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tv   EPA Administrator Pruitt Testifies at Oversight Hearing  CSPAN  February 3, 2018 12:20pm-2:48pm EST

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face living in the region. backwardness, a low level of education, poverty, lots of things that come with that general territory of traditionally being a mostly white, mostly rural, mostly poor place. those images and stereotypes. they will stick with us. they are part of our story. >> watch the c-span cities tour beginning today at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2. on americant 2:00 history tv on c-span tv. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> next, epa administrator scott pruitt's testimonial for the environment and public works committee. he answered questions about the agency possible making ross s and efforts to eliminate lead from drinking water. this is two hours.
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>> >> now, good morning. i call this hearing to order. we have quite a full house today. i welcome the audience. this is a formal senate hearing in order to allow the committee to conduct its business. i'm going to maintain decorum. that means, if there's any disorder or demonstration by a member of the audience, that person causing the disruption will be escorted from the room by the capitol police. first, i'd like to welcome the administrator of the environmental protection agency, the honorable scott pruitt to the senate environment and public works committee for your testimony today. with respect to today's hearings, we're going to abide by the committee's five-minute rule for length of member questions in the first round. time permitting, we will also have a two-minute second round of questions until 12:30, when administrator pruitt has to leave the building. now of course, members will also have the ability to submit written questions to administrator pruitt for the record. today's hearing is to examine the epa's record to date after this first
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year of the administration. the environmental protection agency, under the leadership of administrator pruitt, has been doing the hard work of protecting the air we breathe t water we drink, and the community where our families live. administrator pruitt has led the agency fairly. he has balanced the need to prioritize environmental protection with the desires of americans to have thriving and economically sustainable communities. his leadership of epa is vastly different than that of the last two predecessors. under the obama administration, the agency had lost its way. in some very high-profile cases, the epa harmed the very communities it pledged to protect. during the last administration, epa administrator's created broad and legally questionable new regulations that undermined the american people's faith in the agency. these regulations have done great damage to the livelihoods of our nation's hardest working citizens. the regulatory rampage of the previous administration has violated a fundamental principle
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of environmental stewardship to do no harm. this failed environmental leadership has contributed to two of the worst government-created environmental disasters in decades, the gold king mine spill and the flint, michigan, water crisis. those disasters hurt people, many from low income and minority communities, who can least afford it under administrator pruitt's leadership, the epa has taken a number of bold steps to protect the environment while not harming local economies. administrator pruitt is a key leader of the president's deregulatory agenda, including ending the war on coal. scott pruitt's policies at the helm of epa likely have protected more jobs and promoted more job growth than any other epa administrator in history. he has done so while making significant environmental progress. the american economy grew 2.4 million jobs since president trump's election. this job growth happened in critical industries like manufacturing
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and mining. when the department of commerce asked manufacturers at the beginning of 2017 which federal government regulations generated the greatest burdens, the answer was clear, the epa. the top nine identified regulations that impact manufacturing are all epa regulations. at the top of the list were the waters of the u.s. rule and the clean air act rule. administrator pruitt is working to address these and other epa rules. his commitment to revisit misguided policies is growing our economy in manufacturing, in mining, and across the board. two prime examples are proposals to repeal the clean power plan and the waters of the u.s. rule. with regard to the clean power plan, the prior administration wanted to put coal out of business. 27 states challenged the clean power plan because they saw what the epa was doing. epa, under pruitt's leadership, is on the right track and
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getting that rule off the books. as he undoes that rule, i appreciate the administrator's desire to hear from those who would have been hurt the most. the administration has already held a listening session in senator capito's home state of west virginia, and i look forward to welcoming the epa to a listening session in gillette, wyoming, in march. another key way that pruitt has put environmental policy on the right track and the epa's withdrawal of the waters of the u.s. rule. the obama administration's waters of the u.s. rule would have given epa almost boundless authority to regulate what americans can do on their property. this would have impacted farmers, ranchers, landowners and businesses. the epa can and must redefine waters of the u.s. in a way that respects common sense and respects the limits of the epa's authority. this issue is a priority for my home state of wyoming as well as many other states. the administration's deregulatory approach is working. the white house counsel on economic advisers reports
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that the unemployment rate for manufacturing workers is low. the lowest rate ever recorded. the facts also show that according to the last energy information agency quarterly report, coal production in the west is 19.7% higher than the second quarter of 2016. in addition, the stock market is reaching record all-time highs. administrator pruitt has also made significant progress in protecting the environment and righting the wrongs of the past administration. he has made it a priority to clean up america's most contaminated sites. he has held polluters accountable. even if it was his own agency that was responsible for the pollution. pruitt rightfully called the obama administration's response to the epa caused animus river spill wrong. he allowed for victims of the spill to refile their claims that had been denied by the previous administration. administrator pruitt also allowed the city of flint, michigan, to have their $20
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million loan forgiven so that money could be better used to protect the health and safety of its citizens. pruitt stated, forgiving the city's debt will ensure that flint will not need to resume payments on the loan, allowing progress toward updating flint's water system to continue. administrator pruitt, the reward for good work is often more work. and i don't need to tell you that we've got a lot more work left to do. knowing that on this committee, we look forward to supporting your continued efforts. so i'd like to now ask ranking member carper for his opening statement. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for finally getting this hearing on the books. oversight is a critical part of our committee's work, and regardless of which party is in power, i'm glad that we finally have a chance to hear from mr. pruitt today. welcome. mr. pruitt, it's been a while since you've been with us. thank you for postponing your planned trips to israel and japan. for the first time in more than a year, i have a friend who, when
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asked how he's doing, he says, compared to what? sometimes he says compared to whom? and what i'd like to do is say, how about compared to your immediate predecessor. gene mccarthy appeared before this committee six times in two years, while her predecessor appeared before us 14 times in 6 years. you can do better on this front. and it's important that you do. today, we're not only going to hear from you, about how things are going at epa, but we'll also hear tonight from president trump about the current state of our union, so it seems like an appropriate time to also take a look at the state of our environment. i understand that epa has been highlighting its so-called first year achievements on posters around the agency, in fact, we have a copy of one of those posters here. where is it? there we go. let's take a closer look at what is being celebrated as achievements. first, epa has moved to repeal the clean power plan but with no real replacement to protect
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americans from carbon dioxide pollution, while rolling back clean air protections. similarly, epa has moved to repeal the clean water rule, but again, with no new pln to protect the drinking water sources. you've been touting the agency's work on contaminated super fund sites but repeatedly taking credit for clean-ups completed under president obama's administration, all while proposing to cut the program by 30%. 30%. it's part of the reforms that congress passed in 2016, we gave gave you -- epa more authority to assure that chemicals are safe. that way, families can have confidence in the products that they use every day. under your leadership, epa has not used that authority. so american consumers still don't have the confidence that they deserve. and that we intended. and finally, epa has moved to be the repeal, reconsider, or delay at
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least 25 environmental and public health protections in the last year alone. which certainly does not create certainty for the entities that you regulate and that we represent. those are not achievements. those are the exact opposite. clear failure to act. state of our environment is also fundamentally linked to the state of our climate, and what do we see in 2017 alone? second hottest year on record. multiple category 5 hurricanes resulting in more than $200 billion in damages and counting. catastrophic fires in the west, followed by deadly mud slides. severe droughts. rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities and cause frequent flooding. from alaska to delaware, from maine to miami, climate change is clearly affecting every corner of our country. yet instead of spending time and resources trying to
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tackle what many of us believe is the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime, this epa, under your leadership, mr. pruitt, is choosing to rage a -- wage a war on climate science. this epa has scrubbed its websites of nonpartisan climate science data collected over decades. this epa replaced science advisers who have worked on climate issues for years with individuals backed by industry. doing nothing would be bad enough. the fact that this administration seems to be actively working to discredit and hide the clear science is the height of irresponsibility. now for the past year, we've heard you give responses to questions and members of other congressional committees and cable news hosts that have asked you, and many of the so-called platitude that you often used to repeat let me just run through , they are not answers. some of your recurring responses now so we can get to real answers today. mr. pruitt, you often say, these are your words, you often say the rule of law
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matters. well, congress was very prescriptive when it wrote the clean air act. the law sets time lines that epa must use to determine whether our country is meeting federal standards for harmful ozone pollution. but your epa has chosen to continuously ignore and delay that very specific mandate from congress, which leaves downward like mine and other vulnerable communities at risk indefinitely. you say over and over again that process matters. do you think that verbally directing career staff at epa to delete the inconvenient economic benefits of the clean water rule is good rule making process? do you? do you think that ignoring the advice of epa scientists helps us clean up our nation's water? do you? repeatedly insist that you are committed to cooperative federalism, that epa and i quote you, needs to work together with the states to better achieve outcomes. yet this administration has sought
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to zero out funding for critical state programs like those to clean up the great lakes. the chesapeake bay. and your epa has refused to allow states to work together to address harmful pollutants like ozone. you like to tout that the u.s. is, quote, your quote, actually at pre-1994 levels with respect to our co2 footprint thanks to innovation and technology. but that comment ignores the common sense and bipartisan regulations put in place over the last four decades to get us up to those pre-1994 levels. didn't happen by accident, mr. pruitt. reducing carbon emissions is the result of smart vehicle emission standards, clean air regulations, and our federal efforts to incentive investments in clean energy, including natural gas and renewables, most of which your epa is now trying to weaken or repeal. you often remind the people that you are a former attorney general and you say that you, your quote, know what it means to prosecute
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folks. but under your leadership, epa has slowed actions against polluters. and though you have touted epa's recent enforcement successes, saying epa has collected billions of dollars in penalties during your time at the agency, you conveniently forgot to mention that more than 90% of those penalties are from cases prosecuted entirely by the obama administration. you say that you are, quote, getting the agency back to basics. but actions like the one you took just last week, just last week, to reverse critical prosecutions against hazardous air pollutants show that your epa is actually move us backwards to the early 1970s when polluters were able to spew the most dangerous toxins like mercury, lead, and arsenic into the water we drink and air we breathe. perhaps the most egregious is you said, president obama said we had to choose between jobs and growth at the expense of environment or choose the environment at the expense of jobs. that's a false choice.
