Rep. Harris to Vote on Bill That Would Put 33,000 Lives at Risk

For Immediate Release

As soon as today the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the “TRAIN” Act, legislation that would indefinitely delay the clean-up of toxic power plant pollution. The legislation could result in over 33,000 lives lost due to smog, soot, and toxic air pollution.

“Everyone deserves to breathe clean air, but this piece of legislation would put tens of thousands of lives at risk by blocking the clean-up of deadly air pollution,” said Ewa Krason, Field Organizer with Environment Maryland. “Congressman Harris should reject this assault on Marylanders’ health.”

The TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401) consists of two provisions that threaten Marylanders’ right to breathe clean air. First, it would indefinitely delay two critical Clean Air Act standards that limit soot, smog, mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants (the State Air Pollution Rule or the Mercury and Air Toxics standard).The indefinite delay of these standards would mean that every year, Americans would suffer more asthma attacks, more hospitalizations, and more premature deaths from air pollution.

Additionally, the bill requires that a panel of cabinet members review all standards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a function that is already performed by two existing agencies. This needless red tape will cost taxpayers money and could result in further delay of the clean-up of deadly air pollution.

Finally, some in Congress – including Representative Whitfield (R-KY) and Representative Latta (R-OH) - are working to make the bill even worse by proposing two amendments that would cut out the heart of the Clean Air Act. Representative Latta’s amendment would stop EPA from relying on science alone when setting clean air standards, and Representative Whitfield’s amendment could delay critical Clean Air Act standards for 8 years, if not indefinitely.

“For the safety our children, we must reject all attacks on the Clean Air Act, and particularly a bill as hazardous as this one,” said Krason. “There is no excuse for putting Marylanders’ lives at risk.”

More information about the health impacts of this and other legislative attacks on the Clean Air Act can be found at http://www.dirtysecrets.org/legislation-table/.