPM Act would clarify that vehicles to be used solely for competition are not to be treated like the cars that drive on our nation's roads.
“Congress never intended for cars that have been modified from street use to race track use to be regulated.
“This legislation would provide a narrow exemption, again, narrow, to ensure that small businesses that help hobbyists who transition their vehicles into racecars – that are not driven on the road and cannot be driven on the road – are not unfairly punished or targeted through EPA enforcement, because that was never the intent of this Congress.
“I am glad that we are hearing about these bills today and I hope to learn more from our witnesses.
“So, thank you again for holding this hearing.”
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