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tv   EPA Administrator Testifies on 2020 Budget  CSPAN  April 4, 2019 4:31am-6:13am EDT

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to provide and take action to
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monday the regulations to remove the problematic requirements that apply for remote areas of alaska. >> ms. murkowski: i appreciate that and i know the communities will look forward to that as well. let me turn to senator tester. the early bird. >> mr. tester: thank you madam chair, and thank you for being here. mr. wheeler, i appreciate you being here. i wasn't going to ask about pfos but the chair lady has brought it up. has it been banned? you said you were detecting it and finding it. you were saying some of the material has been banned but they're still using pfos in firefighting. >> mr. wheeler: yes there's thousands of them, but some of them the worst ones were banned a number of years ago. >> mr. tester: so i guess what i'm saying is that if you're looking at detecting it and cleaning it up, but why aren't we banning the cause so it's
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done. it causes cancer, is there a problem with it? >> mr. wheeler: the worst substances were band years ago. >> mr. tester: so the stuff in the fire fighting foam does not cause cancer or liver disease? >> mr. wheeler: i'd have to get back to you on the exact ones in the fire fighting foam. >> mr. tester: i think it's easier to do preventative medicine than post. >> mr. wheeler: we are looking for a direct rule that as the substitutes come to the marketplace that we're reviewing the substitutes. >> mr. tester: thank you are you familiar with libby. montana? >> mr. wheeler: yes. >> mr. tester: so you know it's asbestos incredible impacts, and serious problems. you have a document coming out for asbestos? you're familiar with that.
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>> mr. wheeler: yes sir. >> mr. tester: so it lays out how bad asbestos is, do you plan on finalizes that risk evaluation by december of this year. >> mr. wheeler: it's one of the first chemical substances we are looking after. >> mr. tester: do you plan on finalizing the report by december of this year. >> mr. wheeler: this is the goal with the shutdown in january. >> mr. tester: so your budget also cuts that review account by 28%, nearly one-third. is that going to have an impact on finalizing the risk evaluation report. >> mr. wheeler: no it should not have an impact on finalizing it. we noted there's a gap -- >> mr. tester: how long after the risk evaluation report has been finalized do you anticipate will take to pull asbestos off
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the market? >> mr. wheeler: as i noted we have a significant use rule to stop the imexhortation of asbestos into the united states. >> mr. tester: i want to know when it's going to be pulled off the market. we have people dying of this, why is it out there, it's not a pleasant death. everybody knows what the problem is, why aren't we pulling it off the market? you're doing a risk evaluation, you said it would be done by december. that risk evaluation i think is going to be rock solid no-brainer because the evidence is there. how long will it take you to pull it off. >> mr. wheeler: i can't prevulnerable a risk assessment before it is finished. >> mr. tester: if it is rock-solid how long. >> mr. wheeler: we will move quickly to epull it off the market. i will have to get back to you on how long. we're dealing with something the first set of ten chemicals put
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through the program. >> mr. tester: asbestos has been around for a long time. clean air -- i got it, and i appreciate that but because they didn't doesn't mean we shouldn't. okay, clean air and clean water is really important we're talking about air with libby. let's talk about water. your predecessor said that superfund clean up would be one of his top priorities. for all the crimps on your predecessor he was moving forward with the butte clean up, and the berkeley pit talking with people on the ground,ing to things that are positive. is superfund clean up a priority for you. >> mr. wheeler: yes, absolutely, and the first epa administrator to visit anaconda in over 20 years. >> mr. tester: so bette has one employ on the site. your superfund budget will be cut by $100 million. how do you swear that with
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cleaning up the superfund site. >> mr. wheeler: we have the people and resources we need to get it cleaned up. butte is scheduled to be cleaned up by 2024. we don't believe the budget will impact that at all. >> mr. tester: so you're telling me that one employee on the site for a few days a week now, with this budget, and the budget coming up for next year being $100 million less, is going to keep that on schedule for clean up? >> mr. wheeler: that one employee is not the only employee working on the site. we have a montana field office with four or five employees last week, i was in denver, and i had a conference call with butte and anaconda teams along with our denver staff who are working on cleaning it up, and our washington, d.c. staff, we have 30 staff involved in both sites on the call. >> mr. tester: and appreciate your attention to it. i want to make a comment because i'm over time because there's a
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piece of land operated by smurf t stone west of missoula montana, on the flood plain of the river. i will ask where you to put that on your radar if it's not on your radar. this is a piece of property that has chemicals buried on it. we don't believe that the burials have broken open and dumped into the clark fork but at the point they do it becomes a more expensive clean up. if there's an opportunity to get in there, and find out where that stuff is, as much as you possibly can, it may save a lot of heart of heart cake down the road. thank you. >> thank you for being here thank you madam chairman. thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the telephone, i think it was march the 21st,
