May 24, 2011: Markey at Energy and Commerce hearing: GOP to cast EPA as Little Engine that CAN'T

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

Statement on H.R. 1705, “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011” and the Discussion Draft of the “Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011”

Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing

May 24, 2011

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.

“Today we meet to mark-up two bills, the first is called the ‘TRAIN’ Act and the second is a draft of a bill that gives oil companies a free pass to pollute the air. Both bills are based on the premise that it is simply not possible to keep our air and water clean and still keep our economic engine chugging along.


“As we discuss these bills, I can’t help but be reminded of the renowned children’s story known as ‘The Little Engine that Could.’

“But in this version of the story, Republicans want to cast EPA as the Little Engine that CAN’T.


“‘I-think-I can’ the EPA says, as it tries to defend our nation’s rivers and lakes from becoming waste dumps. ‘I think I can’ the EPA says as it tries to remove cancer-causing materials from smokestacks and oil rigs. 


“But EPA needs help, so EPA asks for cleaner air.  ‘NO,’ says Shell Oil Company. ‘Can’t you see that I am too busy drilling to take the particulate matter and hydrocarbons out?’


“EPA asks for help making water safe to drink.  ‘NO,’ says the coal industry. ‘Can’t you see I’m too weary from chopping mountain tops to worry about my arsenic-laced sludge?’


“EPA asks for help ridding the air of cancer-causing chemicals. ‘NO,’ say the chemical manufacturers. ‘I have a busy day making plastics and pesticides and don’t have time to worry about that.’


“But EPA wouldn’t give up. And the utility companies, oil industry, and chemical plants were not happy, no not one bit. 


“So they made a TRAIN Act that says ‘I guess we can’t’ protect our children.  ‘I guess we can’t’ keep our water clean.  ‘I guess we can’t’ clean up the air.


“These bills aren’t TRAINS that Americans should ride, they are TRAIN WRECKS for our public health.


“Ending protections for clean air and clean water should be a third rail issue, but the Republican Tea Party Express that runs the Congress has veered off onto the far right track. Sadly, these are just the kind of anti-innovation, anti-science and anti-public health schemes the public has come to fear from this legislative wrecking crew.


“I yield back.”