|6:51 PM EDT||
Bill Cassidy M.D., R-LA 6th
Mr. CASSIDY. Madam Chair, I want to thank Chairman Upton, Chairman Whitfield, and their staff for their hard work in preparing this important legislation and bringing it to the House floor, which, by the way, passed the committee with bipartisan support.
Currently, millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed, millions more have left the labor force entirely, and our economy continues to struggle to recover.
This is particularly true among blue collar workers, blue collar workers who have traditionally been employed in mining, manufacturing, and construction. Those three are related because the mining, the bringing of resources from underneath the ground, fuels literally energy-intensive manufacturing enterprises, which will then go on to make steel, use the steel to construct pipelines, or first make steel pipes, then to construct pipelines. It is an energy-intensive economy that brings good jobs
with good benefits to blue collar workers. I have no clue why folks on the other side of the aisle are so hostile to our blue collar workers.
While we have all these millions unemployed, the EPA has been advancing an expansive regulatory assault on the production and distribution of affordable and reliable energy.
Now, by the way, current regulations don't change. That does not roll back anything. This is only about prospective regulations. So if there is a concern about the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, those regulations as they have currently been enforced remain the same. It is just that numerous new regulations have created uncertainty, contributing to an unprecedented number of announced power plant shutdowns, destroying blue collar jobs, increasing energy costs on manufacturers, and raising
concern regarding electrical grid reliability.
Although the EPA attributes large public health benefits to billion-dollar regulations, their scientific analysis has been sharply criticized, with one public health expert saying their method of analysis is misleading to public policymakers.
Another, the National Academy of Science, on a formaldehyde rule saying that the conclusions are not
justified by the methodology or the research that was presented.
We are using faulty research to justify the destruction of blue collar jobs. I don't know why anybody wouldn't want to be for this, but some are not.
There are concerns that the EPA ignores a significant public health cost associated with energy prices and result in job losses. I'm a doc. I know that when someone loses their job with good benefits and goes on something like Medicaid their health suffers.
There is a researcher, Dr. Till von Wachter, currently an associate professor of economics at UCLA, who testified that job losses can lead to significant reductions in life expectancy of 1 to 1.5 years. This isn't just a parent, the worker; it's their children as well. It is so well documented, and yet folks are just cavalier and casual about the job losses that EPA regulation brings about. When energy becomes expensive or unreliable, public health is threatened, as that research shows.
All we are asking for here is accountability and transparency to determine the full impact of EPA's major energy-related regulations--the impact it will have on jobs, energy prices, and our Nation's economy. If the benefit outweighs the cost, the rule goes forward; but if the cost greatly outweighs the benefit, then let's just stick up for the blue collar worker, her family, let's just stick up for them so maybe they don't have to go on government dependency.
By the way, it is not unprecedented. OMB has previously put a hold on EPA rules, and EPA has the right to put a hold on Army Corps of Engineer rulings. Commonly, agencies are accountable to one another. All we ask is that the EPA will be accountable to the Department of Energy, but, if you will, to the American people.
This rule requires that if the energy rules are appropriately reviewed by the Secretary of Energy, consulting with the other relevant agencies to determine whether the proposed rules will cause significant adverse effects to the economy if this review takes place and it does not outweigh the benefits, then the rule is put on hold. By so doing, the legislation ensures energy cost and economic and job impacts are given appropriate consideration.
It is important to note, again, nothing in the legislation prevents consideration of both cost and benefits in the proposed rule; and an independent and thorough review by Federal departments with expertise in energy and economic analysis is merely a check, merely a call, for EPA to be transparent, which they have not been in the past.
The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.