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about the catastrophic flooding we're having in mississippi. you have been so accessible, and i've visited with your at length on the telephone. i appreciate you being accessible at that time. unfortunately the flooding continues today and we had acting administrator marry walker to join me on a flight on march the 19th to fly over with the core of engineers to observe the damage and i certainly appreciate that time there, because it has gotten worse since our conversation, and at best, it will be another month before the floodwaters recede assuming the best of conditions. today more than 510,000 acres in this highly productive agricultural region is under water. to put that into perspective that's about 789 square miles an
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area more than 11 times the size of the district of columbia. it's affecting homes, roads, bridges, churches, schools, there's snakes swimming in the facilities right now. and overall health and public safety to all of the area residents i've been over there more than once. what we're experiencing is truly catastrophic. hundreds of thousands of acres of prime agricultural and timber land will suffer significant damage and go unplanted this season. i am talking to farmers daily that are in ruins there. the economic impact on agricultural loan will be in the hundreds of millions. similar flooding has occurred not once, but ten separate times. ten. since epa in 2008 prohibited the core from completing the final aspects of a 78-year old comprehensive flood control effort. it has been going on as long as i can remember.
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because of this residents have lost their homes and businesses roads and bridges have been destroyed, wildlife is dying, flying over we saw all the wildlife on the leavy because that was the only dry land they could get to, and the habitat loss the contaminated floodwaters. we can all agree decisions made in 2008 have not only failed to meet the intent with respect to the environment wildlife and habitat but also placed a tremendous burden on the lives and property of thousands of mississippi. i am so grateful you are giving this the attention you have given us. i've been looking forward to this day for a long time. you have been very responsive to us, and you are certainly a light in a very dark area to us. i am grateful and i appreciate you for that. but, what comments will you give me that epa will work in good faith with the core of engineers
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towards providing the adequate level of flood protection promise to mississippians literally since 1941? >> mr. wheeler: thank you senator, and my heart goes out to your constituents and your people of mississippi with the flood. we're trying to help on the emergency response side and i'll talk about that in a second. we are working with the army core of engineers, and we're reviewing the decision in 20o08 to veto the army core plan for the whereasue pumps, and trueing to determine with the latest flooding if that changes our determination and the work that went on in 2008 on reviewing that project, and we're reviewing more recent data and talking to the army corps. on a near daily basis to figure out how we can be helpful to you, your constituents and the army corps to make sure the flooding is addressed, and that we don't have floods going into the future like this.
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i would be remiss, however, we have incredible emergency responders across the agency at our headquarters and a lot of our regions and they respond to emergencies almost on a daily basis. most of them are small, but most people aren't aware of when a train derails, ear when there's a small smile someplace but i would be remiss if i did not point out we have not had a head of our emergency response office for this administration and we are waiting on the senate confirmation for the head of our emergency response. he was nominated 394 days ago. and that's absurd we've waited so long to have the head of our emergency response. i hope he will be confirmed before we hit the next hurricane season this year. >> thank you so much for your response and i look forward to working with you because i think we can come up with reasonable solutions but thank you for your
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work. >> mr. wheeler: thank you. >> ms. murkowski: thank you senator hyde-smith, senator udall. >> mr. udall: mr. wheeler before we get into the budget i want to start with some housekeeping. this subcommittee requires our agencies to submit reprogrammings and reorganizations for approval. sometimes that process can take time depending on the scope of the proposal. and on time it takes the agency to respond to our requests for information. we require that our agencies wait to implement any reprogrammings or reorganizations until the subcommittee is completed our evaluations. can you commit in this fairly simple yes or no that you and your staff will continue to follow these long-standing requirements? >> mr. wheeler: yes, i believe we have. we are working on a reasonable reorganization with you where we first briefed your staff last september. >> mr. udall: and can you
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continue to responding to requests from the minority. >> mr. wheeler: yes we responded to all your requests and will continue to do so. >> mr. udall: it funding cuts all funding for the geographic programs. these are made differences in water body of the great lakes. the subcommittee has for three years running rejected the president's proposal to eliminate these programs. last week at a rally in michigan the president announced he now supports full funding, $300 million for epa great lakes program. what i consider that a remarkable reversal. i have to wonder good the president will make more announcements effreversing his budget request. you testified in the house yesterday, that an amended budget request is in the progress for the great lakes program, is that correct? >> mr. wheeler: i believe what i said is we are talking to omb.
