Statement Of Beverly Braverman
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
I am submitting comments for Heather Sage, Citizens for Pennsylvania's future. Well, I live in the coal fields of Pennsylvania in what we call "resource extraction zones," or "sacrifice zones," so you know that I am least going to mention the fact that the coal field citizens are definitely impacted by stresses related to mining. And several people have already mentioned those as they relate to elderly, so I am just going to add to that by saying that I think the inability to get home owners insurance once you have been under mined is very stressful for people on a fixed income, and I think that for those same people who can no longer sell their homes, it is a very stressful situation. If you have a situation where someone at least is still earning an income, at least they have some possibility of relocating.
You know, it is funny since I heard about this 63% devaluation of human life, I woke up and I thought Well, I am in my fifties, I must be 80% of a person, and I thought it is too bad I cannot just pay 80% of my taxes. So what I would like to discuss are the plans to reframe environmental laws to allow diminishment of our quality of life. For example, EPA and valley fills, or mountain top removal. In order to allow the practice of blowing the top off a mountain and dumping the debris into our stream valleys, they weaken the Clean Water Act, and I see the same thing happening here. Because studies found that pollution is a bigger problem with the elderly than it is with younger people, then we can either enforce the laws, remove those hazards, redefine the pollution or redefine the value of older people. I find that revaluing older people in other ways is really a deplorable thing. I am glad Marilyn Skolnick pointed out what the impact is of that, and we can say we no longer have to do certain things to control pollution and that really is what is happening here. If you devalue the elderly, because they require more controls on emission to assure their health, then we no longer have to control those emissions. So, EPA we are on to you. So all I would like to say I want to reemphasize what Marilyn Skolnick says, you have to look at chronic illness, you cannot just look at mortality. I heard cumulative effect on illness, but I did not hear cumulative effect of different types of pollution, and I urge you to look at those things. Stricter laws will remove more pollution from our environment and will result in a healthier, older population. I think someone else alluded to that as well. So I will conclude the right to be healthy after 65 is still part of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness the last time I looked. And you the EPA, the Bush Administration and the OMB are charged with protecting us and implementing safe laws. If you facilitate a system whereby 30,000 to 70,000 deaths occur each year, depending upon the studies from small particulate emissions, then you are responsible for killing those people as surely as if you pulled the plug, dropped the bomb, or shot the bullet. Thank you.