Proposed Utility MACT Regulations – Testimony by Patti Gettinger (The GA Tea Party/AFP Cobb)

May 31, 2011

EPA Public Hearing Atlanta, GA May 26, 2011
My name is Patti Gettinger, taxpayer. The locus swarm of EPA regulations is descending like a plague on our energy industry. These regulations will decimate our access to reliable and cost-efficient energy. They will create financial misery for citizens, particularly our most vulnerable. They will strip out thousands of jobs and wipe out business growth in a fragile economy. To promote this destruction in terms of health benefits that are dubious at best, and outright fabrication at worst, is an insult to the taxpayers who pay your salaries.

Claiming specific numbers of health incidences implies a level of certainty and precision that simply cannot be scientifically supported. Although the EPA claims that particulate matter causes “tens of thousands of premature deaths,” to my knowledge, not a single medically documented case exists. EPA researchers acknowledge health risk estimates are based on numerous assumptions with major uncertainties. In other words, EPA is generating hypothetical, not actual values.

EPA claims mercury is a threat, particularly to children. Yet Japanese and Hong Kong citizens have substantially higher bloodstream mercury than in the US, and their children routinely outscore American kids on standardized tests. The Seychelle Islands study showed no evidence of adverse effects from prenatal methyl mercury exposure that is ten times greater than in the US. A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found no evidence of any clinically relevant adverse effects of mercury exposure on heart disease or stroke.

Power plants are not the largest source of mercury emissions. A recent study estimated two-thirds of global mercury emissions come from natural sources: the ocean, vegetation, volcanoes and forest fires. North American power plants represent less than 1%.

A broken compact fluorescent light bulb emits mercury vapor at 1,000 times EPA’s reference concentration. Hypocritically, EPA encourages the use of CFLs while attacking coal-fired plants, which provide 45% of our nation’s electricity, are very low-cost providers, and don’t rely on foreign imports since coal is an abundant American resource. EPA’s regulations will impose $150 billion in electric plant compliance costs. In addition, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council says annual operating costs will increase by $100 billion7, ten times more than EPA estimates. The result: plants close, energy supply falls 7%, and energy costs rise 25%8. Georgia gets half of its electricity from coal-fired plants, so EPA’s regulatory attack hurts my community.

We will pay more for basic necessities: home electricity, food and clothing. The Public Opinion on Poverty says 1 in 4 Americans has trouble paying electric bills. Blacks, Hispanics and seniors are especially hurt by higher utility prices.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Unions stated that 50,000 workers in the utility, mining and railroad industries could lose their jobs. For the EPA to say jobs destroyed by these regulations will be temporarily replaced by new jobs is like having one person dig a hole and another fill that hole. With unemployment at 9%, gas at $4/gal. and high foreclosure rates, it is obscene to implement regulations that further destroy our standard of living.

In summary, EPA over-regulation is a threat to our economic health. What needs to be curbed is the intellectual pollution of pseudo-science, flawed models and guestimates. The EPA must indefinitely suspend these regulations. Our citizens deserve better.

Patti Gettinger Acworth, GA

References:
“Current Hair Mercury Levels in Japanese for Estimation of Methylmercury Exposure,” Journal of Health Science, 50(2) 120-125 (2004):

http://jhs.pharm.or.jp/data/50(2)/50_120.pdf

“What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science”, PISA 2009 Results:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/12/46643496.pdf

“Prenatal methylmercury exposure in the Seychelles,” The Lancet, Volume 362, Issue 9384, Page 665, 23 August 2003:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)14167-0/fulltext

“Mercury Exposure and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Two U.S. Cohorts”, The New England Journal of Medicine, March 24, 2011: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1006876 “Global Mercury Emissions to the Atmosphere from Natural and Anthropogenic Sources” CNR _-Institute for Atmospheric Pollution: http://www.htap.org/meetings/2009/2009_04/Presentations/Day%203/01%2002%20Pirrone/Pirrone_TF%20HTAP%202009_2.pdf “EPA’s Mercurial Hypocrisy”, GreenHellBlog.com, January 3, 2011: http://greenhellblog.com/2011/01/03/epa-mercurial-hypocrisy/ “EPA Utility MACT Proposal: Negative Economics for What?”, Scott H. Segal, Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, March 17, 2011: http://www.masterresource.org/2011/03/epa-utility-mact-proposal/
Ibid. Testimony of Daryl Bassett, Empower Consumers, to House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, April 23, 2001: http://www.empowerconsumers.org/images/Bassettstmt.pdf
Ibid. “Power Plant Union Asks Congress to Delay EPA’s Air Pollution Rules” The New York Times, May 16, 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/16/16greenwire-power-plant-union-asks-congress-to-delay-epas-87699.html

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