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>> mr. udall: you know the proper thing to do is submit a proper amended request and we would expect you to do that for any of the others he plans on doing, rather than playing favorites and going to particular places that are important in next year's presidential elections. >> mr. wheeler: we are working with o and b on that they submit the budget requests. >> mr. udall: i don't like the idea of playing favorites. i think all of these big national programs are funded because they're important on a region basis, and i know you on it that your position is to say the state should do that. the reality is the state's were not doing it. congress stepped forward as a partner, and that's the reason we keep funding those. so i'd like you to keep that in mind when you brief the omb, and the president about the importance of these programs. i want to talk a little bit
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about the staffing crisis. this subcommittee is constantly hearing evidence that morale is at an all-time low amongst scientists engineers, and the agency staffing levels are dropping because despite congress rejecting proposed budget cuts the agency is not hiring new staff when previous staff depart. i see this as an intentional effort to cripple the epa so badly that affects last well past this administration since the end of the previous administration, epa has lost 8.5% of its employees. epa's research office alone has lost a staggering 14% of staff and staffing in the field is suffering, especially. the region that includes my home state of new mexico, has lost nearly 12% of its staff, and those numbers are from january. i don't have more recent data because epa has refused to
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respond to our request for more recent updated. mr. wheeler when you took over nearly a year ago you and i discussed the need for the epa to maintain and cultivates experienced and qualified staff. you said one of your personal priorities was to make sure that happened. but here, we are a year later, and the numbers show that staffing levels are falling deeper into crisis, and that we also sit here examining a budget request to cut another 1800 staff. that's really where you're going to take the agency? another 1800 level? that's where you think in terms of public health and the environment that's where the epa should be? 1800 people lower? >> mr. wheeler: y -- i'm more concerned ability making sure we have the right experts. >> mr. udall: the question is do you want to be 1800 people lower, that's the budget you put
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before the congress. >> mr. wheeler: if we are focusing on the core missions and protecting public health and the environment that is the number we believe we can -- >> mr. udall: mr. wheeler, with all due respect i don't think -- i don't think you can do that with 1800 fewer employs, and if you look at the history of the epa over the last couple of years we've been dropping down dramatically, and there are a number of areas on public health and environmental issues you're not stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing. are you aware, mr. wheeler, that congress has rejected the president's proposals to cut the epa budget and we have provided nearly steady funding for epa's operating program. >> mr. wheeler: yes, i am aware. >> mr. udall: and -- i don't think there's any doubt that the
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staff is the key. i mean these career people, you should realize it by now if you really get into an issue that's where you have to turn to find out what's going on. and i just think it's deplorable that we've dropped so far and that you're on a trend right now with this budget you presented you're here defending where you'll cut another 1800. i hope as we've done in the past, on the past on a bipartisan basis that we continue to see the good work that's been done and don't engage in the cutting just for the sake of cutting, and i yield back madam chair. >> ms. murkowski: administrator wheeler you looked like you're going to have one more comment but if you don't i'm going to go to mr. van hollen. >> mr. wheeler: the downward trend starts before this administration. but the big problem we have is
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40% of the workforce is eligible to retire. we hired 30 people poowork and lost 30 people in the same year that were working on taska. the challenge we have is the high number of compared to other agencies and departments people who are eligible to retire and are retiring and trying to bring on the people to replace them. the hiring process is a very long process to bring on new people, and the federal government. it takes months to bring on a qualified scientist, and as i said we brought on 30 new people to work on taska, we thought we would have the enough people to work on it, and then we had 30 people leave the agency. we're working hard on that challenge. >> mr. van hollen: administrator wheeler when you were up for your nomination hearing before the environment and public works committee you said for the record that "the epa is fully committed to the chesapeake bay
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program" you haven't changed your position, have you? >> mr. wheeler: no senator. >> mr. van hollen: you remain fully committed? >> mr. wheeler: yes, sir. >> mr. van hollen: i appreciate that because the president slashed the program from 73 million to 7.3 million. senator udall the president restored the million dollar cut after secretary devos -- the president reversed that. it does indicate that the whole process on the executive side of the ledger is a bit of a sham here. but i'm pleased on a bipartisan basis this committee has continued to fund these important projects. you indicated that the mission of the epa was to protect the public health and the environment, and i would assume you would agree that we should do that using the best science and evidence, is that right.
