Skip to main content

Scott Pruitt
  EPA Administrator Pruitt Testifies at Oversight Hearing  CSPAN  January 30, 2018 10:00am-12:31pm EST

10:00 am
and live this morning here on c-span3, we're on capitol hill where epa administrator scott pruitt will be testifying. there he is before the camera there, his back turned to the camera. the chair of the committee,
10:01 am
we've seen him in the room. the ranking member is tom carper of delaware. and you're watching live coverage on c-span.
10:02 am
10:03 am
10:04 am
10:05 am
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
10:06 am
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 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
10:07 am
communities it pledged to protect. during the last administration, e approximate epa administrators 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 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
10:08 am
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 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
10:09 am
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 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
10:10 am
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 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
10:11 am
that was responsible for the pollution. pruitt rightfully called the obama administration's response to the epa caused animus river spill wrong. and he followed -- 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 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 committee -- 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.
10:12 am
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 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
10:13 am
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 chooef achievements. first, epa has moved to repeal the clean power plan but with no real replacement to protect americans from carbon dioxide pollution. similarly, epa has moved to repeal the clean water rule, but again, with no new pln to prote -- plan 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
10:14 am
gave you know 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 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,
10:15 am
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 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 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
10:16 am
congressional committees and cable news hosts that have asked you, and many of the so-called -- i really think they're platitudes that you often use to repeat. they're not really answers. let me just run through 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 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 states like mine a 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?
10:17 am
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 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
10:18 am
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 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
10:19 am
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. 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
10:20 am
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 to had 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
10:21 am
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 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. 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.
10:22 am
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 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
10:23 am
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 t sue 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 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 charpar 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 almost 30 states he's the 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
10:24 am
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 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
10:25 am
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 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.
10:26 am
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 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.
10:27 am
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 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 carelean air act, sta 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
10:28 am
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 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. >> mr. chairman, i think there are a couple things that i would say and you're speaking with particular emphasis on o sooen, a -- o ozone, and we are in the
10:29 am
process of designating attainment and nonattainment. there are around 50 or so areas that have not been designated yet that we endeavor to finish by april of this year. i think what's important when you 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. you've mentioned exceptional events. there are others. background levels, in addition to international global transport. we have some tremendous challenges with international air transport on ozone that we also need to somehow consider as we engage in the designation process. so we are earnestly looking at those implementation issues, mr. chairman, in addition to finishing that designation process by mid-april and your exceptional events question is very, very important as we engage in implementation going forward. >> thank you. i'll reserve the remainder of my time. senator carper. >> thanks, mr. chairman.
10:30 am
again, welcome, mr. pruitt. you have repeatedly stated that you want to follow the rule of law and work with states to protect our environment. sadly, you failed at both when it comes to clean air. clean air act requires the epa to partner with the states to address cross-state air pollution. these protections are critical for downwind states like delaware and our neighbors, are critical for downwind states not just like delaware but others up and down the east coast because we are located what i call the end of america's tail pipe. instead of working with states to address this pollution, your actions are actually making the problem worse. for example, you've rejected a request from northeastern states to coordinate with upwind states. you've also failed to answer at least six state pollution, several of which are from delaware, that ask epa to require upwind power plants to install or consistently operate already-installed pollution controls. and last week, you issued a memorandum to allow industry to
10:31 am
increase air emissions of toxic chemicals like arsenic, like networkr mercury, like lead, and further burdening states dealing with cross-state pollution. later on, we'll get to some questions that are not yes or no questions. i'm going to start with a series of yes or no questions. just answer them yes or no if you will, please. later on, you'll have a chance to expand. but just start off, yes or no, mr. pruitt, did epa do an analysis of the health effects of last week's decision, including an analysis of the potential increased cancer risk, did you? >> are you referring to once and always decision from last week, senator? yes, that was a policy decision that we have authority to make and the interpretation of statute. >> yes or no. to my question. >> as i indicated, senator, that's a policy decision that we made. as far as the once and always status of determining whether someone qualifies at certain levels under the statute. that was a decision that was
10:32 am
made outside of the program office of air. it was a policy office decision. >> i find it -- well, i'll 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? >> senator, that decision was a decision that took major emitters, as you know, under the statute, there are major emitters and what i would call minor emitters. >> i'm looking for a simple yes or no. >> those are not simple yes or no answers. i have to explain what we were doing with that decision. >> okay. i just -- i just want to say, i find it incredible that epa did this seemingly without knowing or caring about potential health effects of its actions. again, yes or no, will you revoke this memorandum until the analysis is actually completed and the public has had a chance to comment on it? will you? >> if i may, senator, i can
10:33 am
explain our decision from last week if you want me to. if not, we can continue. but that is a decision -- >> thank you very much. mr. pruitt, i wasn't too happy when the obama epa asked for a six-month delay to answer delaware's cross-state petitions. however, your administration seems to be ignoring those petitions altogether. the law requires an answer from the epa in 60 days and you and your team have had over a year to answer. let me again, this is a simple yes or no, will you commit to answering the overdue petition submitted to epa by delaware and other states that requests epa's help on cross-state air pollution. >> i commit that we'll get an answer to you very expeditiously. it's important, senator. you're right. >> can you do that within 30 days? is that asking too much? >> we'll endeavor to respond within that time frame. >> thank you. mr. pruitt, both the bush administration and the obama administration's epa concluded that global warming pollution
10:34 am
from cars and suvs was dangerous. this is known as the endangerment finding. federal appeals court also upheld this finding after you and others tried to overturn it. when you appeared before us during your confirmation hearing a year ago, you agreed that the endangerment finding was, quote, the law of the land. you often say that, quote, rule of law matters. in fact, you've actually made similar statements in congress no fewer than a dozen times. but since your confirmation hearing, seems you changed your tune. for example, last year, you told reuters there might be a legal basis to overturn epa's decision. you also stated in october and in december of last year that the process epa used to make the decision was flawed. mr. pruitt, the white house -- trump white house has said it wants epa on a transportation department to negotiate what i would describe as win-win on cafe and tail pipe standards with california. and that means that the policy of the trump administration must be to leave the endangerment finding alone.
