Markey: Clean Air Act Creates More Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing:  “The American Energy Initiative”
EPA Utility MACT rule
February 8, 2012

“In the movie Groundhog Day, a weather-man named Phil Connors played by Bill Murray finds himself repeating the same day over and over and over again.

“And here we are in the same Committee room, for this Committee’s 10th hearing related to EPA’s regulations to remove toxic chemicals from power plants and other industrial sources. For the 5 th time, Gina McCarthy has come to defend her agency against the specious claims that President Obama just doesn’t WANT Americans to have jobs.  And on the House Floor, Republicans have already voted to repeal these regulations at least 40 times. It’s Groundhog Day here in the House, with the same hearings, the same bills, the same votes, over and over and over again!!

“Punxatawney Phil just saw his shadow, so we'll have 6 more weeks of winter. Ms McCarthy, you'll be just like Punxatawney Phil, because for the next 8 months you'll be coming to this Committee to say the same thing over and over and over again. That is the Republican plan for the Clean Air Act.

“Clearly, this is a Republican Majority that has run out of new bad ideas, so they’ve just decided to recycle all of their old bad ideas.  This may be the only type of recycling they still support.  

“Of course, at each of these hearings, Republicans claim over and over and over again that America must choose between air conditioning and air quality. They tell us that we have to choose between pollution and power plants.

“But the Republicans are giving us a false choice.

“We do not have to choose between manufacturing and mercury.  

“We do not have to choose between concrete and cancer.

“We do not have to choose between the next generation and generators.

“Just yesterday in this very Committee, during the debate on the Keystone pipeline, the Republicans said we should just ignore the environment, ignore pipeline safety, ignore public health, ignore the fact that none of the oil or fuel from this pipeline will stay in this country and benefit our citizens.

“And why do none of those things matter?  Because of the jobs, the majority says.

“Republicans even accused Democrats of not liking the “blue collar” jobs they say the Keystone pipeline will create.

“According to the EPA, the regulations that are the subject of today’s hearing will create 46,000 short-term construction jobs. That is nearly eight times the 6,000 temporary jobs that the State Department estimated for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“An independent report from the Economic Policy Institute estimated that this rule could create between 28,000 and 158,000 jobs by 2015.

“That could be as many jobs as 26 Keystone pipelines

“The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that EPA’s Clean Air Act Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury Rule would together create nearly 1.5 million jobs over five years. That’s 250 Keystone pipelines!

1.    Ms. McCarthy, the Clean Air Act is one of the reasons for tremendous growth in the U.S. environmental technologies industry and has been estimated to support 1.6 million jobs over the past 40 years. Is that correct?

2.    So assuming Keystone is able to create the 6,000 jobs State department generously estimates, we would need 267 Keystone pipelines to create the equivalent number of jobs?

3.    Isn’t it true that EPA’s mercury rule will create 8,000 LONG-TERM utility jobs?
?“That’s more permanent jobs than the number of temporary construction jobs the State Department estimates the Keystone pipeline will create.

“So while the Republicans are crying crocodile tears over the 6,000 temporary jobs that the Keystone XL pipeline will create, they make us vote – over and over and over again - to kill tens of thousands of jobs that are created simply by ensuring that our air is clean to breathe.

“This certainly would seem like a ridiculous comedy if the consequences weren’t so serious.

“I can only wish when I rise and shine tomorrow morning, this old movie won’t be repeated yet again. I liked Bill Murray’s version much better.

“I yield back the balance of my time.”