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>> mr. wheeler: yes senator. >> mr. udall: so my question is we heard senator hyde-smith we talked about the flooding in mississippi. there's no doubt we see more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, why the epa continues to have taken down the epa -- the portion of the epa website due to climate change. when you go to epa. climate these days you get a headline saying we want to help you with what you're looking for. it disappeared, the previous climate change portion of the website. >> mr. wheeler: it's my understanding, i've asked this question of our career technical people multiple times, and that everything that was ever on the website on climate change is still available on the website. it's not highlighted to the same extent that the -- highlighted it, but it's still on the website. >> mr. van hollen: if you want to be taken seriously as an
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agency that believes in science you wouldn't disappear the climate change website. yes, you've archived what was there before, the trump administration. my understanding is you look at your climate indicators page, you haven't been updating the graphs with the newest informations will you commit today you'll do that? >> mr. wheeler: i'll have to look into that. >> mr. van hollen: would you be surprised the recent page isn't allowed to be updated with the newest information. i would hope that the credibility of the agency seems to me is on the line on these issues. people can have their own views but when you have the scientific community clear on this the evidence is overwhelming, which leads me to another question because i am worried about the fact that science is being displaces by political science and political pressure. in a number of places around the
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agency. there's an article, i don't know if you saw it, the headline was "if i worked at the epa i'd resign." it's a column in the washington post by bernard goldstein. he was the chair of the clean air scientific adviser board in the reagan administration. he was then appointed by reagan to be the head of the office of research and development. there are 7 members of the scientific advisory board, and he points out that they rely a lot on the scientific information provided by subcommittees to the board. and then he writes, that's how it's supposed to work. in other words they're supposed to get input from the subcommittee experts. but last october, wheeler terminated the subcommittees working to develop recommendations for the particulate standards as well as
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the standard for ozone pollution which is what this advisory board's going to review next. and he says for the first time this advisory committee will lack a single epidemiologist. so my question is why? why eliminate the panel of experts -- it seems to me it -- you know -- it looks like another step to eliminate outside independent expert opinion. >> mr. wheeler: absolutely not senator. the clean air act 1990 amendments requires us to review the impacts every five years. we took a hard look at what caused the delay because the agency has never met the 5-year time frame for o xeno. the subcommittees are not required under the statute took a lot of time to go back and forth between the committees, and we streamlined the case review so we will get both the reviews with the ozone, and they
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will be done by the end of next year which is the requirement under statute, and as i sat dow. >> mr. van hollen: why not say to the subcommittee experts here is your deadline. if you don't get us the information in time we're not going to be able to consider it. >> mr. wheeler: previous administrations have done that but. >> mr. van hollen: why did they wipe it out? >> mr. wheeler: they were never able to meet the five-year deadline. i assured the head of case act, if you need outside scientific review they're allowed and are able and can call up -- they can reach out to epidemiologists and get additional input. but it is the formal subcommittee review process that took literal months and years -- >> mr. van hollen: so are you wiping out all the subcommittees. >> mr. wheeler: yes, for the ozone and pm and we'll see how that goes.
