Statement Of Linda Frances
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 3, 2003
Manatee/Sarasota Sierra Club
I am here from Bradenton and I am speaking for Mary Shepherd and on behalf of the Manatee/Sarasota Sierra Club. A couple of things I might mention to you particular to this area. You probably are aware that the Clinton administration and the EPA got an agreement to stop one of the worst polluters in the nation, I believe one of the top ten, TECO and they are going to be cleaning up their pollution and their smokestacks in the next few years. According to the Clear Skies Initiative, this agreement would not be possible now. I think a lot of people are very concerned about the Bush administration rolling back the Clean Air Act. I hope you will take this message back to President Bush because it is really affecting the health of seniors and equally vulnerable are the young people, who we really need to protect for the future of our country. The citizens of Florida recently passed by 71 percent vote for a citizens' initiative for a constitutional amendment, which seems the only way we might get it on the books, to ban smoking in restaurants. Smoking may also be banned in bars but more importantly in other facilities, such as homes that provide childcare. The contributions to our society from healthy seniors are huge. The White House justifies doing less to protect public health from air pollution by lowering the estimated value of a human life and lowering even further the estimated value of a senior citizen, The Office of Management and Budget is now requiring the EPA to design regulations that assume the life of an American over 70 years of age is worth only 62 percent of that of a younger American.
I also want to say that one of the main known carcinogens is diesel fuel. I believe that you are addressing it but not in a very timely fashion. We need to address it now. It is a known carcinogen. The solution to that is not something that requires great technology. Stroke, heart disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are all conditions caused by air pollution. Those especially affect seniors 65 and older.
Contributions by citizens in the state of Florida --we are not all out on the golf courses-- are made to various organizations that you hear from today. We invite others to join those groups because we need their help and we need to make this administration conscious of not rolling back our protections, such as the Clean Air Act. Thank you.