As the Ranking Democratic Member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am committed to protecting our nation’s air and water supply by fighting efforts to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as any attempts to overturn the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or any additional environmental protection laws that have been under assault.
With the Trump Administration and House Republicans’ reckless attacks on the EPA, I am more determined than ever to fight any proposals that would defund the agency and repeal clean air and clean water laws that have been on the books for over 40 years. I believe in a balanced approach that promotes clean energy and efficiency, protects the environment, and provides for commonsense rules and regulations that allow industry to plan and prosper.
Research tells us that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by dirty air and water. Low-income communities are more likely to be located closer to coal-fired power plants and, therefore, are more likely to suffer from health issues resulting from dirty air and water. According to a 2002 Clean the Air report 68% of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.
Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “low-income populations, minorities, and children living in inner cities experience more emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to asthma than the general population.” In fact, according to the American Lung Association, asthma attacks send African-Americans to the emergency room at more than three times the rate of white Americans and almost 1 in 10 African-American children suffer from asthma. These results are not limited to African-Americans. According to a 2006 CDC study, 12.7% of Hispanic children have asthma compared to 8% of non-Hispanic white children.
Now is not the time to defund and attempt to dismantle the EPA or repeal commonsense laws that were enacted — with bipartisan support — to protect the American public, especially those most vulnerable communities. We need a sensible approach that promotes clean and renewable sources of energy, encourages investment in new energy technologies, and helps employ more Americans by making our country more energy efficient and independent. I am committed to fighting towards this goal and I vow to never let profit come before health as we shape our energy policy for the 21st century.