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>> mr. van hollen: but you haven't wiped out the other ones. >> mr. wheeler: those are just for the review process in the case act for the next standards. as soon as the five-year review period is over we start the next five-year review but the agency has never met the five-year deadline that is required under the clean air act so we started to reform the process to meet the deadline given to us in congress. >> mr. van hollen: i think this is the concern combined with this and the policy where people are contracts to the epa and scientists you're not looking them to participate but allowing other industry lobbyists to participate participate. i'd like to continue with this conversation -- the credibility of the agency is clearly being hurt here. when you disappear the climate page, and it appears the important subcommittees of scientists are being eliminated and just -- and with a point that senator udall made, as i
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understand it the assistant administrator for research and development position which was what this gentleman held during the reagan administration filled, is that correct. >> mr. wheeler: we have a hard time filling positions because we look at how long the process takes and they've told us now. the superfund has been waiting 394 days for confirmation we've had people say we don't want to go through the senate confirmation process, it's broken, and i hope it can be fixed on a bipartisan -- >> mr. van hollen: there's the confirmation part of it, there's also the reality that a lot of people have not been appointed. >> mr. wheeler: we've had people turned down. >> mr. van hollen: the suggestion in this article for the person who held this article is the reason that scientists are not applying for the job is that they think their work will be subjected to political oversight. . . dna. .
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to know that we are making a little bit of headway is important to mention in my opening when it comes to the 2.5 issue and how fairbanks in a
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geographically constrained area we have no viable options to folks are keeping their homes warm in the winter time turned to blood burning in some particular issues that we've been struggling with. it's been classified for non- attainment and to formulate and sub that the air quality plan to demonstrate by december 31 we have been struggling with this for years. that is the one thing that has been helpful to the fairbanks northstar bureau during these woodstove change outs, so i am working with senator carper on the bill that's another little bright glimmer of hope.
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the epa has been providing technical assistance in formulating the plan due at the end of the year people are very nervous and anxious because there are very real on the ground repercussions, so how is epa taking into account the unique situation they face with their geography and its extremely low temperatures in the winter and lack of access to clean fuels like natural gas you are working with the bureau to address a plan by the year end the way it sits and of course the wood burning heat sources as well.
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we would be forced to work on a federal implementation plan which is something we do not want to do we have a good track record of working with the local communities to avoid and change it.
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our goal is to make sure it is in place by the end of the year. we look forward to some of these important conversations moving forward. the options for using solid waste disposal are substantially more difficult and really unfeasible we actually included language in our appropriations subcommittee bill that basically
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gives us a little bit more time on the temporary relief problem that i've gone to my colleagues on the subcommittee. they are working with us to resolve this and we won't need to worry about this, so i can't keep going back to my colleagues and say it's going to be resolved we will have an administrative solution we have to work with the state implementation program and we are trying to make sure they have t the data to submit a plan to us. >> i kno >> i know that senator udall and congresswoman will be really pleased when i come to them and
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say we don't need this anymore because we have result of that, so we will be working with you and the state on that. >> that sounds like a good goal. let's turn to senator udall. labor it, must have been predicting baby-boom effects for decades and this is a new agency that simply fail and prepared to deal with the staffing deficits. it's to enforce the nation's environmental law laws but this administration is literally taking the cops off delete
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administrative and civil penalties in 2018 declined to the lowest level since epa established a dedicated enforcement office 25 years ago. epa also initiated 1800 civil enforcement cases in fiscal year 2018, the lowest level in a decade. i know the administration's partyline responses that it's focusing on compliance rather than the fact enforcement, but the numbers don't tell the story. it indicates that they conducted both thousand 600 inspections in 2018 which is the lowest number in the last decade in less than half of the inspection conducted in the peak year of 2010 with fewer inspections there are fewer opportunities to identify facilities that are out of compliance.
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it really isn't more complicated than that. and the focus on compliance from the budget request you bring us today is a $12 million cut to compliance. this administration's money is and where its mouth is and staffing levels at the headquarters enforcement has plummeted by 19%. that is more than double the loss of the rest of the agency and the subcommittee hasn't cut 1 dollar from the epa subcommittee. if the administration focuses on compliance and not enforcement, what are the specific goals and metrics to show that this approach will result in clean
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air and water, specific metrics and goals? >> absolutely. when the state has primacy they are the ones in the inspections since 2010 -- >> mind you the budget that have come up have savaged money to the states. the budgets you've been presenting year after year in this administration, i don't know how you can get in this situation and say we are going to let the states do that, but then when they are vital partners it's very important for you to give them the money to do that. but focusing and show me that what you are doing is providing clean air and water to the american public. >> the past metrics to august on
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targeting industry sectors on the non- attainment areas and impaired waters to get into the safe drinking water is. wwe already stopped approximatey 2200 illegal vehicles and engines at the borders what they are doing is trying to focus on areas where there's not attainment to get t the areas to the enforcement tools and i would point out the number of criminal cases went up for the first time since 2011. it's been on a downward trend
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and we are reducininvia reducing on compliance in the process making sure that if people are violating the law were taking actions including criminal action against them, so at both ends of the enforcement we are working to provide them more tools and then we just started this last year in the region eight as a pilot now we do the inspection and provide a written report back to the facility afterwards. that has actually cut down on some of the inspection times of the people because they are spending extra days working on the reports so that they reach compliance faster. >> you also sent a budge send ar to cut the compliance 12%. thank you, madam chair. >> it's good to see you here.
