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Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021

Floor Speech

Date: July 23, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Speaker, I claim the time in opposition.


Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Joyce), my colleague and friend.


Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Speaker, who has the right to close?


Mr. SHIMKUS. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

Madam Speaker, this amendment would prohibit the use of any funds to finalize or implement or enforce the EPA's recent proposal to maintain the current Particulate Matter National Air Ambient Quality Standard.

In April of this year, the EPA proposed retaining the existing particulate matter standard. The standard is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. It was last reviewed and substantially tightened in 2013 during the previous administration.

The current EPA undertook the required 5-year review of the PM standard. In a resounding 5-to-1 decision, the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee voted to retain the standard.

The CASAC determined that there were substantial uncertainties with studies alleging to demonstrate health effects below the current standard.

Following the requirements of the regulatory process, the EPA conducted a science-based review and analysis of the relevant data, and it proposed retaining the current PM standards.

So if I have this right, the EPA conducted a scientific review and analysis, it followed the requisite Administrative Procedures Act process, and it made a regulatory proposal which it still will take public comment on, review the feedback, and eventually make a final determination.

So where is the misstep here that requires this kind of amendment? Did the agency falter by listening to science? Did the agency falter by following the rulemaking process?

What this amendment does is replace EPA's science-based analysis and proposal with a politically motivated Congressional edict.

PM2.5 emissions have dropped 37 percent over the last two decades. Combined pollutant emissions have declined 74 percent since 1970. The U.S. has some of the lowest PM2.5 emissions in the world, including five times below the global average and seven times below Chinese levels, thanks to our rigorous Clean Air Act process.

Our air is cleaner, and under this administration, our economy has simultaneously been stronger. Facts, science, and process, that is what we should be dictating our environmental regulatory process.

Indeed, we should support a rigorous standard-setting process for the Clean Air Act. Getting this right is vital. Setting standards unnecessarily low is dangerous.

The economic, social, and physical collapse of communities that follow when factories pull out or power plants close due to new standards profoundly harms families, especially the most vulnerable. Getting it right is exactly what is happening right now with the administration's proposals for particulate matter standards.

The problem with my committee colleague's amendment is that it stops this important process in its tracks. It will deprive the public of the benefit of a sound science process to protect public health for all populations. Stopping the scientific process does not protect public health.

Support for this amendment undermines the Clean Air Act. I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

Madam Speaker, I will close with this. For my colleagues who promote science, when you politically vote for science standards without the scientific process, you kind of destroy the whole EPA process. With that, I ask for a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.