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that's your quote. well, mr. pruitt, i have been saying that choosing between our economy and our environment is a false choice for most of my time as governor and u.s. senator. my colleagues here will testify to that. because i know in our country's history has proven it to be true. i've easily said that hundreds of times. you know who else famously said that very same thing hundreds, maybe even thousands of times? well, it was barack obama. time and time again, he told us, and i quote him, there will always be people in this country who say we've got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy. between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. that is a false choice. whose words are those? barack obama and he didn't just say it once. he said it hundreds of times. but he wasn't just waxing poetic as some do. under the obama administration, our country rebounded, if you will, from the worst economic recession since the great depression. we went on
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to add 16 million new jobs, all while implementing landmark environmental protections and lowering energy costs at the meter and at the pump for consumers. i don't say this lightly, mr. pruitt. but you are repeatedly misrepresenting the truth regarding president obama's record. sure, we can disagree about policies. that's normal. but to take the very same words, the very same words that president obama used on countless occasions, use them as your own, and then claim that president obama said the exact opposite is, frankly, galling. stop doing it. i'll end with this. mr. pruitt, when you were sworn in as epa administrator, you took the very same oath of office that every member of this committee has taken and that some of us have taken many times. you swore that you would well and faithfully discharge the duties of office on which you were about to enter. well, one of those duties is to be responsive to the coequal branches of government, which means showing up here more than
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once a year to answer our questions. today, mr. pruitt, please spare us the kind of platitudes that you frequently use. now that you're finally here, i want some real answers. my colleagues what really answers. i think the american people deserve real answers. we look forward to those answers, mr. pruitt. thank you, mr. chairman. >>we will now hear from the honorable scott pruitt, the administrator of the environmental protection agency. i'd like to remind the administrator, your full written testimony will be made part of the official hearing today. i look forward to hearing your testimony. welcome to the community. >>chairman barrasso, ranking member carper, members of the committee, senators, it's good to see you. it's been too long, as was mentioned by senator carper and i'm looking forward to the exchange and discussion today. as you know, i was confirmed by this senate in mid-february of last year and as i began my journey at the agency, i took the opportunity to spend time with the entire agency, and i did, in fact, senator carper, mention three priorities by which we would govern and lead the agency. the first was rule of law. and rule of law does matter. rule of law
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is something that people take for granted, but as we administer the laws at the agency, the only power that we possess is the power that you give us. and so as we execute our responsibilities and rule making, what you say in statute matters as we do our work. because it provides certainty to the american people. and secondly, as you've indicated, senator carper, is process. process is often overlooked. processes matter in rule making because of the decisions that we make involving stakeholders across the country. those that seek to offer comment as we make decisions. and so, the apa -- the proposed rules that we adopt, the comments that we receive, responding to those comments on the record and then finalizing decisions in an informed way is very, very important. one of the actions that i've taken as administrator is to do away with the sioux and settle practice that has gone on for years not just at the epa but across executive branch agencies, where someone will sue the agency, and a decision will be made in a courtroom and a consent decree
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will be entered and the rule making process is bypassed entirely. so process is something that we've emphasized over the last several months and it's something that i believe is working as far as providing clarity and confidence to the american people. and thirdly, as senator carper mentioned mentioned, is federalization. statutes that you have passed in this body, i think, more so than others, cooperative federalism is at the heart of environmental stewardship, and so i visited 30 states these past several months and as we've visited with stakeholders across the country, talked about super fund to the financial assurances rule in minnesota to the wotus rule in utah, hearing from folks on how those rules impact them. so we have taken seriously those principles. i want you to know there's opportunities that we have to work together on some very important issues. the first i'll mention is lead. one of the things i think is terribly troubling is the lead in our drinking water across this country. and i believe that as
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we consider infrastructure in the first quarter of this year and as we head into the rest of 2018, investing in infrastructure changes to eradicate lead from our drinking water within a decade should be a goal of this body and this administration. the president is very supportive of that. and we look forward to working with you to declare a war on lead as it relates to our drinking water. secondly, abandoned mines across this country are a huge issue. and we have hundreds of thousands of those across the country. we have private citizens, companies, who have the expertise, the resources to clean up those abandons mines but there are liability issues that need to be addressed as you're full aware. we should work together to advance an initiative to make sure that we do all we can to clean up those abandoned mines across the country. super funds, you mentioned, senator carper, i think one of the most tangible things we can do for our citizens with respect to environmental protection is to make decisions and get accountability with respect to our super fund sites across the country. just in the last
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several months, san jacinto, portland, and soon, west lake and st. louis, missouri, all sites that have struggled for years, we are providing direction and leadership to ensure we get answers and clean up those sites. it's about leadership and money and i look forward to working with you in that regard. senator carper, i would say to you as i close, i think one of the greatest challenges we have as a country is the attitude that environmental protection is prohibition. and i don't believe that. i don't believe environmental protection is putting up fences. i believe that we have been blessed as a country with tremendous natural resources that we can use to feed the world and power the world. and we should, as a country, choose to do that with stewardship principles in mind for future generations. we can do both. it is something we must embrace. and i hope that we do work together to achieve that. i look forward to your questions today. and thank you, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to open with an opening comment. >>thank you very much, mr. pruitt. we appreciate you being
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here. with my time, let me ask one question, reserve is balance of my time to interject as needed during the discussion. i would say to our republican members, in order to assist senator mccain, senator inhoff is going to be chairing a armed services hearing committee today. so if it's okay, i would ask that he be allowed to go out of order when he arrives and then he can quickly return to the armed services committee. thank you very much. administrator pruitt, i want to thank you again for implementing a new vision at the epa that takes state input seriously. we're certainly feeling that home in wyoming. you know, wyoming is a very experienced department of environmental quality. wyoming strives to use the best representative air quality data available to make sound regulatory decisions on issues like ozone protection, regional haze, and permits for industrial facilities. i think it's very critical to have good data. so, as a result, wyoming spends a lot of time and resources to review data and
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determine when so-called exceptional events occur. as they do. an exceptional event might be a wild fire, causing air pollution levels to seem high. under the careenlean air -- clean air act states and epa , are supposed to exclude data collected during these exceptional events because they don't represent everyday circumstances. from 2011 to 2014, my state identified many exceptional events. we asked the epa to recognize these events and exclude the data from these time periods from regulatory decisions. well, in 2016, the epa refused to act and there were 46 of these wyoming identified exceptional events between 2011 and 2014. you know, because this previous administration failed to act, my home state faces real consequences. so the failure to act is going to make it seem like there are violations of air quality that have occurred, creating the perception that there are air quality problems when there really are not. so
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this could lead the epa to base future decisions on bad data, and it could interfere with permitting and put some restrictions on wyoming's economy. so i sent a recent letter to you, explaining the situation that the epa had not yet acted on our filing, and i just ask if you had a timeline for when the epa will be acting on wyoming's 46 exceptional event filings and any thoughts on that. >> i think a couple of things i would say. you are speaking with emphasis on ozone. as you know, we are in the withss of designating respect to ozone. that has been a priority. we will finish that in april. there are around 50 or so areas that have not been designated get that we endeavor to finish by april of this year. i think what is important when we think about ozone, there's been a lot of focus on whether the parts per billion, 75 parts per billion, reducing it to 70 was a wise decision. that is not been our focus.
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our issue has been on implementation. you mentioned exceptional events. there are others, background levels. in addition to national global transport we have tremendous challenges with international air transport on ozone that we also need to somehow consider as we engage in the process. we are looking at implementation issues, mr. chairman, in addition to finishing that designation process by mid-april. your exceptional events question is very important as we engage going forward. >> i reserve the reader of my time. senator carper. >> thank you, welcome, mr. pruitt. you stated that you want to follow the rule of law and what states to protect our environment. sadly, you failed at both when it comes to clean air. the clean air act requires the epa -- these protections are critical for downwind states like
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delaware and our neighbors. they are critical for downwind states not just like delaware, but for others up and down the east coast because we are located in what i call the end of america upon tailpipe -- end tailpipe.'s your actions are making the problem worse. you rejected a request from northeastern states to coordinate with upwind states to reduce ozone pollution. you failed to answer at least the epa tothat asked require upwind power plant to install or consistently operate pollution control. last week you issued a memo to allow industry to increase air emissions of toxic chemicals ,ike arsenic, mercury, lead impacting the health of millions of people and further burdening states dealing with prostate pollution. later on we will get to some questions. i have a limited amount of time. i will start with a series of yes or no questions.
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later on you will have a chance to expand. an or no, did epa do analysis of the health effects of last week's decision including analysis of the potential increase cancer risks? >> are you referring to the once and always decision, decision from last week? >> yes. >> that was a policy decision we have the authority to make. no, to my question? >> as i indicated, that is a policy decision. as far as the once and always status of determining whether someone qualifies at certain levels of the statue. it was a decision made outside of the program office of air. it was a policy office decision. -- i will ask another question. yes or no. did epa do an analysis that shows exactly what facilities are likely to increase their toxic air pollution due to the action taken last week?
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>> that decision was a decision that took major emitters. under the statue there are major emitters and minor emitters. >> i don't have a lot of time. i am asking for a simple yes or no. >> i have to explain what we were doing with that decision. >> ok. -- i find it incredible that epa did this seemingly without knowing or caring about potential health effects of its action. again, yes or no. will you revoke this memo until the analysis is completed and the public as had a chance to comment? >> if i may, i can our decision. if not, we can continue. >> thank you very much. happyuitt, i wasn't too delayhe obama epa had a in answering delaware's
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pollutions. your ministry's and seems to be ignoring those petitions together. the log requires an answer from the epa in 60 days. you and your team have had over a year to answer. this is a simple yes or no. will you commit to answering the overdue addition submitted to the epa by delaware and other states that request help on cross state solutions? >> we will get an answer to you quickly. >> can you do that within 30 days? >> -- >> both the bush administration and the obama administration's epa concluded that pollution from cars was dangerous. this is known as the endangerment finding. the federal appears court also a -- upheld this finding. when you appeared for your confirmation hearing you and greed the endangerment finding was "the law of the land." you often say that "rule of law matters."
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you have made similar statements a dozen times. since your confirmation hearing, used -- it seems you have changed your tune. you told reuters there might be a legal basis to overturn epa's decision. you stated in october and december of last year that the process epa used to make the decision was flawed. mr. pruitt, the white house has said it wants epa and the transportation department to negotiate what i would describe as a win-win on tailpipe standards with california. that means that the policy of the trump administration must leave the endangerment finding alone go the endangerment finding is what gives the epa and california the authority to write these rules in the first place. another yes or no. for as long as you are administrators, do you permit -- commit not to take any steps to repeal or replace the endangerment finding? >> as i indicated in my confirmation hearing. >> please, yes or no.
