Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, and ranking Republican on the House Ecology and Parks Committee, testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday regarding the federal government’s plans to regulate greenhouse gasses. The EPA hearing in Seattle was the second of only two opportunities for public input.
"For the record, my name is Shelly Short and I am a member of the Washington State House representing the 7th Legislative District. Thank you for holding this hearing to gather the public’s input.
"You are holding this hearing in a state that is very unique from many states in the nation, blessed with tremendous natural resources in our rivers, our forests and agriculture, our ability to feed the world and our ability to produce an abundant supply of clean, renewable, affordable energy in our hydropower production.
"Renewable energy such as wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy is becoming part of this state’s energy mix as well. And this state’s global carbon footprint amounts to 3/10ths of 1%.
"Our state’s unemployment has risen to an all-time high of 9 percent and thousands of jobs have been lost during this recession. Three counties in my legislative district, Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens, have the unfortunate distinction of having the highest unemployment in this state at 16% and 17%. The state of the economy cannot be ignored in this process.
"EPA’s decision to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the United States, including small business and small communities.
"While I believe that the actions you are taking are best suited to be addressed by policymakers in Congress, and not by a regulatory entity, your decisions to regulate CO2 cannot be made in a vacuum without regard for the physical, mental and economic health and welfare of families and the jobs they depend upon. You can show the American people that their jobs and livelihoods are just as important as addressing the cyclical effects of climate change in this country.
"My testimony will focus on four areas that I believe are necessary for EPA to incorporate into its draft finding, or in the alternative for Congress to address:
1. EPA needs to fully explain in its draft finding why its existing authority to regulate under the Clean Air Act is not enough to adequately protect public health from alleged ozone impacts of climate change, given that it already has the authority to regulate the tropospheric ozone.
2. Given the ramifications this action will have on the economy of the country, a country that I might remind you is in a severe recession, it is imperative that EPA undertake a systematic risk analysis or cost-benefit analysis that includes the following: a) the cumulative "human health effects" of this finding on American families and their jobs and livelihoods, homes, and health insurance; and b) the cumulative effects of increased importation of products and goods and services from foreign countries, increased transportation, which will most likely result in marked increases in global greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation and the erosion of product safety protections. One need only remember the toxic pet food, toys and wallboard supplies from China that have endangered the health and welfare of our families, children and pets.
3. EPA needs to integrate into its finding an acknowledgement and discussion that the climate change science you are relying on for this finding is far from settled and agreed upon. Thousands of scientists, including some that originally worked within the IPCC, question many aspects of climate change theory as compiled by the IPCC. The models that make up the work of the IPCC do not include important factors such as solar activity to name a few. Natural climate variability needs to be discussed more thoroughly and added into the mix as does the fact that water vapor is the largest component of greenhouse gas.
"It became clear to me during my work as ranking member on the Ecology and Parks committee and the hours of testimony, articles and reports show that the climate change science you are relying upon is far from settled and agreed upon. In fact, this committee received testimony under the guise of addressing climate change discussing the need to "legislatively level the playing field" so renewable energy could compete with low-cost hydropower.
"Another piece of testimony came during our debate on cap and trade legislation where it was acknowledged quite openly that this legislation would be a tool for redistribution of wealth and to give broad authority to unelected, regulatory agencies to determine the winners and losers in our state’s economy. So I have to wonder whether in fact EPA’s finding creates the mechanism for doing the same on a national scale?
4. EPA needs to recognize a very critical component of dealing with cyclical effects of climate change – that being adaptation. EPA should analyze the adaptive tools we currently have in developing flood control, forest management and water storage to name a few. EPA should further analyze the impediments to utilizing those tools and report that information to Congress and to the States. We have the ability to help the American people adapt to climate change, encourage energy efficiency and support the innovative advances that are being made in renewable energy and alternative fuels, while keeping a strong and vibrant economy.
"In conclusion, I urge you to recognize that climate change science is in dispute; that EPA forcing emission reductions in the United States will just shift emissions to elsewhere in the world while wreaking continued havoc on an economy that is in recession.
"Poverty is the biggest polluter. Even the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized in part that: ‘….any policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this, such policies and measures should take into account different socio/economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors.’
"Congress and the EPA should both heed this advice."
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Contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698