Statement Of Lisa Graves Marcucci
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
Lisa Graves Marcucci
Last April my father and I joined citizens from seven states in Washington DC for "Grandfathers against Grandfathering," an event organized by Lori Ehrlich, mother of two from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Lori created "Grandfathers against Grandfathering" as a tribute to her father, whom she lost to a brain tumor believed to have been caused by environmental contaminants. Lori believes her father died prematurely due to exposure to dangerous power plant emissions.
Sadly, many of our nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants are exempted from complying with the Clean Air Act. They are "grandfathered." We have four of the nation's dirtiest and deadliest facilities in Western Pennsylvania: Hatfield's Ferry, Homer City, Keystone and Cheswick. And, these "grandfathered" plants are killing thousands of us each year. New Source Review would remove "grandfathered" status for these dirty plants.
I find it very disturbing that the Bush Administration wants to weaken the Clean Air Act and justify it by devaluing human lives.
As recently as this afternoon, EPA has disavowed the senior death discount, and for good reason. It is bad public relations to publicly support a policy that devalues life. Instead, EPA says one thing and quietly does another.
EPA has used the senior death discount in at least one other air regulation as well as in justifying the Bush administration's air pollution plan. Even the recent diesel proposal relies on some discount of human life in its analyses.
EPA has tried to distance itself from this ethically reprehensible approach by claiming the senior death discount wasn't its idea. This excuse simply doesn't work. The senior death discount isn't the work of some other agency-it's the work of the White House. If finalized, it will affect all federal agencies, including EPA.
EPA has made no real commitment to cease discounting human lives in its cost benefit analyses. This failure to act speaks louder than any disavowal.
In Pennsylvania, more people die prematurely each year from air pollution than anywhere else in the nation. Pennsylvania is ranked third in the nation for power plant pollution. Why are EPA and President Bush planning to remove Clean Air Act protections that we need in Pennsylvania?
I am the mother of two children with asthma and the daughter of two wonderful parents. I demand protection from the EPA. That is your mission . our health and the health of our environment. I echo my father's opinion that President Bush's EPA has confused itself with the Department of Commerce.
President Bush and the EPA need a reality check. You need to accept the fact that we are people and more of us will die needlessly if you fail to enforce the Clean Air Act and choose to rewrite the rules to protect industry.
We deserve and demand better from you.