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>> the cap a standard that you refer to. >> yes or no. do you plan to take any steps to repeal or the place the endangerment finding? >> there is no determination on that. >> my time is expired. we will have a second run. >> senator fischer. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you administrator. epa's basic agenda has resulted in economic viability across the nation while ensuring the epa's primary mission of protecting our environment. i thank you for that. --2017 nebraska had a jobs hit a jobs milestone with an unemployment rate of 2.7% which december.ed last mr. chairman, i would ask unanimous consent to submit an article highlighting nebraska -- nebraska up a rate as
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the fourth lowest in the nation. rate as the fourth lowest in the nation. mr. administrator, this is in correlation with your efforts at the epa to streamline the process that is impacted job creator possibility to hire workers because they were forced -- job creator's ability to hire workers. this last year has been a welcome change for nebraska's public power utilities, farmers, ranchers, and small business owners. i am encouraged by the epa's decision to revisit the 2017 regional haze rule which was issued in the final days of the obama administration. if implemented, that rule would take authority away from the states and impose a one-size-fits-all federal implementation plan that simply does not make sense. many rural utilities have been overtly affected by past regional haze actions.
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during the prior administration, the epa repeatedly second-guessed the state's plans, including nebraska's 2012 plan. proposed plant the fourth the installation of unnecessary and costly control that went well beyond what the state had demonstrated was needed. nebraska is the only 100% public power state in the country, that means that any cost that is incurred by the utility from regulation is passed on to every single one of our citizens. that youy important get this rule right. can you describe what additional efforts epa is taking to improve the next phase of the regional haze program and the timeline for those actions, and how the epa will respect states and make sure that electricity is not made more costly through these unnecessary regulations? >> they do for the question. one of the interesting pieces of
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information that i discovered upon arriving at the agency was a collection of about 700 or so state implementation plan that have been prepared by states across the country where resources and parties have been deployed to improve air quality across a full spectrum of programs. there was a backlog with no response. we put an emphasis on that and that backlog is being addressed. to this question a regional haze, regional haze is a portion of our statute that i think provides -- the only requirement is to reach natural visibility by the year 2064. so long as states are taking steps to reach that level they have tremendous latitude in how they achieve it. of thosevisiting all steps, we are looking at those implementation plans to which you refer, making sure states are submitting plans that will reach those objectives by the timeframe. >> i thank you for your
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commitment to that. always taking into consideration the time and the expertise that states put forward on those plans. i would now like to turn to a topic that you are well aware of. wotus role.2015 i have -- rule. i applaud your efforts to rescind the rule and provide businesses and families with a clear definition of wotus that does not go beyond federal authority. can you share what the next steps are in the epa's process for repealing this rule? >> sender copper this goes to things you mentioned in your opening statement. , this goes toper things you mentioned in your opening statement. we are providing regulatory certainty because there are steps being taken to provide a substitute for wotus and the
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cpp. we have act to wotus proposal that is out of the marketplace that will deal with that 2015 rolled to provide certainty and we have a step two process that is ongoing to give a definition of -- proposalate that coming out sometime in april or may of this year. then hopefully finalizing that by the end of 2018. >> thank you, administrator. >> thank you senator fischer. senator cardin. >> thank you for being here. let me preface my comments with your statements in regards to lead and drinking water. -- you're strong bipartisan support to illuminate lead in drinking water and we hope we can have an actionable agenda to accomplice that -- eliminate lead in drinking water and we hope we can have an actionable agenda took up with that.
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i want to talk about the chesapeake bay. we have one new addition to our committee, my colleague from maryland. you're going to get more than just one senator. i want to thank senator carper for his interest in the bay as one of the bay states, and senator capitol and senator gillibrand. , the bay is ins better shape today as a result of -- the recreational values and land values and public health have all improved. i want to ask you three questions. dealing with the chesapeake bay program budget estimated by the administration. the chesapeake bay office, the epa's office in annapolis, and support for the bay journal. in regards to the appropriation level. fy 17 budget passed by congress --
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appropriation committees are working up numbers for fy 18. this committee passed an authorization bill after the president's budget submission at $90 million. we need your help as an advocate. i remember -- asking for the federal government's participation, that is the bay program. this is a local program in which the chesapeake bay office is the glue that keeps it together so we have an independent observer and enforcer that we do what we say we are going to do. can we get some help from you with omb to get the money in the president's budget. >> i seem to be persuasive there, but i am not always as persuasive as i endeavor to be. i will say the same thing to you, it is important, i think there's been tremendous success achieved at the program. i appreciate congress's response
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and i will continue to work with you to ensure that we address these issues that you phrase. >> i want to talk about the chesapeake bay office, the epa's office that is located in annapolis. it is co-located with usda, u.s. forest service, and usgs. i understand there is some concern by gsa that it is located in a floodplain. there may be a need to relocate. we fully understand that. i would ask that you get engaged on this because i think keeping with the federal other -- other federal agencies is important and a location near the chesapeake bay is important. the location that epa was looking at was to move the epa office alone, which is a federal a silly -- facility. the problem is that it is not near the bay. secondly it is behind the fence line, which for dod has
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significant costs. every person who visits the epa office has to go through a security network which is already overtaxed and causing budget would you work with us to get a more reasonable answer to epa's location with other agencies so that we can accomplish the purpose of the federal partnership with the other staff? >> absolutely, senator. and i was actually briefed on this in anticipation of our hearing and as we talked about it, if there are issues there, at the current facility, we need to try to work through those issues to keep the facility there as best we can. and so, absolutely, you can count on my participation and cooperation with you and the other agencies. >> understand that d.o.d. does not want epa behind a fence line. there is a cost issue there. so i just hope that we'll be sensitive to that, even though it may not come out directly of the epa budget. >> i will. >> i appreciate that. the last thing on the bay
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journal, the bay -- we talk about this being a public/private partnership, the bay, and it is. we have tremendous public support for the bay programs and all of the jurisdictions here. and a significant part of the cost burdens are shouldered by the private sector. but public information about the bay is very, very important, and the leading source of that is the bay journal. it receives one-third of its funding through the epa and it's currently in a six-year grant from epa. i think year two. as i understand it, a decision was made to cut off the funding as early as february 1. and i would just urge you to give us time to make sure that this program continues, because it is an important part of our public/private partnership. >> it is under reconsideration, senator, even in anticipation of this hearing. i think that was a decision that i learned of that decision after the fact, and i think it was probably a decision that should not have been made in the way that it was. so it's under reconsideration already. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator.
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>> thank you for having this hearing. administrator pruitt, thank you for your attendance. let me start with circla. i've sponsored legislation in the past to exempt ag emissions reporting requirements. and i support this committee moving forward on a bill to provide certainty to ag producers. but in addition to the uncertainty and unnecessary burden, threat of citizen lawsuits that requirements would add to our farmers and ranchers, i'm also concerned about privacy, privacy of farmers and ranchers. most producers live on their farm or ranch, so any public disclosure about this, the data, and its private information is problematic. i secured report language in a interior appropriations bill directing epa to safeguard the privacy information, and i would ask you, mr. administrator, if the epa is required by the court to collect emission reports before congress acts, what assurances can you give kansas farmers and ranchers that any sensitive information required
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on those reports, including farm information, would be protected from the public? >> it's a very important issue as you indicate. there's more latitude that we have presently but we are looking at all options available to us to provide clarity, but also i think opportunity for farmers and rarjnchers to know that as information is collected, if, in fact, it is, that privacy concerns will be addressed. and so it's a very important issue and something that i think congress does need to look at very, very expeditiously. i think our team has been visiting with the senate to that end. i hope we can address it legislatively. until that occurs we are taking , all steps available to us to address these issues. >> thank you. if there's particular issues that you'd like to raise with me, i'd be happy to have further conversation. let me turn to another topic. thank you for your efforts to approve an rfs pathway for the production of advanced biofuels from sorgum oil.
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once that is finalized, the pathway will result in production of up to 20 million additional gallons of advanced biofuels. the comment period on that proposed rule closed on friday. i appreciate the progress being made but want to continue to urge you to act quickly. you and i have talked about the pathway on the phone or two occasions. but we want to see that kansas sorgum farmers and ethanol facilities can benefit from that pathway. can you provide me with a time line? >> as you indicated, the period disclosed this past week and i'm not aware of the number of comments that came in, senator, so it's very difficult to say how long the process is. but i understand the urgency. it is something we are focused on from the program office respective. >> would you ask your team to get back with me? >> i will. >> thank you. finally a more general question. , the voices of farmers and
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ranchers are often left out of the decision making process at epa and i appreciate that you have developed a much stronger working relationship with the agriculture community. if, in the future, we have different administrations in charge of epa, we may revert back to the old ways in which farmers and ranchers are once again left out -- a seat at the table. can you talk to me about the changes you've instituted at epa that you believe will be carried forward beyond your tenure? what's the long-term effects of your actions to make sure that agriculture is considered? >> well, we have an -- as you know, i have an agricultural adviser that interfaces with those stakeholders on an ongoing basis. that person -- that position will continue post-my time at the epa. we also have something called the smart sector strategy. it is an effort on our part to work to work with those across various issues between air, water, chemical, all the things we regulate to deal with issues proactively as opposed to responding to rules.
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the ag sector is in that smart sector strategy. hopefully that will live on as well. that's something we instituted. >> thank you, mr. the industry of. >> senator booker >> thank you for being here. it would be helpful if you are more often. first and foremost, talking about super funds, i was alarmed. i know this is budget recommendation about the 30% cut. this is an area that needs a lot more attention and in the last congress i asked for information about super funds, are we driving, they're increasing, the number of contaminated sites are increasing in our country. you know this i am sure, but 11 million people, including 3 million children live within a mile of super fund sites. we have data coming out of princeton showing people living around those sites, children born, have significantly higher
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rates of birth defects, significantly higher rates of autism. but super fund sites don't just contaminate the ground and the water. we know that these birth defects and serious problems can come from a lot of other contaminants in the air and the like. there's urgent risk you're familiar with, recent analysis showed 327 super fund sites are at risk of flooding due to impacts that we see with climate changing. 35 of the flood prone super fund sites are located in new jersey, and it is a big concern in my state. last week, one of the top epa career staffers told the house energy and commerce committee and i quote, "we have to respond to this climate challenge. that's just part of our mission set." so we need to design remedies that account for that. we don't get to pick where super fund sites are, we deal with the
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waste where it is. so with the increased flooding we're seeing, we really have urgency, the threat of super fund sites growing. do you agree that we must design remedies for these super fund sites, the 327 that right now are at imminent risk of flooding? >> absolutely. we had a decision recently, senator, in houston, that was in a harbor area. the remedy was simply cover it with a rock on top of it. we came in with a more permanent solution to the tune of $150 million. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you. i am interested in hearing about houston. >> it is an example. >> if you could get me in writing what you're doing and some sense of a time line, and resources that might be needed if there needs to be congressional action. >> yes. >> and have you directed your staff to do some analysis on these sites?
