By EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
U.S. House of Representatives
The presence of life-threatening chemicals in our air, our food and our water is a significant health risk to our country, its adults and its children. As a health professional I realize the magnitude of the dangers we face. That is why I supported legislation passed recently in the House of Representatives designed to address the problem.
Chief among its goals, the legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency to closely monitor and regulate deadly chemicals that are a serious danger to the water that all of us consume, and to the air that we breathe.
Unfortunately, the current administration is not concerned about the quality of the water that Americans consume, or the safety of the air. It has reversed many of the environment-friendly policies and regulations established during the presidency of former President Barack Obama.
Its policies have created a regulatory environment in which anything goes, and in which bad practices run rampant while people become sicker, and communities suffer. It is a throwback to a time when there were few sensible standards; science was rejected and common sense abandoned.
If this administration were allowed to have its way communities in North Texas, those throughout our state and others across our nation, will continually be victimized by chemical pollution, resulting in poor health and an increase in preventable deaths.
The legislation that the democratically – controlled House fought for was passed by a vote of 247 to 159. Twenty-four Republican members voted in favor of the bill. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president it will help us in the battle against chemical polluters, and the products that they use.
It will ensure that the environment is free of deadly chemical pollutants that currently plague us. It will also provide federal grants for states such as Texas to eliminate and cleanup areas that are environmentally unsafe.
The evidence for action is alarming. In November of last year chemical explosions at a plant near Houston resulted in injuries to workers, and the evacuation of approximately 50,000 residents who found themselves having to sleep in shelters.
Shortly before that incident, the Trump administration lessened standards for chemical plants that had been set under Obama. Only six years earlier an explosion at a plant in West, Texas, resulted in 15 fatalities and hundreds of injuries.
We must not discontinue safety standards that are sorely needed. We must continue to fight for legislation that protects people, and the communities in which they work and live.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. She also chairs the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.