10:35 am
because the endangerment finding is what gives epa and california the authority to write these rules in the first place. another yes or no, mr. pruitt, for as long as you are administrator, do you commit not to take any steps to repeal or replace the so-called endangerment finding? do you? >> senator, as i indicated in my confirmation hearing -- >> my time is just about expired. please, yes or no. >> the standards that you refer to -- >> yes or no. >> we are working through that process. >> do you take -- plan to take any steps to repeal or replaced the so-called endangerment finding. >> no decision or determination on that. >> mr. pruitt -- i'll just stop there. my time's expired. we'll have a second round. thank you very much. >> senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, administrator, for being here today. epa's back to basics agenda has resulted in economic viability across the nation while still ensuring the epa's primary mission of protecting the
10:36 am
environment is upheld. in 2017, nebraska hit a jobs milestone with an unemployment rate of 2.7%, which was reported last december. and mr. chairman, i would ask unanimous consent to commit for the record an article from the "lincoln journal star" highlighting nebraska's unemployment standing as the fourth lowest in the nation. thank you. administrator, this is a direct correlation to your efforts at the epa to streamline the regulatory process that has for many years negatively impacted job creators' ability to hire workers because they were forced to allocate resources to comply with many cumbersome regulations. and this past year, has been a welcome change for nebraska's public power utilities, our farmers and our ranchers, manufacturers, and small business owners. i'm encouraged by the epa's recent decision to revisit the 2017 regional haze rule.
10:37 am
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 doesn't make sense. many rural utilities have been a adversely affected by past regional haze actions. during the prior administration, epa repeatedly second guessed states' plans, including nebraska's 2012 plan, and instead imposed federal plans that forced the installation of unnecessary and costly controls that went well beyond what the states had demonstrated what was needed. as you know, nebraska is the only 100% public power state in the country, and that means that any cost that's incurred by the utility from regulations, it's passed on to every single one of our citizens. it's very important to me that you get this rule right. so, can you describe what
10:38 am
additional efforts epa is taking to improve the next phase of the regional haze program and the time line for those actions and how will the epa respect states and also make sure that electricity is not made more costly through these unnecessary regulations? >> senator, thank you for the question, and i would say to you that one of the interesting pieces of information that i discovered upon arriving at the agency was a collection of about 700 or so state implementation plans that had been prepared by states all over the country where resources, expertise, had been deployed to improve air quality across a full spectrum of programs -- to regional haze across the spectrum and there was a backlog with no response. we put an emphasis on that and that backlog is being addressed but to the question about regional haze is a portion of our statute to awards more primacy to the states.
10:39 am
so long as states are taking steps to reach that level by that point, they have tremendous latitude in how they achieve it. we are looking at those state implementation plans to which you refer, making sure that states are submitting plans that will reach those objectives by that time frame. >> i thank you for your commitment to that and 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 and that is the 2015 wotus rule. i applaud you and the administration's commitment to rescind the rule and focus on providing american businesses and families with really a clear definition of wotus that does not go beyond federal authority. can you share with us what the next steps are in the epa's process for repealing this rule?
10:40 am
>> yes, senator, and senator carper, this really goes to some things that you mentioned in your opening statement as well. this is not deregulation when we talk about wotus or the clean air act. we are providing regulatory certainty because there are steps being taken to provide a substitute, a replacement for wotus. there are steps being taken to provide a substitute or replacement to the cpp that we're in the midst of presently. so with respect to wotus, we have a withdrawal proposal that's out in the marketplace that will deal with that 2015 rule to provide certainty. and then we have a step two process that's ongoing to replace a substitute definition with what the textual and the statute and the case law says is waters of the united states. so we are working through that process. i anticipate that proposal, senator, coming out sometime in april, may of this year, the proposed substitute. and then hopefully finalizing that by the end of 2018. >> thank you, administrator. i look forward to reviewing that. >> thank you, senator fisher.