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>> we have taken the super fund portfolio and have as a priority to identify not just the 327 but of all of the sites what poses immediate risk to health. >> so i'd love for qfr approach to this imminent health crisis. next issue, we talked about this, is environmental justice. it's an issue i have been traveling on and seeing the unconscionable realities in places like alabama, north carolina and other states, and i'm concerned about how much you're taking into account the environmental burdens that are disproportionately effecting communities of color. indigenous communities and low income communities. one example is on december 19, they initiated a rule making process to revise protections provided to agricultural workers protection standard. the worker protection standard is a primary set of standards to protect over 2 million, including half million children from hazards of working with pesticides.
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among other problematic changes i am seeing, epa is considering lowering minimum age requirement that prohibits children from handling dangerous pesticides if under 18-years-old. the protection was put in place because pesticides can increase risk of cancer for children whose brains are still developing, and more. i don't know if you believe this personally, but do you think children handling dangerous pesticides is a good idea, this rule seems to be in place for a reason. you know probably about executive order 12898 which requires epa to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health effects that effects minorities, as an executive order looks at minorities in low income communities being impacted. it is one of the executive orders around environmental justice.
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these are communities disproportionately harmed. as my time is expiring, i'll ask this for a qfr if i can finish my question, you decide to move forward with the process to potentially weaken agricultural protections. i hold the notice you have here. not only the requirements for minimum age, but also the designated representative requirement which often in populations that might not have that designated representative, it is often their best chance of getting an advocate. i'm really worried about the rules. you cite the executive order on president trump's executive order on deregulation but don't have anything about expressing concerns about disproportionate impact on low income folks and minorities. and just for the record, i ask your indulgence, would you be able to provide for me in the record how you are considering the disproportionate impact on minorities when it comes to the
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advertised rule change that raises alarms of me that these vulnerable populations will be disproportionately hurt, children handling chemicals for that or the more vulnerable populations, farm workers. >> senator, as you know that's a proposal. we are in the process of taking comments now. many of those issues will be addressed during that process. >> consider this my comment, sir. >> with respect to it in general, in chicago with respect to super fund site there, you and i talked about this in the confirmation hearings process your i very much believe we need to make sure as we make decisions like east chicago and super fund space, i spent time listening to stakeholders, making decisions one on one. it is an important aspect. we will get information to you. >> will you come to new jersey super fund site? yes. >> >> thank you. >> senator ernst.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you mr. pruitt for being here today and taking time to answer our questions. i really do appreciate that. as you know, americans do expect good governance from all of us, and they expect accessibility, participation, responsiveness, and accountability. since taking the reigns at the epa, you have shown you're not afraid to engage with the american population, and you just gave that example of going out visiting the sites for super funds. you have also shown that you are willing to hear firsthand the concerns of americans while giving those that are effected an opportunity to engage in the decision-making process. so thank you for that. in addition to the super fund issue you just addressed, you traveled to des moines, iowa, and you met with over 50 stakeholders from across the ag industry at the farm bureau, and we left that round table really
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encouraged by what we heard and what we were able to engage in, knowing that we do now have a partner in epa. under your leadership, epa has taken necessary actions to walk back and repeal destructive obama era rules as discussed earlier like wotus and like the clean power plan. those are all things that have harmed our farmers and ranchers and our constituents at large in iowa. most importantly, you followed the rule of law and fulfilled the administration's promise, protecting high quality american jobs by providing key commitments to maintain the letter and the spirit of the renewable fuel standard. and today i want to thank you again on behalf of iowa's farmers and rural communities. all of these actions have created certainty, they've kick started economic growth and generated countless jobs across the country. your back to basics approach has helped iowa's unemployment rate
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dip below 3% for the first time since the year 2000. so thank you for that. during a more recent trip to iowa on december 1, you noted that epa was actively exploring whether it possessed legal authority to issue a nationwide rvp, or read vapor pressure waiver. three months ago you sent a , letter to a group of senators, myself included, stating you would look at ways epa could fix the restriction, preventing e-15 being sold during summer months. can you give me an update on where this stands and do you today have clarification on whether or not the agency can extend the rvp waiver to ensure our consumers have year-round access? >> senator, thank you for the comments. with respect to the rvp issue, as you know it is not a policy policy issued. it is determination about legal authority whether it can be granted nationally or not.
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it is my understanding senator fisher actually has some proposed legislation. >> she does. >> we talked about that. but the process internally to determine legal authority continues. i am hopeful we will have conclusion on that soon. made a second trip to iowa, fourth quarter last year, shared that with stakeholders there. very important. we are working to get an answer as soon as we can. >> do you have projected time frame? >> we don't play with get it to you. i will get a follow-up from this meeting and provide it to you. that will be very important to us as we move through a lot of discussions between the consumers, and those producing e-15 and those in the administration. we look forward to having that answer soon. last august while you were in des moines, you also touched on the potential benefit of moving federal agencies or various departments out of washington, d.c., and into the countryside and across the country where an
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agency's decisions are actually felt. this could be a relatively simple way to shift economic activity to hard pressed communities and prevent harmful rules and regulations from even being considered. with a more decentralized epa, do you feel misguided policies such as wotus could have been prevented and do you support relocating government functions outside of the washington, d.c. metro area?
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>> well, senator, and mr. chairman, and others, this is an important question with respect to how we do business and deliver services as an agency. about half our employees are located in ten regions across the country, and half of in washington, d.c. one of the things that we ought to engage in as far as collaborative discussion is whether it makes sense to locate operational units in each of the state capitals to ensure there's focus on issues specific to the state, super fund, air issues, water issues, the rest. i really believe this is a discussion, we have just begun this discussion internally. i would welcome the input of members of this committee as well as congress on what makes sense there as relates to better delivering services across the states and the country. >> and i appreciate that so much, administrator. and i do believe having that easier access, access closest to the people is the best way our federal government can work. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair. >> senator duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i hope, administrator pruitt, you would then continue to reconsider to shutdown of epa office in chicago region five which is i believe a memo stating that you wanted to shut, potentially shut down that office moving to kansas, leaving no epa offices in the midwest, great lakes region. that's good news. >> that's inaccurate. >> i hope it stays inaccurate.
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that you don't shut down that office. >> where did you get that? >> from a memo from the epa. last month, house and energy commerce committee, regarding lead in drinking water, it is one of the greatest environmental threats i think we face as a country. you have repeatedly referenced your war on lead and said you wanted to eradicate lead poisoning in the next ten years which was music to my ears. , during your nomination hearing, i asked if you knew what the safe lead level was for children. you stated at the time that you were not familiar with the latest science on that exposure. given your comments on your war on lead, i take it since then you familiarized yourself with safe blood lead exposure is for children. can you state for the record what that level is? >> epa has a level of 15 parts per billion. there are states considering lowering that. from my perspective, senator, as i indicated, i don't think there's a safe level and we need to eradicate it from the drinking water.
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>> right answer is zero according to scientific literature. wonderful if you can take what your opinion is and apply it at epa. i am glad you reviewed the science and literature since we last spoke. a year ago when we last saw you in committee, you said you didn't know. unfortunately your rhetoric doesn't match your actions the last several months. the administration took several steps that make it harder, not easier to limit lead exposure. for example, the epa planned to update lead and copper rule in 2017 and finalize it in 2018 under the obama administration. since taking over as administrator, you have instead decided to kick the can down the road by at least two years and now during the war on lead, we can expect updates to the rule not in 2018 but 2020. this doesn't sound much like a war on lead. yes or no, will you direct epa to finalize this rule in 2018 instead of waiting two years as recently announced?
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>> senator, i think as you know it is 1991 lead and copper rule. >> no, yes or no? yes or no. >> mr. chairman. >> i am happy for you to elaborate in writing for the record, i just don't have much time. is that all right, mr. chairman, if you would elaborate for the record? >> we will take this as a question for response. it is. >>it is. and the agency has been working for a decade to update the rule, senator. i can tell you it is a priority for this administration. >> then it to have in your delay is not acceptable. every day i have children who are exposed to lead and they don't have 700 days to wait. the president's fy-18 budget proposal that outlines the ten year policy priorities called for elimination of epa's lead risk reduction program that trains contractors and educates the public about safely removing lead paint from homes.
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the budget in reality also cuts millions of dollars in grant money to states and tribes to address lead risk. this does not sound like a war on lead. again given your war on lead, , your words, yes or no, will you commit to prioritizing this program and make sure it is fully funded? >> we are working to update lead and copper rule expeditiously. we are working with this body on eradicating lead from drinking water. >> what about the program that the president attempts to cut in the fy 18 budget? actually eliminates. >> it is a point of emphasis to update the rules and take aggressive posture to eradicate lead. >> you will not fight to keep the lead risk reduction program is what you're saying? >> i didn't say that, senator. >> so you will fight to keep the program as opposed to the president's budget which seeks to eliminate it? >> we will continue discussions with this body properly funded as you decide. >> will you speak with the president and say don't cut this program?
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his budget eliminates it. >> as you know, your marked up version of the budget is $7.9 billion. that's not in the marked up budget. >> you're not going to fight for the epa lead risk reduction program, for something that's a priority for you, war on lead, get rid of it in ten years. not enough to fight for it. >> we will work on that, yes. >> i am also alarmed to see the trump budget slashes funding for the office of ground and drinking water, responsible for implementing lead in drinking water program. how about this for priority? will you prioritize this program to ensure it is fully funded? the ground and drinking water program, office of ground and drinking water. surely the office of ground and drinking water is consistent to back to basics vision for epa. >> very important. we will continue the dialogue with congress on that issue. >> what about the white house? will you fight for this program? >> i will continue to work with this body. i have to take that as a no, >> because you're not answering the question. i'm out of time.
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i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you. i get the impression they don't like you. >> at least one. >> anyway, you have been doing a great job. i have something for the record i want to put in, mr. chairman, and that is an article out of the oklahoman, and talks about all of the improvements in the economy that are coming with getting rid of some of the punitive regulations we have been going through. i ask this be made part of the record. >> without objection. >> mr. chairman, i ask consent to insert into the record a report from moody's which suggests something a bit different. thank you. >> without objection. ok. >> in walked in at the tail end of somebody else that is not here now inquisition of you, and talking about the regulations. i remember it so well, i was all
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during the obama administration, i was either the chairman or ranking member of this committee, and sat behind you and used to look at what was happening to our economy, which is in the process of being reversed now. but he is implying that some of the poorest, most vulnerable people are the ones being -- that we're trying somehow or you're trying somehow to punish, and i want to remind you that we had a guy, i remember so well, harry alfred, president of national black chamber of commerce. he provided some of the most powerful testimony that i've ever heard when it comes to the effects of the clean power plan and other regulations, but he was referring specifically to that, would have on black and hispanic poverty, increased -- including job losses and increased energy costs when it comes to regulations that you have been quoted as saying.
