Alexander’s Four Reasons to Vote “No” on Overturning Clean Air Rule: “Auto Jobs, Tourism Jobs, Tennesseans’ Health, and the Fact That This Has No Chance of Succeeding”

Asks: “Why are we talking about a proposal to make it easier for dirty air to blow into our state, make us unhealthier, drive away tourists and cost us auto jobs?”

Posted on November 10, 2011

“I want to see the Great Smoky Mountains, not the Great Smoggy Mountains. I want tourists to come into Tennessee, admire the mountains and leave their money. I want the Volkswagen suppliers be able to locate plants in Tennessee and I want Tennesseans to be able to grow up healthy and not worry about dirty air blowing in from other parts of the country.” – Lamar Alexander  

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) argued that a proposal by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to overturn a clean air rule limiting pollution across state lines would “make it easier for dirty air to blow into Tennessee,” and encouraged Senators to cosponsor his legislation to “clean the air up and do it in a way that helps utilities provide electricity at the lowest possible cost.”

Alexander said: “The E.P.A. is a happy hunting ground for unreasonable regulations. There's the Boiler MACT rule, which must have been created on another planet. There's the Cement MACT Rule which would increase the amount of pollution in the air. There's the ozone rule which the president himself had to withdraw. There's the coolant rule which seems to have no benefits. There's even talk of a farm dust rule, which Senator Johanns is talking about. So why aren't we talking about those instead of a proposal to make it easier for dirty air to blow in our state, make us unhealthier, drive away tourists and cost us auto jobs?”

Alexander cited four reasons he opposed Paul’s proposal and why his legislation with Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) was “a better solution, which is to put the rule into law and give the utilities enough time to comply with it.”

Reason No.1: Auto Jobs: “The first thing Nissan did when it came to Tennessee 30 years ago was to go down to the Air Quality Board and get an air quality permit so it could operate its paint plant. Our air was clean enough to allow that to happen. Nissan came. So did tens of thousands of jobs. If it hadn't gotten the permit, the jobs wouldn't be there. Volkswagen has come to Tennessee. We want to make sure its suppliers can get an air quality permit so they don't have to go to other states.”

Reason No. 2: Tourism Jobs: “People come to see the Great Smoky Mountains, not the Great Smoggy Mountains. The county where I come from, we haven't elected a Democrat to Congress since Abraham Lincoln was president but we like to breathe clean air. Tourists do as well.”

Reason No. 3: Health: “The American Lung Association tells us that dirty air blowing into Tennessee makes us unhealthier … especially children and old folks.”

Reason No. 4: “This is no solution.” “It has no chance of succeeding. It won't pass the Senate. The president will veto it if it does. What will it do? Throw it back to bureaucrats and lawyers and uncertainty and delay.”

 

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