Statement Of Susan Glickman
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 3, 2003
Florida Conservation Alliance
Florida Conservation Alliance
My name is Susan Glickman.
I'm on the board of the Florida Conservation Alliance. I'm a native of Florida -- born right here in Tampa. I may not be a senior, but I assure you, I do aspire to become one.
Today, I'm here to address how we prepare for an aging society. Knowing by the year 2030 - when I'll be 70 - the number of persons aged 65 and older is expected to double to 70 million, we'd better start now.
Your own website states, "as we age, our bodies may become more susceptible to environmental hazards because of the diminished capacity of various organ systems that occur in the national aging process. For example, our bodies are less able to detoxify and eliminate toxins. In addition as we age, we are exposed to a lifetime of environmental contaminants capable of persisting and accumulating in our bodies."
I couldn't agree more, that's why I must voice strong concerns about policy decisions and priorities that the Bush Administration is making which push federal agencies to slash the dollar value they place on human life.
I've heard and read a lot recently about what people are calling a "Senior Death Discount". It seems, that according to the EPA that anybody 70 years or older is worth only 63% of those who are younger.
This "senior death discount" is radical methodology and a massive departure from longstanding policy where the values of a human life was set at $6.1 million under President George Herbert Walker Bush's Administration.
Now, the lives of younger Americans are only worth $3.7 million and older Americans are worth only $2.3 million.
The calculation suggests that elderly people would pay only 63 cents for every $1 that younger people would pay to reduce the risk of death. This calculation rejects popular science and relies on one antiquated study.
It also assumes that all elderly people suffer from heart disease and will live only 5 more years.
Earlier this year, the EPA used this new formula when performing a "Cost-Benefit Analysis" of a proposal to protect National Parks from snowmobile pollution. Originally the plan was calculated as having a "benefit" of $77 billion by 2030. However, under these new figures, the health "benefits" are now only $8.8 billion.
This "alternative analysis" is also included in the Clear Skies Initiative.
In February 2002, the EPA valued the Clear Skies health benefits at $93 billion by 2020 but your alternative analysis puts the benefits at just $14.1 billion, an amount far closer to the $6.5 billion cost of the plan.
Although benefits still outweigh costs, the lower estimate serves as a barrier against tougher emissions limits. It could discourage agencies from developing new rules that might protect health at higher cost.
As President Bush's trusted advisor on the environment and health, tell him he can do a lot right now to save valuable American lives by ending this unfair and economically unsound practice.