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and who benefits? the elite. the folks that can least afford those kind of decisions pay the most. i ask you, how is the epa working to ensure the most vulnerable communities are being considered and that the agency's cost benefit calculations accurately portray realities on the ground? >> well, senator, good morning to you. i think your question goes to the heart of cost of electricity largely, and our power grid and there are issues around that that go to cost. we can't consider cost, but we can other provisions, to impact cost of electricity. we endeavor to make sure the cost benefit analysis is considerate of those things an that we make important consideration as we finalize rules. >> he was very emphatic as to who is paying the price on these. i think sometimes that previous administration forgot that those
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individuals -- there are people out there paying all they can to try to eat and keep their house warm. that's one of the things that we have observed. i was happy to see you ended the practice of sue and settle. oklahoma has been on the wrong end of this tactic used by the obama administration which was nothing more than a way to create regulations behind closed doors without public input or even input from effected parties. can you explain more how you see this being a positive environmental outcome? >> the sue and settle practice i mentioned in opening comment, senator, with respect to regulation through litigation, it is something that's not unique to the epa. it is something that's happened at other federal agencies, justice is also involved in reform effort there. i think what's important to note as we engage in regulation, regulation is intended to be laws of general applicability. you go know litigation, one
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party that effects others, that's not transparency and not fundamental to epa and open process to rule making. that was the motivation in addressing this phenomenon, and we stopped it at the agency. that doesn't mean we won't enter into consent decrees or settle cases. it means as we do it, we publish the settlements up to 30 days to provide comment, and interested parties that want to be aware of that can be aware of it and participate as necessary. >> mr. pruitt, i wasn't here during opening statement, so i missed that. that's a very good explanation. in an interview last month, you stated we still have a lot of work to do on clean air, but that was for the last decade. the epa was so focused on co2 that we let a lot of other things slide. for my view as ranking member of the committee for the obama
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administration, i agree with you that his singular focus on naturally occurring gas as pal -- as a pollutant came of a heavy cost to what areas of environmental protection were neglected by the previous administration? do any come to mind? >> the containment issue, we have 40% roughly of the country in areas that don't meet air quality standards. about 120 million people. as i look at the investment, counties making decisions, collecting data, lot of times we use model data opposed to monitor data for cost issue. has we talk about the budget through our process, i think it is important to look at ways to help states and counties put more monitors in place, to get real-time data to ensure we make real time decisions with air quality. that's something i would like to work with congress to achieve. >> right now, i am chairing senate armed services committee, and i'll have to get back to
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that. i appreciate the fact that you're here. why in the world did you agree to two and a half hours? >> that's an end point. possibly will be done before that, senator. if you have a chance to come back. >> senator, you used to blame ryan jackson for a few things, i'll do the same. >> senator whitehouse. >> will be get further than i did. [laughter] >> thank you, chairman. mr. pruitt, welcome to the committee. let me start by asking unanimous consent to put three documents in the record. one is a report entitled "abandoning science advice by the center for science and democracy," and with it two internal documents from the epa that chronicle how political appointees are stacking the scientific advisory committees with industry representatives, in this case the clean air scientific advisory committee. without objection.
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>> thank you. mr. pruitt, you were confirmed about a year ago in february. and about a year before that in february of 2016 you went on a radio talk show at a radio station called kfaq in tulsa. the show's host is a man named pat campbell. i don't know if you remember that. >> i appeared on that program a few times. i don't know the particular program you're referencing. >> the reason i mention it is that we have a transcript of the interview that you provided and i don't know if this is what you had in mind when you said you were interested in reaching common ground, but i can assure you there are great many americans who share the concerns
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that you expressed in that interview. the first one is this one. you told mr. campbell, "i believe that donald trump in the white house would be more abusive to the constitution than barack obama." and that's saying a lot. do you recall saying that? >> i don't, senator. >> would you -- >> i don't echo that at all. >> given your comments about hubris -- i'm having technical difficulties. anyway that was one statement. then the interview continued, and mr. campbell said the following.
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"everything that we loathe and detest about barack obama and the abuses of power, donald trump is the same thing, except he's our bully." your answer to that? "that's right." as the interview continued, mr. campbell talked about his dad who was as i recall from the interview was a veteran and was now elderly and served our country, and mr. campbell said "i had a conversation with my dad not long ago," and you went on to say he summed up donald trump in one word. he said, this is mr. campbell, referring to his dad, he said dangerous.
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"he's dangerous." you said, "you know, your dad is very astute." we're going to hear from the president tonight. i think the president is going to be speaking to a country in which millions of people share your concerns of february 4, 2016. about a president to you believed then would be abusive to the constitution, a bully, and dangerous. in my minute remaining, i would like to ask you about your schedule because you have an unusual propensity for not releasing what's going on on your schedule. i direct you to friday, may 5, when you spent the day in tulsa, oklahoma.
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that night, you were scheduled to give a keynote address at a fundraiser for the oklahoma republican party. because of the hatch act, you cancelled that event. you're not allowed to go and do fundraising for parties in the position that you are in. that was the original reason for your trip to tulsa that day. the only thing that shows on your schedule for that day is lunch with a guy named sam wabe. -- sam wade. seems to me like it is an awful long way to go at taxpayer expense to tulsa for lunch with one guy. could you please let us know what all else you did that day, specifically did you go to the oklahoma republican party fundraiser? and because my time is up, that can be a question for the record. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i have a letter that the arkansas department of
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environmental quality sent me yesterday in support of epa recent decision to approve arkansas's revised regional haze state implementation plan. "arkansas and plots that show applauds fostering increased cooperation with states to achieve environmental goals in a sensible, practical manner. i would like unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> mr. ministry at her i was , happy to see the epa approved arkansas revisions to the implementation plan. many in arkansas are thrilled that we now have an epa willing to listen to the states, decided -- and excited to proceed to the goal of improving air quality. in the past, we've had a situation where the epa wanted
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to hear input, as long as the state agreed with them. if not, they got themselves in trouble. can you explain your approach to cooperative federalism and change we're seeing in that regard? >> i think, senator, with respect to regional haze program, i appreciate your comments. arkansas worked diligently to submit a plan approvable under the statute. i think that would be something i would highlight for you. the agency needs to take more proactive approach to states to recognize their expertise and resources at the local level to achieve those outcomes and help , provide clarity and timing as far as getting it done. in the past we had an effort of displacing authority and issuing federal plans at the expense of the state plans. i think the opposite should be true. we should work with the states, let them adopt plans particular to the issues they face and provide the type of support that helps them achieve that.
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>> good. you're working well with the states in that regard. what else since your confirmation have you done to reach out to other stakeholders? >> i think one of the things that's different, dnrs, departments of environmental quality vary by state but their interaction with governors is different. we worked diligently with governors, democrat and republican governors to ensure the issues they face they're , aware of the issues from our perspective. we're learning from them, making sure that their respective executive branch agencies are working with us to achieve that . it is an effort to work with governors in addition to the agency partners we worked with for years. >> very good. spent a lot offt resources selling a narrative that you locked career employees out of meetings, don't he their
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input considering the direction of the epa. --hese allegations accurate are these allegations accurate? >> they are inaccurate. heard, the things i've i'm very encouraged for people to take notes during meetings. i forget things often and we want to keep track of where were heading on issues. i'm not sure those things came from. >> again, these false claims, what does that do for morale in the office? >> we have a lot of work to do. a lot of opportunities to do good things. we tried to stay focused on that. i try to stay focused myself. yesterday we had our fcs conference. i talked about establishing goals and tricks, celebrating successes. for too long the agency has not been willing to state goals. i think that is something both
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in water space and program offices we need to be better at. >> i would like to just reinforce senator in half's -- inhof's discussion. can you tell us how that is actually helping the environment versus hurting the environment and getting rid of that? >> when you enter in a negotiation through litigation and a consent degree comes out that is not involved voices from across the country, is short shrift did. there have been examples were states have endeavored to intervene and have been denied. an agreement is reached and forth upon this states. get subverted the voices of stakeholders at the state level. that is not a good way of doing business >> think very much. >> senator markey. >> >> thank you, mr. chairman
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very much. answer you did not epator copper on whether performed an analysis of the health impacts of your decision last week to allow significantly more amounts of extremely dangerous pollutants to be put into our air. your decision means that industrial facilities like power plants, chemical factories, hazardous-waste incinerators will no longer be required to use state-of-the-art technology. the gold standard to reduce harmful emissions. they should be a very simple answer. there are 187 dangerous pollutants covered by this policy that you have rolled back. let's just go through a few of these. arsenic. do you believe more arsenic
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pollution is harmful to the public? >> yes. >> do you believe more mercury pollution is harmful to the public? >> i do. >> do you believe more lead pollution is harmful to the public health? >> yes, senator. >> do you believe more benzene pollution is harmful to the public health? >> yes, sir. >> your decision allows more of these pollutants, more of these toxins to go into the atmosphere, to go into the air, into the water, into the environment. children will be exposed to these pollutants. seniors will be exposed to these pollutants. we should have a gold standard of pollution control in this country. that is what the epa should ensure is on the books, but you are going to replace the gold
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standard,ith a lead and that will not be good for the health of the children in our country. the president has a slogan of maga, but here it will mean make arsenic great again. this is not good for our country. it is not where we should be heading. that decision is historically bad one. i urge you to reconsider it immediately. on the question of fuel economy standards, you say you are reviewing them right now. to senator copper. the head of epa's dear office airntly said that -- office said he has no wish to -- or make public policy standpoint, the best outcome for all of us to achieve is one national program.
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you agree with that? >> one national program is essential. >> one national program is essential. do you support once again the maintenance to retention of the california waiver, which massachusetts uses and many other states also use? >> california, there are ongoing discussions in california. the agency that oversees these matters, and it is our hope we can come to a resolution as we visit about the standards. in april of this year senator, federalism dissolving one state can dictate for the rest of the country. that we recognize california's special status and we are working with them to find a consensus around these issues. >> massachusetts is part of that waiver, as our mistakes of many members of this committee. we want to retain that ability to have the highest standards possible. yes, we do what it is
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harmonization. epaappened under the obama and department of transportation, but we are increasingly fearful there will be a rollback of the fuel economy standard. one thing ever like you to keep in mind, we still import 3 million barrels of oil a day from saudi arabia, libya, kuwait, iraq, quatar. we should not be importing oil from these countries if we can increase our fuel economy standards. fracking is reducing power dependence, but so is the fuel economy standards. we can't have no retreat because we are sending young men and women in uniform over to the middle east to continue to protect that oil coming in from the middle east.
