By Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
30th Congressional District of Texas in the US 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 clean up 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.