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in september of 18 in your first few weeks on the job you adults with a probleadultwith a problea problem in our state that had been on the superfund priority list for 29 years it's hard to imagine anything that is a priority on the priority list for 29 years and you and your predecessor worked from day number one when you were the deputy administrator and now the administrator to come to a conclusion and it the local feedback from the west lakes landfill has been very positive i think you hit the right spot to get this done. this morning though would you give me an update on what's going on now and what are the next steps we need to take to get to the end of your plan to way to deal with that. >> we have been working on the
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ground. we've already started the remediation. we are continuing to keep the local citizens groups of data on our progress and at this point we are still on track of getting the site cleaned up and completed. >> is this a process to remove the things -- >> i can give you a better update afterwards. >> if you want to take that further record and then i would like a sense of where you are now and the projected calendar to how you are going to deal with those issues. let me talk about one more thing while you are here. the volume obligations, the epa grants which are practically wavers. we talked about this when you were confirmed. when you were retroactively granting and don't reallocate
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the volume that those would have represented effectively you decide on your own to reduce the volume of ethanol that's out there. i think when we had the confirmation hearing, you said you were going to look at how the exemption process looks and make sure and we are going to outline the process for the reviereview and look seriously e waiver. i'd like you to talk about how you were going to look at those waiver issues. if you can do this with the volume you have determined it should be the right volume actually is either the volume
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that year were added on for the next year. >> the small refinery expansion program which is decreasing the gallons for the program is set up by statute. they were sued three times and lost three times so we now have three court orders on how to run the program in addition to the statute as well as appropriation language. once we set up for the following year which arrived on time the last few years, the first time that's ever happened after that, when we received the small refinery on waivers and those coming after they are sent, we don't have a process to go back
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to readjust. that would probably send more into financial hardship based upon the number of gallons that would be spread out over fewer refineries. we have taken the mood to be more transparent. >> when we exempt the small refineries, don't you spread out the gallons over the larger refiners? >> we do not and i believe that is the crux of the issue we are not distributing the gallon back into the system. we don't have a mechanism to do that because we have already set it for the compliance here. >> did you need to get yourself a mechanism or is it an simple tisenabled to have that mechani? >> i think it would be hard to try to implement something like that after the fact. on the 39 that you refer to haven't seen them yet for the
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department of energy. the way the process works as they apply exemption applications. but they haven't given our underlining rationale yet for those refineries. so we then process them and grant them. >> when you do that it is retroactive because the year is basically already behind us is that right? you and i can talk about this more and we will again. thank you for your leadership on the westlake and for the last two years of getting that number out on time. >> thank you, senator. senator merkley. >> when you were being considered for the nomination i asked you on a scale of one to
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ten. it is a pretty significant concerns or did you increase or decrease funding for the climate programs in the 2020 budget as a result of the high-level concern of the climate? >> which programs are you referring to as we are still moving forward on the regulations that we finalized this summer. >> that has been eliminated that we believe we can address them through the regulatory programs and others. >> did you increase or decrease funding for the atmosphere protection program? >> that has been decreased. >> is that the 365 million-dollar decrease for the air quality programs and also decrease for other programs us while?
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>> if you have a high level of concern how can you cut on an? >> it would reduce from power plants by 34% and our café standards we will reduce on par with the administration. >> i think they are aware that will increase. but let's turn to lead. you are probably aware it is one of the major health threats for young children in the country nearly half a million u.s. children just ages one through five have blood levels at or above the 5 micrograms level which is where the cdc recommends public-health actions be taken. i think you probably understand
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that and yet you are 2020 proposewere 2020proposed budgete program. why? >> we work closely with hud and this should be finalized in the first time the regulation has been modernized in over 20 years, so we are moving forward very aggressively. it's on the regulations which are going to be out in june and we would be proposing a rule this summer which will go a long way to reducing the lead exposure to families and we are looking at mandatory testing and both schools and day care centers.