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we have a moral responsibility to put the fuel economy standards of our vehicles at the highest possible level. i just want the epa and the trump administration to understand these young men and women are over there, not exclusively, but in part in order to protect a supply of oil. we will never be energy independent. we will never produce all the oil we need in our country. at 10 million barrels a day, 13 million barrels a day we are still consuming 20 million barrels a day. fuel economy standards back out 2.5 million barrels a day. we should honor that commitment and you should honor what massachusetts and california and the other states want. >> i think the issue you raise is important, but also the harmonization with dot. there are joint equities between d.o.t. and epa. we are working diligently to harmonize these efforts and provide clarity on these issues. it is federalism.
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it is also interagency at the federal level. >> the most important equities are these young men and women. just ensure the standards. >> unanimous consent. submit for the record mr. chairman, regional record. bush regional office concerns stated several years ago with air and toxic rollback. >> thank you senator carper. i would like to respond to comments on the once in, always in policy. in 2017, connecticut supported the epa's decision to withdraw the policies. the city of connecticut said, "such a policy discourages pollution prevention efforts and often forces business owners with very small actual hazardous pollutant emissions to expand significant resources not consistent with air admission and health benefits achieved.
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state and federal regulatory agencies also must expend significant resources on compliance and enforcement efforts for these facilities with small actual emissions, often gaining little in air quality improvement." the entire statement be included in the record. >> if i could just say you would be interesting to know the current governor of connecticut shares those same issues. >> administrator pruitt, we served together for the last two years on the subcommittee with oversight of the epa. one of the items i think we would both agree on, coming from political approaches, was the idea that sound finance of the critical in our discussions. i would like to go back a little bit. we had senator markey make his statements and express his concerns for the existing gold standard.
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i did not hear the opportunity for you to respond and to share your thoughts on this. i would like to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts and perhaps analysis on the decision you made and the reasoning behind it. >> thank you, senator. i think the chairman made reference with his comments. once in, always in decision was really about incentivizing investment by companies to achieve better outcomes. entities, and all the policy says is these major emitters make investments to achieve air quality or whatever the objective is. if they meet the standards, they ought to the -- all to be rewarded. if your company and you invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve outcomes, you ought to be considered a minor emitter.
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this rewards conductivity better outcomes. my response to you with respect to all those pollutants is absolutely what i believe. we can achieve better outcomes for this kind of policy by rewarding investment and encouraging companies to do that. >> i would like to take another step with that. we had discussion about the need to return back. many of us feel in some cases on either side of the aisle we either win or lose one more information is interjected. i think we take our chances and look at the best science available to us. would you explain the steps you take to make sure the agency decision-making is based on the most current, best available science? can you elaborate how your new guidance and the role of scientific advisory board is a conflict of interest will enhance the use of sound science at the agency? >> as you are aware we had 22
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advisory committees at the agency. thence advisory board, board of scientific counselors. members of those committees historically have been able to deathwhile the preceding while receiving grants and and defendant counsel under the statute to the agency as far as rulemaking. that is something for my perspective that is not consistent with providing independence. if there is oversight responsibility with those members that serve on those committees at the same time they are rendering council on the others, we established a policy if you want to receive a grant providing help to the agency on that side of the ledger, if you continue, or continue serving as a member of the committee but you can't do both. that goes to the independence with respect to integrity of the process. that was the heart of the policy initiative we adopted. ♪ there has been a lot of
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discussion back and forth on biofuels and items like that. i have focused on south dakota. corn ethanol is a critical part of our economic activity. we think we have a long term opportunity to add corn ethanol is very valuable octane enhancer with regard to liquid fuels. i am curious. i think it is item i suspect he spent time on it regard to all those issues. i would like your thoughts. re: reasonable in a discussion long-term about the viability and the need for octane enhancements with regard to feel standards and so forth coming-of-age? it to thees a lot of question the senator race on fuel efficiency standards and cafe review. the agency has long not been considering the fuel side as far as have to achieve better outcomes. europe has look at that extensively. we have not.
1:53 pm designer as we go through the process we are in fact looking at those kinds of issues. >> that includes the ability and the most efficient ways of delivering octane from any one of a number of different sources , including ethanol? >> we are agnostic about the source to it is about the high-octane approach generally. >> senator merkley. >>, thank you, mr. chairman. during the time you have a director the agency has taken 15 actions related to air quality. 15 of those diminish your quality and zero improve air quality. i heard from you quite a bit today about your interest in air quality the right now you are zero for 15. is how many of those 15 actions were supported by the american lung association, which
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is been making air quality in significant parts of its efficacy effort? >> i'm not sure. >> it is zero. those 15 actions have the minister quality. how many have been supported by the american academy td efforts question -- academy of pediatrics? >> i'm not sure. >> if i was giving you advice, i would say run the agency to improve air quality rather than to diminish it in areas such as ozone and smog and methane and mercury and the list goes on and on. implementing the 2015 standard as we speak. on methane have indicated -- >> i will have you submit your extensive answer for the record because a it are good at filibustering, but we would like to cover as much material as possible. delayed defending and
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complying with the ozone rule on april 7, 2017. let's turn to asbestos. you answered there were a number of items you thought did not contribute to help when you increase the amount of pollution . how about asbestos? does it contribute to americans health? >> no. it is something we ought to see to do all we can to eradicate. >> thank you. that really is supported by the scientists. the centers for disease control reports malignant mesothelioma is -- exposure to his best us. it makes sense you have that position. patients have a median survival of one year from the time of diagnosis. thehis particular area president has been very clear about his position, which is the opposite of your position. i want to be clear. you disagree with the president asb he says as best as --
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estos is 100% safe? >> we are working through those challenges. >> i'm asking if you agree or disagree when he says it is 100% safe. >> it is one of the priority chemicals we are reviewing with effective toxic programs. >> in that regard, there is a group that is a major importer of asbestos. it is seeking an exemption from the asbestos standard. are you going to grant an exemption for the group that imports 95% of asbestos? >> that is something i would have to look into. i'm not familiar with the status at this time. -- theeptually you agree standard does not mean much of 95% of imports is exempted from the standard. >> as i indicated i will have to
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check on the status and report back to you. >> i encourage you to look at canada and brazil, which it reached the logical conclusion that it is hazardous. they have banned it. there is an emphasis at the epa now to only look at the production of new items that them, whiles in ignoring with already in the environment and causing significant problems because it frays and causes contamination. permit best commit to taking on -- commit to taking on asbestos with imported and existing asbestos? >> the legacy issues you make reference to its very important.
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report noted although it is one of the priority chemicals, that it in nine other priority chemicals are being slow walked through the agency. are you slow walking the priority for americans? >> no, senator. we had obligations to adopt rules consistent with implementation. we have added resources in the office to backlog the chemical review. it has been an absolute priority in our first year. >> outside observers are finding the opposite, so i get details from you showing in fact you are working hard. this is a singular bipartisan a comp is -- a cop which meant of this committee to get it passed. >> senator van hollen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the exchange you had with senator cardin on the chesapeake bay.
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i'm hoping you will prevail upon the administration to put the $73 million or more in for the -- bay you would agree is important that epa's decisions be made based on the facts, be based on merit, be based on the law and not on politics? >> absolutely senator. we have to build a record. the record is based -- >> in your procurement, dear contracts, would you not agree any city based on the law and not politics? >> it disturbed me to find this report back in december. it was headlined, epa contractor spent has the are scouring the agency for anti-trump officials. in exchange with one of my
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colleagues on the republicans who asked you about epa employees and morale, you said you did not think there was any reason for bad morale. are you familiar with this article? >> i am not, senator. >> you should be. senator whitehouse and senator harris have written you a letter about it. you have not responded. with the article stated was that the epa contract with an entity called diviners public affairs. >> i am familiar with a clipping service that we have. >> that's right. the cofounders, the clipping service are both well-known republican operatives. and they got a no-bid contract. can you commit to the committee that you will be responding to the letters from senators on this committee regarding what happened in this case?
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>> yes, yes. it is my understanding that the contract is actually $87,000 yes for what had been paid the year before. >> yes. is this appropriate that the entity was doing searches on epa employees to determine whether or not they were "part of the resistance?" >> i am not familiar with that happening, but the contract has been terminated. we will provide additional information to you. >> at caught my eye because it was in connection with something and ir cardin raised, appreciate you mentioning the decision to end the contract for journal,chesapeake bay being reconsidered. it should not have gotten to this point, and it worries me as a window onto politics of the nation -- politicalization of the epa in this memo. what happened in this case was that it was shortly after the bay journal published an article -- there are lots of articles and opinion pieces.
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published an they article questioning and criticizing administration's environmental issues, including climate change on the impact it could have the chesapeake bay. i incurred you to go to the naval academy, because there they talk about the risks of rising sea level in annapolis on their operations there around the world. wrote this,journal had a piece in there, and it was shortly after that that the contract was terminated, despite a good performance review from epa in april. and the retired head of the bay program, just earlier this month, in an interview said it was politics that killed the funding for the bay journal. have you looked into this issue at all? >> as i shared with your
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colleague about this, it is something under reconsideration, and we are familiar with it at this point and are taking steps to address it. ask senator cardin and i wrote this issue in october. we would appreciate a written response. in an exchange that the folks at the bay journal had with the epa folks making the decisions, specifically john, your assistant, administrator of a public affairs, reportedly said the following. everybody knows that the american public doesn't trust the press, and he saw no reason for us to fund the bay journal." is that a position the epa takes regarding its review of contract like this? >> i have indicated, senator, that the contract is under reconsideration and we will deal with it fairly. >> i understand, but you understand this is now under
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litigation? my concern is a broader issue. we should never have gotten to this point. we should never have gotten to the point where the epa is making politically driven decisions on contracts, where ever onpreviously political grounds. this is one where the epa had found them to be in full performance. i hope you will work with us to get all the documents regarding this decision. it is a small contract. it is meaningful to the bay journal, which assembles a lot of this information, but i am most worried about it, also in combination with other stories inut political decisions contracting coming out of the epa. mr. chairman, i hope we agree on a bipartisan basis that no be basing its decision on politics. again, i appreciate your review of this decision, but we really need to get to the bottom of how it happened so there is integrity in the process. thank you, senator sullivan?
