Statement Of Victor R. Graves
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
Victor R. Graves
Under the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has confused itself with the Department of Commerce.
The Environmental Protection Agency was established to protect the environment and human health. This mission is one the Bush Administration seems to have lost sight of.
The enactment of the Clean Air Act represented the first time a series of national standards were established to limit dangerous air pollution. The protection of human life was made a national priority.
That was 1970 and despite Bush administration claims, the Clean Air Act continues to work today. Last week, Dominion Virginia Power negotiated a settlement with the EPA for violating the Clean Air Act at eight of its power plants. Corrective actions are now required and dangerous air pollution will be reduced in eight of Dominion's power plants-and the company is still going strong.
So, why does President Bush want to gut the Clean Air Act? Clearly, the Clean Air Act does its job when enforced. I believe the electric power industry is pressuring President Bush to do away with this important law because they simply don't want to clean up their dangerous emissions. Personally, I find it insulting that President Bush would attempt to do away with a law that clearly works to protect us and our families. Even more insulting is the fact that not only is the White House monetizing human life, they are also proposing to devalue mine at 63 cents on the dollar simply because of my age. I believe this is an unconscionable attempt to mask the true human cost of weaker protections. Among other things, the Bush administration has used it to justify letting polluters off the hook with their new air pollution plan.
Instead of seeking deviate ways around environmental protection laws, I recommend the power companies take the large sums of money they pay to lobbyists and lawyers and apply it to the purchase of pollution controls. In my opinion, their money would be better spent on state-of-the-art technology designed to reduce deadly pollution rather than just seeing how long they can get away with the status quo.
We all recognize the importance of electricity in our lives and we accept it. Too often, however, power companies give the example of how important electricity is to hospitals where power is essential in providing health care. Please be advised that many of those in the hospital would not be there if pollution were controlled.