Statement Of Don Holtz
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
Los Angeles, California
April 29, 2003
My name is Don Holtz. I am an active member of the Sierra Club but not here today officially speaking for the Sierra Club.
I am a retired engineer, spending the major part of my professional life working in the field of air quality and air pollution control.
First, I commend the EPA for having these forums on the environment and senior persons.
I believe seniors need clean air just as everyone else does, and even more so because of their increased susceptibility to the negative impacts of poor air quality. As you are aware, recent findings increasingly link fine particles to negative health impacts, with the fine particles passing through the collection mechanisms of the upper respiratory system and penetrating deep into the lungs; these particles are not exhaled. Fine particles emit not only from Diesel engines, car exhaust, power plants, factories, and general street dust, but also from pollutants that emit as gases and combine in the atmosphere to form fine particles of primarily sulfates and nitrates, but also other compounds.
We feel the current Administration has been less than aggressive in controlling these pollutants.
NEW SOURCE REVIEW (NSR)
The NSR roll-back was not necessary. I am aware of the difficulty in administering these rules and the subjective judgments involved in what constitutes a "Major Modification" , but 20 years of EPA and industry experience with this rule has fine-tuned these to workable procedures.
This Administration has only marginally tightened these standards for fuel efficiency. They have ignored the new fuel efficiency technologies, including the hybrid technologies now available and demonstrated.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY AND CONSERVATION
Alternative energy is a form of conservation. Our current Vice President Dick Cheney stated during the election campaign that "Conservation makes one feel good but doesn't accomplish much". Well, Mr. Cheney was wrong on this issue. Several technologies have emerged for conservation and alternative energy, some of them historical and some more recent. A recent issue of Mechanical Engineering showed experiments with recovering energy from ocean tides and currents using underwater propellers, or turbines, very similar to those harnessing wind energy. These turbines can be designed for high torque and slow rotation speeds to prevent harm to fish and marine mammals. The current Administration makes little or no effort to support research or subsidize construction of these types of energy projects. Alternative energy not only conserves our natural resources, but also will not contribute to the Climate Change (global warming) phenomenon that we are currently experiencing and that essentially all responsible scientists concur is happening.
Seniors also need pleasant places to live, such as communities that incorporate "Smart Growth" alternatives of high density and walkable design to enable seniors and others to walk, bicycle, or take convenient public transit to stores, physicians, and to travel for whatever reason.
Currently, at least in the Los Angeles area, multifamily housing is usually located along busy arterial streets where the residents, often seniors, must tolerate the incumbent tailpipe exhaust, tire wear and brake wear debris, street dust, and noise that comes with high traffic loading. Existing zoning laws confine multiple unit dwellings to arterial streets and reserve the non arterial street areas for single family detached housing. Municipal governments vehemently defend these single family only zoning laws, explaining that this types of zoning keeps the side street traffic down and preserves their single family dwelling life style. I have not looked into what influence the federal government could do to change this, but it appears where federal money for infrastructure or other services are involved this leverage could be used to provide more comfortable housing and a more healthful environment for our senior population.
Thank you for allowing me to speak today.