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>> thank you, mr. chairman, and administrator pruitt, good to see you. i hear it has been going great. it is good to have you here on a regular basis, so we appreciate that. i also appreciate the meeting and id senator whitehouse had recently. i am not sure if you mentioned it -- he mentioned it. aam actually serious, we had very good meeting in your office, the three of us and our staffs. it is great to see senator van hollen here on a committee that gets a lot of stuff done. we welcome him. i do want to mention on the issue of marine debris that you and senator whitehouse and i want to look we do at opportunities for the epa, in and othero noaa federal agencies to play an important role on that. is a very strong -- there is
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a lot of strong bipartisan support on this issue, which is a huge environmental issue, and it impacts my state, rhode island, not just states with coastlines, but every state in the country. follow-uphad a lot of from our meeting, but i --reciate working with me you working with me and senator whitehouse on that. i also appreciate -- at the outset, the chairman had mentioned something's -- some things you had done, your views on the rule of process, which i think is important. you made some statements, and i think you are focused a lot on that process. here onthe complaints this side, the vast majority of the states in america, democrat and republican led state imposed this role -- 30 states sued the federal government. there was no process. that was a huge federal overreach, and i appreciate you
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drawing that back. you have the support of the vast majority of states and american citizens on that one, and i want to thank you on that. i want to mention another one that is important to me, and i'm glad you highlighted it too, actually, in your opening testimony. you mentioned lead in regard to water infrastructure, water and sewer, and i think that is important. i think you can get a lot of bipartisan support on that. but i want to remind you though -- and we have talked about it a lot -- after the flint, michigan scandal, really occurred, we began to talk about how we need to address aging infrastructure. my own view is we need to address communities that have no like overture first, 30 communities in alaska that don't have water and sewer systems, that do not have clean water, that still use what are called honey buckets, which
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do not smell good. they do not smell like honey. it is american citizens removing their own human waste from their house because they do not have sewer systems, and putting them in a lagoon. american citizens. it is a disgrace. he passed a bill, a bipartisan bill last year, last congress in its committee, and significantly advances funding for that, for communities that do not have water and sewer in america? in america. my constituents. i want your support on that. can you comment on that? i want to get to that before you get to the lead issue. is a disgrace. no american citizen shall live in a community where it is essentially like a third world country. >> senator, this goes to part of the president of the infrastructure proposal. you are aware, 25% of the money that is part of the infrastructure package is going to go to rural communities
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across the country, and i think water infrastructure is terribly important, as you have identified. i think the opportunity we have is go through the first and second quarter of this year and hopefully address the issues in that package. in respect to lead, it is also an infrastructure issue. those rural communities that even have it also needs upgrades -- need upgrades and corrosion control efforts. >> to touch on another 1 -- i would like to be able to work with you and your team, and issue you raised here, on-demand mines.ds -- on abandoned and it is not just abandoned mines in america. we have a significant challenge with our good neighbors to the north, not really to my north, they are actually to my state's , where there are transboundary mines that impact the waters and fishing and
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tourism of southeast alaska. these are mines that are in canada, some of which are abandoned, some of which have recently had huge spills, like the amount polly mine -- the -- pollyly mine in british columbia. i want to me to talk about this issue and others, but having the full weight of the federal government, the state department, and the epa helping us on this would be perfect --canada has not acted like a good neighbor on this. and they have legitimate concerns. if i can get your commitment to help me and my state in regards to not just abandoned mines, because i think it is a great topic to focus on, but transboundary mining in canada, which negatively
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impacts and has the potential to negatively impact clean water in america. >> yes, we should work with ambassador craft as well on this issue. we have similar challenges on the southern border in tijuana and california, in respect to water and sewage issues in mexico. we have some very important boundary issues, air and water, our we need to focus o neighbors to improve outcomes. >> we will now move on to a two minute round of questioning. senator cardin will be first, but if you want to really wish your time, call in senator whitehouse. xl will try to be -- >> i will .ry to be as quick as i can you mentioned the day you were going down to speak to the republican fundraiser in oklahoma, do you recall if you actually went to that? >> i did not attend.
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i perceived in ethics review of that, and i was authorized to go. but when the event was publicized, they did it incorrectly. >> would you tell us what you actually did that day? >> unblocked my schedule. >> unredacted. >> that is some thing i will cordon it with this body. why you woulde block out most of your schedule when all we have is the lunch. for go >> the day could have been in -- rescheduled entirely. >> but it is redacted and blacked out, so we do not see that. i would appreciate that. the second thing is i had a request in to you regarding the who weretists instructed not to speak and then withdrew themselves from the speaking role at the americans that they conference -- at the
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bay conference? it kicked up a fuss in my area, and a national fuss as well, a case of was scientists being told not to speak about something may have worked on for years. what you answered in response to our questions about that was "this will not happen again." i am delighted this will not happen again. and i think you're right, it should not happen again. what we have not been given is any explanation as to how it happened. who told whom what? i do not know why this is hard to get an answer, but will you guarantee that you will tell us how that happened? give us an actual explanation, looking back, and why this happened, who told whom what, what were the email chains and what was the story? >> in the response to your other question, i'm advised buy staff that they communicated to your office they did not -- that i did not attend that event.
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soft -- ke that as a >> i will take that as a soft yes. testimony, administrator, you have highlighted how epa is committed to removing regulation that is strangling job growth and regulation. i hear this from businesses and manufacturers who are experiencing now tremendous growth as a direct result from undoing some of those burdensome regulations. how will the epa continue to path forward by continuing to return power to the states and maintaining this economic roast trend? >> -- growth trend? >> from rule of law, process, and federalism. that is not just a obligatory to say that, it is essential to how we do business. we adopt rules that are untethered to statutes. that means there is uncertainty.
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most of the folks across the country that are regulated want to know what is expected of them, that it is grounded in statutes that you have passed, and they can allocate resources to achieve those outcomes. those are very important principles, fundamental principles to achieve clarity, certainty, confidence in that what we are doing is well grounded in both science and the law, and they can take confidence in our actions. >> and in the remaining 45 seconds, i would like to allow you that time to answer any questions that maybe you did not have enough time to answer? >> overall, sometimes on these issues around the environment, these are passionate issues on both rights. that is the reason i keep talking about civility and talking about this approach to doing business that tries to find a pro-jobs and a pro-environment combination. we do not have to choose between the two, and we have always done that well. we do not celebrate our success enough. we have reduced the pollutants under the clean air act that we regulate under the national air wally program by overs --
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quality program by over 65%. we have reduced our co2 as a country by over 14% from the years 2000 to 2014. and it is largely civilian technology, but it is a partnership. it is an approach that we as a country are setting a pace. it is striking the balance between a growing economy and protecting our environment. ofng the stewards our environment. >> thank you for your partnership. ?> senator merkley ac -- senator duckworth, you are next, i apologize. .> thank you, mr. chairman mr. pruitt, i'm holding a memorandum from the epa dated march 21, after you were confirmed as its head. like to cement this? >> without objection. fy 2018 policy
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budget and final resource decisions? it communicates guidance to support the environmental and protection agencies -- in it, it lakesates the great restoration program, numerous programs that we talked about, including my previous mentioning of the statement about shutting down epa office region five as a , is a costnce avoidance measure. region 1, 5, and nine. you might want to make yourself familiar with this particular memorandum, as it is being submitted to the record. i would like to go back to your travel, mr. pruitt. you have taken at least four foreign trips, including a trip to morocco at a cost to taxpayers of $40,000,
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where according to the fourngton post, you spent days promoting the sale of american natural gas. while your home state of oklahoma is the third-largest producer of natural gas in the country, i do not understand what that has to do with the epa's mission? this is inconsistent with your claim to bring back the basics to the vision of epa. natural gas is under the jurisdiction of the u.s. apartment of energy, and promotion of natural gas is the kind of thing that the secretary , or perhapsuld do someone running for governor of oklahoma or some other electorate office there, but not consistent with what the head of the epa should be doing. committee,ovide this yes or no, with 80 detailed schedule of your meetings and receipt for international travel you have taken since he confirmed? >> yes, because it will show i have attended two countries, not four. >> the last two were canceled, the pan and israel during the shutdown.
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and can i -- japan and israel during the shutdown. >> and can i assure you you did find africa to be a shithole when you visited? >> the time has expired. >> i am concerned about the levels of the toxic pfoa through new york state. a half ago,year and congress granted epa the authority to regulate the safety of chemicals with the revised toxic substance control act. congress instructed the epa to consider the risks from of all of the uses of a toxin that are to be used,known manufactured, distributed, or disposed of." despite congress's direction, those rules ignored the public's
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exposure to the past uses of chemicals, called legacy uses. however, legacy uses pose risks to public health because the manufacturing and disposal of those chemicals can contaminate groundwater syria to this means that epa will not likely study the remedy -- sorry. page two. it's on the back. my question. this means that epa would likely not study the health risks from widespread exposure to chemicals toscafoa under the law. this cannot be consistent with an agency that mission. cleartempt to ignore the
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communication of congress is not consistent with that agency's mission. would you direct the epa to comply with congress's direction that all uses of a chemical, including legacy uses, are studied? to look atoing foreseeable uses, as you have indicated, and i'm very pfoa, which have not been manufactured or distributed since the early 2000. so all of them are legacy issues. we are going to focus on that. >> on the hudson river specifically, i would like to begin by saying that i was very glad to hear of yesterday's announcement that the epa's broader earning -- is broadening the scope of the hudson river cleanup to assess the impact of contamination on the lower hudson. as you know, the epa is currently in the process of finalizing the five-year review that it am and the effectiveness .f dredging
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sorry, i am so awkward today. , for removing pcbs from the hudson river. while the remedy is not currently protective of the human health and environment, no removal is needed, even though restrictions on consumption from fish from the river are excited to remain for 50 years. they strongly disagree with this analysis. will you incorporate the new sampling data in this five-year review analysis? removing are -- we are -- reviewing samples as we speak. a chemicaltually found in the floodplain, in the 40 miles that has already been dredged, so there is much work left to be done before we get clarity on that issue. >> and will you personally review the file report before it
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is released to the public to make sure all of the concerns raised are fully address? yes, i will. >> in december, epa real estate least of 21 superfund sites that need immediate intense action. not a single one of the sites on the list is in new york state, despite the fact there are sitestly 86 super front in our state. epa has offered no detailed explanation that how it arrived to this list. and it is also saying that when a freedom of information request act was filed, asking for documents related to the superfund tax force -- tax force , the answer -- task force, the answer was that none of these documents existed except the final one, which is not true. we produce all the documents related as to how the epa released their recommendations in 15 business days? >> we will
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give them to you by the end of the week. >> great. given your focus on an interest in superfund sites, do you believe it is wise to cut the budget for epa's superfund program? >> with respect to the budgeting tocess, i have made it clear this body and the house that we will continue to work with you to make sure that priorities are funded. i am concerned about the superfund portfolio. i think there are greater challenges beyond money, but money matters to our success in that response ability. we will continue the discussion with you. >> thank you. is interesting -- there was a full-page article in the washington post friday, january 20 6, 2018 about going through the work that the administrator is doing with regard to the superfund's, was kind of the maps of a before and after, and how they were basically talking about the exceptionally good job that is being done by the administrator of the epa. i do not know if you have seen
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that article, but i recommend it to you. >> in that regard, the sites that we highlighted in the last year were not meant to be exclusive. those are sites that we see immediate progress can be made within a timeframe. that list will continue to be populated with new sites. it is not an exclusionary list at all. it was a matter of providing focus to our land and emergency management office on getting achievement in those respective areas. >> can i ask unanimous consent to submit for the record superfund materials, including several news articles about epa's superfund activities, including an article that found that the majority of the superfund cleanups touted by mr. was the work of the obama administration. chairman. mr. >> without objection, i smith this article.
