Statement Of Dr. Genevieve Marcus
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
Los Angeles, California
April 29, 2003
Dr. Genevieve Marcus
Experimental Cities Org.
Experimental Cities Org.
On Third Street near Fairfax Avenue, huge dirty noisy diesel construction trucks go back and forth all day. People who live in Park La Brea don't even bother washing their cars anymore because they are dirty again within hours. Just like the inside of their lungs. And their hearts.
Studies show that within just two hours of breathing in fine particles from a city's bad air, the risk of a heart attack increases 44 percent. A full day after exposure, heart attacks still increase by one-third. Air pollution has been extensively linked to increased medical care and costs for the elderly.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Vehicles could run on silent clean electricity and hydrogen fuels. If one one-thousandth of what is spent on the military were expended on clean energy and fuel research, we would be completely independent of foreign oil and health costs would be drastically reduced.
The problem with this idea is, some people high up in Washington would lose a little profit. That is the chief obstacle blocking clean air and improved public health.
The Bush Administration solution is to discount the value of senior citizens' lives by 37%. To consider lessening the value of human life so that corporations can continue to pollute for profit is the most outlandish immoral assault on senior citizens ever proposed in this nation. What this policy says is, " the loss of human life is acceptable if it is cost effective." What's next? Will food allotted seniors be reduced by 37%? Will their living space be restricted?
We will not forget this insult even if the proposal is rescinded. Seniors' votes are not discounted 37 percent. There are 35 million people in the United States 65 years of age and older, and that number is growing every year. And don't forget: we seniors vote in higher percentages than the general population.
Let me ask you this: what is the Environmental Protection Agency protecting? Is it the air? Human health? Or is it the corporations that finance political campaigns? Unfortunately, at this time in history, economic power is political power. And that probably means that all the testimony you are collecting will have little impact-at least until after the next election.
A national survey found that 86 percent of voters favor stricter clean air health standards. And nearly eight of ten voters trust the EPA to set the standards - far more than trust congress or the courts. That's even more than approve the president.
How are you using this trust?