Rush Statement at Energy and Power Subcommittee Markup of Upton-Inhofe Bill Rush Says Today's Action Guts Clean Air Act

Mar 11, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON –– "Mr. Chairman, the Upton-Inhofe bill that we are marking up today is an extreme and excessive piece of legislation.

"This bill would eliminate the EPA’s authority to require commonsense and cost-effective efficiency standards for the highest polluting facilities in the country.

"I oppose this radical bill that would gut the Clean Air Act and roll back the EPA’s authority to the protect public health and the environment from carbon pollution.

"This legislation would also roll back EPA-issued, and industry-supported, standards to reduce carbon pollution from cars and trucks. 

"These same standards would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil while saving Americans money at the pump.  But the Upton-Inhofe bill would prevent additional reductions in the future.

"Mr. Chairman, on several occasions I have asked you to work with me on crafting legislation that would actually move our country forward and help wean us from our dependence on foreign oil by working together on a clean energy standard.

"Even today, as we begin the process of marking up this uncompromising piece of legislation that would leave many American families unprotected from hazardous air pollution, while allowing industry to operate unfettered and unregulated, I maintain hope that we may come together and work on legislation that will provide solutions for American families and the U.S. economy.

"While countries such as China make significant investments in clean energy technologies, which is one of the key emerging sectors of the 21st Century, this bill would only provide American companies with even more uncertainties about the future, less guidance on how best to move forward, and a false sense of complacency due to the present dynamics of Washington politics.

"The fact of the matter is that America, as well as the world around us, is moving towards cleaner, more efficient, and renewable energy sources.

"Policymakers understand this fact, as do industry leaders here and abroad.

"The question is whether we will remain the global leader in creating and manufacturing these clean energy technologies or will we cede our leadership on these emerging industries to China and other nations.

"And this is an extremely important and telling question that we must ask ourselves, because the country that leads the world in creating these new energy technologies of the future, indeed, will be the nation that leads the world in the 21st Century.

"Mr. Chairman, sadly, this bill does not move America forward in any sense but, rather, attempts to gut the EPA’s ability to protect our citizens, rolls back commonsense efficiency standards, and prevents successful vehicle standards from being strengthened or replicated in future years.

"Nothing about this bill advances America’s interests. Our citizens are left unprotected and the agency designed to safeguard our air quality would be left without the authority to do so.

"Instead of encouraging our energy companies to plan,  invest and become more competitive with the trends and realities of the future, this bill encourages companies to stand pat and keep doing business the same way they have been for the last 50 or 100 years.

"We all understand that my Republican colleagues have the votes here, today, to ram this bill through the subcommittee, and to push it through to the full committee and even to get it through the Congress, but then what?

"Instead of working in a bipartisan fashion to construct a bill, such as a clean energy standard, that truly moves America forward, protects our citizens, and provides guidelines that allow industry to plan for the future, we are here marking up a radical, regressive bill that I believe will only end up as a sad and curious footnote in the history of this committee.

"After our subcommittee has completed our business on this bill, I sincerely hope that we may begin work on legislation that helps us plan and invest for the future.
"I have no doubt that we all love this country and we all want to do what’s in the nation’s best interest.

"My only fear is that by the time my Republican colleagues come around to where the future is heading, we may have lost too much time and given China and the rest of the world too much of a head start.

"With that I yield the balance of my time."