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-- submit this article. >> thank you, mr. chairman. since in the other committee we were not able to be here during this time, there were a couple of things you did not have ample time to respond, and there were two questions i was going to ask. since i did not get a chance to , and these were the subject matter you did not have time to respond to. you have been vocal about the differences of the epa being about stewardship versus prohibition. we have been through prohibition -- what is the difference and how are you moving epa from a policy of prohibition to stewardship? something the american people and this body, as we do our work, we need to wrestle with what is true environmentalism? that is an important question, because if we ask and answer look at that, many as a prohibition, to say that we should not, even though we have
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been blessed with natural resources to power the world, that we put up tenses and prevent the development of resources. we have never done that as a country. we have been about and lamenting, innovation to achieve better outcomes with the missions. the american people expect us to use the natural resources and focus on stewardship, and not let prohibition be our aim. that is something we are boko talking about is an attitude through 2018, and getting back to basics and these fundamental areas we have talked about as far as the outcomes. >> what are some of the enforcement response efforts you believe show you take your role as a stewart -- steward of the environment seriously? entry in the record as far as the superfund, and saying that is the work of the previous administration. look, we take cases that come to us the previous ministry should began, but i am proud of the
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withwe have done accountability and respect to superfund. in houston texas, i mentioned that houston, texas, there is a party that has suddenly but rocks on top of the site that went into houston with our team and we came out with the conclusion of $115 million, and the company has been very much objecting to that, but we are getting the accountability to respect the cleanup. we are very, very proud of the career employees as well as the appointees working together to achieve better outcomes in superfund areas, and that is one example of those. >> thank you senator. say, as part of my point, as ihat understand there were 300 superfund sites get to be cleaned up? we have an administration -- over 300 yet to be cleaned up.
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we have an administration that is not asking for more money to clean them up, but actually less money. that is all. i will yield back. x i have a little time from my round. higher --us sites 1340 plus site are yet to be were mediated, and most of them had a responsible party, a company that polluted that is responsible and had the money to do it. we need to have processes in place to hold them accountable to get those cleanups recurring, and that is focused on need what we have with bunting. -- funding. >> sen. merkley:. >> mr. pruitt, you had talked previously about having a red team, blue team exercise to examine the issue of climate change and global warming. is that still part of your plan? >> it is under consideration, senator, and the discussion is not whether -- there are questions that we know the answer to, there are questions we do not know the answer to. idealample, what is the
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surface temperature in the year 2100? many folks have different perspectives on that. so that is an exercise to provide an opportunity for the american people to consume information from scientists that have different perspectives on key issues. it can be used to build consensus in this body. as you know, the clean air act that was amended in 1990, many involved in that process recognized that co2 was not part of the discussion under section 111. we have a lot of work to do legally and procedurally, but this is still under consideration. understanding that the white house has asked the agency to not go forward with the exercise? >> that is untrue. >> so the republican parts are incorrect? , yes.this instance >> i will say that the perception of the red team, blue team was that your entire ofention was to, on behalf the koch brothers cartel, continue to miss me lead -- mislead the american people
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about the very significant impacts of carbon pollution, casting doubt on established science. is it in fact your sense that the scientific world is split on whetherddle carbon dioxide is warming and causing significant damage in to rural america, to our farming and fishing, and to our forests? >> this idea did not originate with me. it originated with the scientists from nyu, who worked with the obama administration at the department of energy. this is something we are considering based on the original publication. wrecks we will be watching with interest on whether or not you conducted. if you do, because we have not the any evidence that sheds information on the important issues, or is another effort to confuse the public over well-established scientific information.
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merkley, thank you. senator markey? >> it took me 20 years to get the other one out of my life, and now jeff and i have that. [laughter] >> as you are figuring out your identity situation, i would cement to the record that superfund priority has been under administrator pruitt. the cleanup of the largest superfund site. epa administrator pruitt put separate and anaconda, superfund sites, on the emphasis lists. both are being fast tracked for completion and are getting his attention intention. -- intense attention. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. >> mr. pruitt, it is my
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understanding that the epa has finalized its conclusion that formaldehyde causes leukemia and other cancers, and had completed to assessments, and is ready rerelease for a public review. that it is still being held up. can you give us a status update as to the epa's handling of the formaldehyde issue and the conclusion that it, in fact, does cause leukemia and other cancers? my understanding is similar to yours. i will confirm that and provide the information to you. releasingu commit to that report, which is already in a short amount of time, once you have reviewed it, if it meets the standards to
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which your epa staff has already established in terms of assessing that it does cause leukemia? >> i will look into that and make sure your office is aware of what we have and when we can release that. >> can you give me an answer in 10 days? x yes. >> thank you. i have also sent you a series of letters seeking information about policies and processes that have been put in if you. the i have not received any response to those letters. i would ask that you also look at those letters and to provide a response in the shortest possible time. >> my very handy staff behind me indicates provided -- that we provided 100 answers to questions -- answers to 100 questions a week ago. we will get that for you. >> thank you. pruitt, i sentr
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you a letter encouraging the epa to withdraw your -- sorry, last letter,hey sent you a the epa of letter, asking the epa to withdraw its proposed situ uraniumn recovery. about thisting thing rule is it is a rule that the obama administration proposed on january 19, 2017, one day before president obama left office. . since then, the nuclear regulatory commission has come out, our principal regulator on this activity. there is no health or safety justification for this rulemaking by the epa that came out one day before president obama left office. the nuclear regulatory commission went on to say that ofalmost 40 years operational experience, nuclear regulatory commission staff is
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aware of no documented instance situ uranium recovery, being the source of contamination of any nearby aqua for or a nonexempt portion of the same aquifer where they are being conducted? no documents. the wyoming -- wyoming produces more uranium than any other oure, it is vital for production in national security, and when can we decide that the epa will scrap this on this area regulation? >> i will get information very quickly and get it back to your office. >> senator carper, do you have a final round of questions? >> since no one else is going to minutes i have five to ask these questions. >> reserving the right to object. >> since no one else is going to arrive, i asked that i have five round ofo ask my
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questions. >> have you had your second round? >> no, i have not. >> object. >> why thank you. >> have you heard of something called the golden rule? >> 22nd, if the gentleman would yield. i just checked with my staff, and there has been no answer to the questions which i have posed to you, mr. minister at her. i would ask again to respond in a timely fashion. >> there is something called the golden rule, which we are thursday toevery meet with the chaplain of the united states senate. us to treat others the way they want to be treated, and it is not consider it when we are considering pollution that is being put in the air to the west of downwind states, including those of us that live on the east coast to the extent that the cpa and the administration believes that the
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golden rule is a good idea. i would ask to consider applying the golden rule when it comes to cross-border pollution. delaware, governor of i could literally shut down my states economy, shut down all of our businesses -- we have still been out of compliance with clean air because all of the stuff is up in the air in other states. i do not like that, and i am not sure i like being denied the opportunity to go from two minutes to five minutes when we have plenty of time. i will not. >> since my name has been referred to, let me respond and say there are four committee hearings at the same time today. we are trying to balance, and if longer, the going ones you are punishing are the ones that have not had ample time to get even their first round of questioning at some of the other committees. in a sense of fairness, that is the reason there has got to be an end to this sometime. >> i want to ask unanimous consent to sit -- cement to the
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record the history of the obama epa's years long process to address the waters of the u.s. role, which included hundreds of meetings across the country, including one in delaware, epa, army corps of engineers, farmers and builders. over -- there were one million public comments that were received during the course of the years long activity, and i am told that those million or so comments were actually responded to. -- thank you, mr. chairman, i have one more question i want to ask. in following the law and in limiting tosca, you have said on numerous occasions, "the only authority any agency has in the executive branch is the authority given to it by congress." epa came to congress and ask for pacific -- specific provisions that would allow the
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agencies to move forward. congress agreed. that language was included in the final law. one of those chemicals, a paint dangerous that has killed dozens of people, even when they were wearing protective gear. epa proposed rules banning these chemicals more than a year ago, but more recent reports indicate that epa may delay action on the uses of these chemicals are several more years, which will certainly be more people will and probably some of them will die. yes or no, mr. pruitt? and you permit to use the to epa bygiven congress to finalize this in the next 30 days? >> that is on the priority list. will confirmhing i and clarify with the agency, but that was my understanding. >> i hope that means yes. >> i would like to ask for unanimous consent to submit
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materials to prove mr. pruitt's record at the epa. thank you. >> without objection. >> my final question was could you share some of your goals and metrics you want to set for the year ahead? weat the end of last year, had solicited and surveyed each of our program offices in the agency to submit five your goals -- five your goals in air, water, across the whole spectrum of regulation. we had a very collaborative discussion to set ambitious goals on attainment issues and other matters. and the metrics are -- you do not set -- say the name. if you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there, and what we are trying to do is set aims and objectives in each of our priority areas across the full spectrum so that we can tracked a in and day out how we are making progress for those objectives. we have not done that before. at the agency,ed
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we did not know how long it took to do a permit under the clean water act. we have surveyed that, and it takes years for us to do that. sometimes six months to a year. we are trying to find out how good or not we are at or in things, and set objectives on how to improve and measure that daily to achieve outcomes. thank you very much. i appreciate you being here. members may submit questions in writing for the record by the close of business. we would like to hear back from you. that will go through february 14. the meeting is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history, university of north carolina at chapel hill professor molly worthen on the origins and growth of
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pentecostalism. >> fundamentalists are conservative protestants who militantly opposed -- militantly opposed -- that militants is important -- new ideas about the , and society. like senate 10:00 p.m. eastern on real america, the 1989 documentary "island of hope, island of tears." over 12 million men, women, and children passed this way, through rooms and corridors haunted with a special stillness remained in areas that were once full of human life. here they traded their money four dollars. here they sang their first american songs, experienced the first american christmas and hanukkah. here they waited and were given
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permission to pass over to the new land. >> sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, an interview from the west point center for oral history with catherine must moreland -- catherine west moreland. , i worked almost every day. i worked in the vietnamese hospital. our hospital. and then i went to prague once a work.o do red cross >> brought to american history tv -- >> watch american history tv, every weekend on c-span3. >> a day after president trump's state of the union address, senator bernie sanders joined activists at an event to discuss climate change. this is an hour and a half.


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