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>> you are cutting the program for the lead testing in schools which means that this was action taken and so the impact is more children get poisoned and that it's really unfortunate under is really unfortunate under your leadership that more children are going to be poisoned. >> we also requested $50 million for the healthy schools program that will be working with schools and not just public and private but also to address other contaminants located in the schools. >> when i go i go to every county every year and will become wholly t holy and meet we commissioners. almost always what comes up is
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the challenge of clean water supplies and wastewater treatment. it is a critical piece of legislature. >> the states could lose 31% of the potential funding under the clean water state revolving fund into drinking water state revolving fund. i know that my communities are desperate for more assistance because it is so expensive to do a treatment center you can't just spread the cost among the residents in those smaller towns, so this might have a huge impact. why would you want to do that? >> the amount we are asking for is that a reduction but the overall fun currently available across the country's $80 billion. we also asked for more funding this year which passed by congress last fall didn't
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receive any money that we were requesting 83 million for that and there is a number of different small grant programs in the legislation so tha what e are trying to do is see we know we are being successful, but in order to reach more smaller communities collating some of the funding mechanisms and legislation might be very helpful there so that is why we are asking for money fro from te legislation or for that statute fastball. the total amount of money available we are looking at $80 billion because every time we put money out if it's repaid we are also earning interest on it so it has increased substantially over the years.
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i am pleased that it's bought but unfortunately it's not working for small communities because the administrative fees that are being charged are too high and difficult to make the program works with smaller communities. >> we are trying that and we've looked to fall t get a few comms together. but we think that the new legislation might be better for the smaller communities, so that is why we requested money. >> thank you for clarifying that. i think we recognized certainly in my state the opportunities are considerable for the smaller communities. >> i want to commend you for your leadership at the agency and a renewed focus on achieving results for the american people. one area where they've seen an increased focus is on our super
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fun insights i am pleased to have ranked sites with the highest priority for restoring the reuse and the asbestos site on the list with greatest potential of redevelopment. that is the direction from the top but montana has long sought for. now we need to make sure that the actions are executed effectively for montana. one aspect of the remedy involves restoration of the site restoring to its natural stream. what do we need to do in congress tthencongress to remede obstacles? >> thank you for showing me those sites last summer i enjoyed the visit to montana and it was educational to see that firsthand. >> you were the first to visit
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those sites. >> at least over 20 years. >> i was happy to do that and it was very educational for me. i had a briefing on this last week in the denver office i had a teleconference with a call from our montana fiel montana fe were denver people working on these two sites for an update. sotheby's haso if this has not n announced yet and we are working out with the parties didn't have to go back to the core for this as well as we are trying to make sure that in the future if a water source is identified that that would be a possibility. some of it is and the remediation site and might be more of the natural resource damage is assigned out the raid mediation type -- remediation.
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we've communicated the importance of that and we are trying to make sure that our superfund remediation efforts will allow the restoration of the creek and the remediation will not impede that from happening. >> i can tell that you are actively engaged on this issue even talking about it from first-hand experience i appreciate that greatly and i know tha the folks in the commuy there can't wait to see this come to closure. regarding the superfund site it's my understanding has been a degree that i understand there may be a speed bump. can you assure me that ep the es staying firm to ensure the site will be secure into perpetuity?
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>> i would be happy to talk about afterwards. it's my understanding we are still on plan to buy december that is what i was told. >> thank you for the active presence on the ground restoring the trust and dialogue. in northwest montana there's been a terrible legacy of the pulmonary problems from my constituents throughout the ar area. furthermore a preschool was found to have an unacceptably high level of asbestos exposure.
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the goal was to have it remain to complete a risk evaluation and senator brought this up earlier to have it completed by december. he wanted to protect others from the tragedies that we've seen in montana we are about to go final to take comment and that is part oabout the vibration at this
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point. the process takes several years and we wanted to make sure that no we are concerned that there could the importation of the products in the country we are seeing asbestos showing up the only way to ensure they are aware of that ahead of time word allawi's to import a new product containing asbestos there was no mechanism to do that prior so that is what we are trying to do to close this loophole and i was accused of trying to open the market for all types of that is through this thing from the ca case. >> i want to work with you on
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legislation to do just that. i think it is more predictable for all the parties involved. my goal is to help prevent these future tragedies like we have seen. we are moving forward for the first time in over 25 years to try to address the asbestos. i have a couple more quick ones and i'm going to run over to department of homeland security and ask a couple of questions over there before we got a lot.
