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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 910 - Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

April 05, 2011


(House Rules)

(Rep. Upton, R-MI, and 95 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 910, which would halt the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) common-sense steps under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to protect Americans from harmful air pollution. H.R. 910 would also increase the Nation's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels as well as contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.

The CAA gives EPA the necessary tools to protect our families from a wide variety of harmful pollutants that cause asthma and lung disease - especially in children. Weakening these standards would allow more pollution in the air we breathe and threaten the health of Americans across the country. A recent report by EPA shows how important this landmark law has been in protecting public health. In 2010 alone, just one part of the CAA prevented:

•160,000 premature deaths;

• 130,000 heart attacks;

• More than 100,000 hospital visits by preventing millions of cases of respiratory problems, including bronchitis and asthma. It enhanced productivity by preventing millions of lost workdays, and kept kids healthy and in school, avoiding millions of lost school days due to respiratory illness and other diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution.

Since 1970, the CAA has reduced key air pollutants that cause smog and particulate pollution by more than 60 percent. At the same time the economy has more than tripled. And since the CAA Amendments in 1990, electricity production is up and prices are stable. In 2009, electric utilities delivered 33 percent more electricity to U.S. households and businesses than in 1990, while nationwide electricity prices remained essentially unchanged.

Over its 40-year span, the benefits of the CAA - in the form of longer lives, healthier kids, greater workforce productivity, and ecosystem protections - outweigh the costs by more than 30 to one.

Passage of H.R. 910 would also block important policy measures that enable the CAA to achieve additional societal benefits related to carbon pollution. For example, the bill would block EPA's involvement in the historic, bipartisan Federal program to promote vehicle fuel economy standards for Model Years 2017-2025. This program will reduce oil consumption, provide significant savings to American consumers at the pump, and limit pollution from tailpipe emissions. Further, H.R. 910 would second guess the widely-accepted scientific consensus that carbon pollution is at increasingly dangerous concentrations and is contributing to the threat of climate change. This could create uncertainty around the requirements which are currently in effect for the Model Year 2012-2016 vehicle standards. Finally, H.R. 910 would contradict public health experts and scientists and strip EPA of its authority to develop sensible standards for currently unchecked carbon pollution, and thus prevent EPA from following its statutory obligations as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

If the President is presented with this legislation, which would seriously roll back the CAA authority, harm Americans' health by taking away our ability to decrease carbon pollution, and undercut fuel efficiency standards that will save Americans money at the pump while decreasing our dependence on oil, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 910 - Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project