The bills would block smart new protections against the emissions of mercury and other toxic chemicals from huge cement kilns, industrial boilers and large incinerators, which represent three of the largest sources of mercury emissions in the country. A fact sheet on H.R. 2681 is available here. A fact sheet on H.R 2550 is available here.
Capps offered amendments to both bills that would have illustrated the much studied health benefits that EPA’s mercury and air toxics cleanup standards would achieve. The rules the bills would block are expected to prevent as many as 9,000 premature deaths, 6,500 heart attacks, 5,300 hospital and emergency room visits, and 440,000 of missed work or school days each year. The amendments failed in largely partisan votes.
“These efforts to gut long studied efforts to improve public health by reducing the amount of mercury and other toxins in our air and water clean are extremely misguided. Reducing pollution from giant cement kilns and industrial boilers are proven strategies to reduce asthma attacks, cancer and premature deaths, lowering overall healthcare costs by billions of dollars. In addition to the health benefits to be gained, these proposals to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions would put Americans to work cleaning up dirty power plants and cement kilns,” said Capps.
Also, due to her leadership in working to protect the public health from mercury poisoning, Capps offered the final amendment to HR 2681. Capps’ amendment would have required safer air standards on giant cement plants near schools, day care centers, or hospitals with a maternity ward or neo-natal unit. The amendment would also give communities the “right to know” what pollution is coming from these cement plants if the plant operators choose not to adopt the clean air standards that are stopped by this bill. The amendment was defeated in a party line vote.
Capps, a former school nurse, has led congressional efforts in support of the EPA’s work to reduce mercury and other air toxics in the atmosphere. Two weeks ago, she offered an amendment to the TRAIN Act that would require a study to quantify the brain damage, developmental problems and infant deaths that would result from delaying or blocking EPA clean air standards. The amendment was defeated in a near party line vote by a vote of 195-221, and the legislation passed in a largely party line vote. Previously, in June she was joined by over 100 of her colleagues in sending a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in support of the EPA’s proposed air toxics standards that would reduce mercury emissions and have tremendous public health and economic benefits.
Capps Statement on September Jobs Report
Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the economy added net 103,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. With 137,000 jobs added by private businesses, this marks the 19th consecutive month of private sector job growth:
“Today’s jobs report is an improvement from last month, but still falls far short of where we need to be. It emphasizes the urgent need to take bold action to create jobs and grow our economy.
“We should start by passing the American Jobs Act, which will put people back to work now, provide tax relief for families and business owners, support those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and help homeowners reduce mortgage costs. The American Jobs Act will help us rebuild our roads and bridges. It will help modernize our crumbling schools. And, it will keep teachers in our classrooms and first responders on our streets where they belong. The loss of teacher and first responder jobs in our communities must stop.
“I continue to urge the Congressional leadership to bring the American Jobs Act to the floor for a vote, and to do it now.”