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H.R. 4255, the Accountability in Grants Act of 2012

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Andrew Light

SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Fellow Andrew Light testifies before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Read the full testimony (CAP Action)

I deeply appreciate the invitation from Chairman Whitfield for the opportunity to testify today on H.R. 4255, the “Accountability in Grants Act of 2012.” While I understand the concerns which motivate this piece of legislation, I firmly believe that any cuts to grants or other financial assistance issued under section 103 of the Clean Air Act should come through a careful assessment of which research best helps to advance the mission of the law, protect the health and safety of Americans, and advance our cooperative global operations abroad. A blanket ban on all funding to foreign institutions will not achieve these reasonable and prudent goals. The simple physical fact of the matter—which cannot be negotiated around—is that harmful environmental pollutants, especially airborne contaminants, do not respect national boundaries. The EPA cannot responsibly implement the intent and purpose of the Clean Air Act with the restrictions that H.R. 4255 would place upon it.

In what follows, I will first describe the purpose and objectives of the Clean Air Act—one of the most significant pieces of bipartisan legislation passed in our history—and the role that section 103 grants to foreign partners play in implementing it. In the second part of my testimony, I will offer evidence for how section 103 grants to foreign partners help to protect the health of Americans; fulfill our foreign policy objectives; ensure American competitiveness; and deliver on our global obligations for solving global environmental problems.

I should say at the outset that my academic research has never been supported by an EPA grant of any kind. I have not been part of a larger research team supported by the EPA, nor have I applied for support from the EPA for my work. I have, however, participated on funding review panels at the National Science Foundation for seven years, and that experience has given me insight into the importance of international cooperation in endeavors such as those covered in the legislation under discussion today.

CAP Senior Fellow Andrew Light testifies before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Read the full testimony (CAP Action)

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