Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor opposes Smoggy Skies Act

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Washington, July 18, 2017 | comments

Today U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) opposed the Smoggy Skies Act, the GOP’s attempts to shift polluter costs to consumers and gut the Clean Air Act. U.S. Rep. Castor urged commonsense clean air protections, including an amendment to fight against rolling back safeguards for children and families. U.S. Rep. Castor’s amendment upholds the promise of environmental justice to ensure all communities – especially those that are under-resourced – enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. Her amendment did attract Republican support.

Republicans passed Smoggy Skies Act, 229-199.

U.S. Rep. Castor’s remarks are provided below:

“I rise in strong opposition to the Republicans’ Smoggy Skies Act that will gut America’s landmark Clean Air Act. Since Congress passed the Clean Air Act almost 50 years ago, American progress on clean air has gone hand-in-hand with growth in jobs and businesses. But that is at risk under this bill today because polluters want to take shortcuts and shift the cost to hardworking American families and other businesses. Republicans are helping them to get this done through the Smoggy Skies Act.

“Coming from the State of Florida, I understand very well how air pollution hurts jobs and economic growth. But Americans everywhere, regardless of their zip codes, deserve an EPA and Congress working to clean up air pollution and not boost polluter profits at our expense.

“Florida probably would not be the tourist mecca that we are without the Clean Air Act. When you look across the globe, people are very discerning about countries that do not have the same kind of consumer protections.

“I’ve seen since I was a little girl vast improvement in air quality back home in the Tampa Bay area. It used to be during early mornings, you could smell and taste [the pollution]. Now, we have very few days of smog and pollution. Still, Congress should protect the pocketbooks of American citizens, not the profits of polluters. We have pockets of real pollution problems all across America – approximately 125 million Americans still live in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution. This costs our families money as smoggy skies aggravate asthma, COPD, bronchitis, lung disease and the ability to work outside. Improving ozone standards can help avoid premature deaths, childhood asthma attacks and missed school days.

“According to a New England Journal of Medicine study last month, dirty air is very costly and has a deadly impact on many Americans still, especially our older neighbors and younger people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It states that air pollution hastens death in America. The Harvard researchers determined that after reviewing years of health records of more than 60 million Medicare beneficiaries in specific air quality levels, we’re still in trouble. I took that as a direct warning to this Congress not to roll back Clean Air Act protections.

“The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to take a look at air quality every five years, but under this bill, it’ll be every 10 years – so polluters win and citizens pay more. The Clean Air Act codifies a citizen’s right to know when they are breathing dirty air, but under this bill, citizens will not have the right to know – again, polluters win and citizens pay more. America is the world leader in ingenuity, technology and science, but not under this GOP bill – polluters will win, science will lose and citizens will pay more. This is a costly shame and I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.”

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