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as we wrap up very quickly this is an issue that we discussed before. not necessarily for any of my colleagues on either side of me that for us we made headway. 100% compliance is not achievable because of the nature of this waste. this results in extensive noncompliance regarding that serves as a constant threat of enforcement risk and loss, so i would ask once again for your commitment to work with me to ensure that our onshore processes are not going to face fines for doing everything that they can to comply with a
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planned for early april. another issue is the diesel generators in the remote communities. the epa requires any diesel generator purchased after the model year 2014 required to have a particular in terms of the high cost of compliance to many of our small remote communities.
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if you have a current status on that come anything to demonstrate the commitment to work with us this is particularly important as you know with regards to the microbe gradgraves scattered all througt the state. >> in getting into performance on initiatives many of which have been hanging out for a long period of time i'm going to yield of the res the rest of myo senator udall and thank you for being here this morning. >> almost three years since the passage of overwhelming
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bipartisan reform, and i know you are aware of how involved i was in that, so you can imagine my disappointment when the very first chemical regulation you took was a watered-down rule that blocks back protections for workers and they finalized the ban on all consumer uses of chloride and paint strippers. inexplicably they failed to cover their workers as the original proposed ban did. i met with the mother of kevin hartley who died at age 21 while working using a chloride-based stripper he had been trained to use and we know people are dying using these on-the-job. in finalizing the consumer band.
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is that correct that you found out? you are being very specific and i want to make sure that i don't -- >> i believe you made the finding unreasonable risk with the human lethality. the answer clearly is yes. they found that the chemicals and paint strippers pose an unreasonable risk of acute human lethality and that epa is aware that the workers have died using this product on the job. is that correct? >> we institute the period for training and certification which
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has never been in place before. and during this if we determine we cannot have a program that would guarantee training and certification that would safeguard the workers then we could move to ban it as well. >> the young man i spoke about was trained -- >> the program by the federal government that was the training by being player or the manufacturers. we are looking at whether the product can be safely used by trained people and underaged training certification programs by the epa and federal government. >> i understand you have a pre- proposal to consider measures that could address any unreasonable risk that the epa could potentially find to be presented when used for commercial paint and coating removal. but we know the epa has already found there are unreasonable risks of human saudi crown gasoline chloride, and we know
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that workers are at risk. to me it is clear the workers and consumers need protection. i know that kevin hartley's mother would agree with that. this isn't the reform we all spend so much time and effort working on. now i would like to turn quickly to an important regulatory issue that the epa is working on in my home state that is the cleanup of the clinical. as you know the way that the epa is setup to interact with the state environment department is very different from how other asian these are set up. they have delegated authority as we've talked about here for things like this before her drinking act and the resource recovery act. so the epa delegates primary enforcement response ability to the states and indian tribes to clean up the contamination. as you probably know the state of new mexico is trying to compel the air force to clean up
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the contamination of groundwater that has resulted from the air force bases in new mexico, and now there is also ongoing litigation. given that the environment has primacy and delegation agreements from the epa, i think the epa is obligated to provide technical and legal assistance on groundwater cleanup on these matters. will you commit to provide the epa assistance to the state of new mexico environment department as they worked to cleawork to cleanup the contami? >> we had already offered assistance and we haven't, we certainly will. we worked with a couple dozen states and local communities on enforcement action across the country. i don't know why we would not do that -- >> we are happy to have that commitment. the tricky part, and i just want to clarify the very tricky part is in litigation with the
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department of justice and department of defense, so we hold that the information you share with the state isn't shared with their opponents but it can be held confidential because we are in an unusual situation where the air force is trying to push down the standards and the department of defense there's a lot of reports on this. they want the standards to be lowelowered and so it's importao us. the committee is adjourned
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the administration's proposal calls for a $2.7 billion which is an estimated 15% decrease from the previous year. aafter hearing the national park service deputy director answers questions about the impact on the national parks and the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog and the preservation of historical and cultural fights.


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