Statement Of Richard Fitzgerald
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
Allegheny County Counsel
Hello. I am here today to urge the EPA not to turn back the clock on environmental protections. I would like to touch on all three areas, but on the last one I will go into more detail.
I would urge them not to change the New Source Review program and make sure that when new sources are brought on line, they allow us in county government to have the tools to be able to regulate them. I am glad to see our director of the health department here who has really done a great job, Dr. Dixon. With his help, we have been able to set forth policies to protect the citizens of Allegheny County, and I ask you to continue to allow us to do that. I would also ask you to not delay the implementation of regulations that come on board, but I am not for pushing the clocks back to ten years or more. I think we need to accelerate -- we need some common sense policies -- but I ask you not to delay it and not give polluters a break. And finally, I want to touch on the most troubling aspect coming out of the EPA and that has to do with this discounting of senior citizens lives when it comes to the value we place on them. I guess I will be a little bit political here, but I hope this is not an example of "compassionate conservatism" by this Administration. I think we saw an example of compassionate conservatism in the last few days by our junior Senator Mr. Santorum who picked out one group of citizens that are not deemed to have protection by our government, and now it looks like the Bush Administration is picking out another group - people in their 70's to not be worthy of protection. I think we need to be bringing people together in this country, not separating them. As I stand here below a banner that has our County Chief Executive on it, I hope that Mr. Roddey will comment on this as a man in his 70's and someone who would be devalued by the Bush Administration. I guess the question becomes "what is next?" Who is next on the hit list? Income levels? Are we going to start using income levels to determine policy on pollution? Will we start singling out minority groups or groups that certain people don't deem to be equal? I think we need to be a country, and I think we need to set environmental policy that reaches out to all people. In closing, as a country whose leaders purport to believe in family values, I would remind them that grandparents are very valuable members of our families and I would urge you to please develop and utilize policies that treat all members of our society with equality and dignity.