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July 22, 2015
Press Release

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Butterfield-Rush-Clarke-Price-Adams amendment.              

“The December 2014 coal ash rule was a reasonable compromise between the EPA and the energy industry, based on sound science and three decades of research into the significant human and environmental health consequences of ash spills. I will oppose the underlying legislation because, as my colleagues have noted, it would unjustifiably eliminate, undermine, or delay the well-thought out protections included in this compromise rule.

“Our amendment gets at another issue. There is a great risk that this legislation could be especially harmful to some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations -- and here I mean pregnant women, children, the elderly, low-income Americans -- because nearly 70% of coal ash ponds are located in communities where the majority earns an income that falls below the national average, and where communities of color are disproportionately represented. 

“Our amendment is very simple – it would require the Administrator of the EPA to determine whether this legislation unfairly affects these vulnerable populations. If it does, its provisions would not go into effect.

“Misguided deregulation is one thing; outright discrimination is another. Let’s make sure that we’re not prioritizing the energy industry’s bottom line over the health and welfare of women, children, the elderly, and low-income Americans.

“I urge my colleagues to support the amendment, and I yield back.”