10:41 am
senator carden. >> administrator pruitt, thank you for being here. let me just preface my comments with your statements in regards to lead and drinking water. there is strong bipartisan support to help eliminate lead in drinking water and we hope that we can have an actionable agenda to accomplish that in a bipartisan way. i'm going to use my time to follow up on our confirmation hearings to talk about the chesapeake bay. you're not going to be sprieds -- surprised to know that. we have a new addition to the committee, my colleague from maryland so you're going to get more than just one senator and i want to thank senator carper for his interest in the bay as one of the bay states and senator capito and senator gillibrand. the bay is in better shape today as a result of the bay program. the recreational values, the economic values, land values, public health, they've all been improved. so i hope i have a chance to ask you three questions. if i don't have enough time,
10:42 am
i'll do the rest for the record dealing with the chesapeake bay program budget as submitted by the administration. the chesapeake bay office, the epa office in annapolis. the committee, fy 17 budget passed by congress was $73 million. our appropriation committees are working up numbers for fy 18 that are comparable. this committee on a bipartisan basis passed an authorization bill after the president's budget submission at $90 million. we need your help as an advocate. i remember our conversation as the chairman talked about, programs in which our state up -- local government to the federal government asking for the federal government's participation. that's 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
10:43 am
we're going to do. so can we get some help with you from omb to get the money in the president's budget? >> i seek to be persuasive, senator, but as i mentioned to senator van holland during the appropriations process, i'll say the same thing to you. it is important. i believe there's been tremendous success achieved through the program. i really appreciate congress's response during the budgeting process and i'll continue to work with you through that ensure that we address those issues that you've raised. >> thank you. i want to talk about the chesapeake bay office. it's co-located with usda, u.s. forest service, noaa, usgs and there's a synergy in this office. as i understand it, there's some concern by gsa particularly in that it's located in a floodplain, so there may very well be a need to relocate. we fully understand that. but i would ask that you get engaged on this, because i think keeping synergies with the other federal agencies is important, and having a location near the
10:44 am
chesapeake bay is symbolic and important. the location that epa was looking at was to move the epa office alone to fort meade, which is federal facilities and i can understand the cost issues of locating in federal facility. the problem is that it's not near the bay. and secondly, it's behind the fence line, which for d.o.d. has significant costs, because every person who visits the epa office has to go through the security network, which is already overtaxed because of budget concerns and the number of tenants that are located at fort meade. 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
10:45 am
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 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 yurjournal. 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 1st. and i would just urge you to give us time to make sure that
10:46 am
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. >> 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
10:47 am
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 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 ranchers 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
10:48 am
visiting with the senate to that end. i hope we can address it legislatively. but 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. 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
10:49 am
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. >> would you ask your team to get back with me. >> i will. >> thank you. fie finally. a more general question. the voices of farmers and 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
10:50 am
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. the ag sector is in that smart sector strategy. hopefully that will live on as well. that's something we instituted. >> that i think, mr. add minimum stray tore. >> it would be helpful if you were here 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
10:51 am
about super funds 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 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 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
10:52 am
state. last week, one of the top epa 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 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, simply a covering with rocks on top of it. we came in with a more permanent solution to the tune of $150
10:53 am
million. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you. i am interested in hearing about houston. >> it is an example. >> if you could get me in writi 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? >> 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. an issue i have been traveling on and seeing the 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
10:54 am
disproportionately effecting communities of color. on december 19th, they initiated a rule making process to revise protections for agricultural workers protection standard. that's a primary set of standards to protect over 2 million, including half million children from hazards of working with pesticides. among other problematic changes i am seeing, epa is considering lowering minimum age requirement that prohibits children from handling dead, dangerous pesticides if under 18 years old. the protection 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
10:55 am
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. 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 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, often their best chance of getting an advocate. i am worried about the rules. you cite the executive order on
10:56 am
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 mienlts when it comes -- minori when it comes to the populations disproportionately hurt, children handling chemicals for the more vulnerable populations, farm workers. >> 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
10:57 am
confirmation hearing, 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. 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 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 concerns to americans while
10:58 am
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 dressed, you traveled to des moines, iowa, met with over 50 stakeholders from across the ag industry at the farm bureau, and we left that round table really 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
10:59 am
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 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 1st, you noted that epa was actively exploring whether it possessed legal authority to issue a nationwide rvp or read vapor pressure waiver. and 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
11:00 am
being sold during summer months. can you give me an update on where this stands and do you today have clarification on whether 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 issue, it is determination about legal authority whether it can be granted nationally or not. it is my understanding senator fisher actually has some proposed legislation. >> she does. >> on that issue. 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? >> 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
11:01 am
consumers, and those producing e 15 and those in the administration. 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 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. >> well, senator, and mr. chairman, and others, this is an
11:02 am
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
11:03 am
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. >> 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 the 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
11:04 am
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. states were 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. >> 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
11:05 am
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? >> senator, i think as you know it is 1991 lead and copper rule. >> no 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. >> take this as a question for response. >> 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 two year delay is not acceptable. every day i have children who are exposed to lead and they
11:06 am
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 lead risk reduction program that trains contractors and educates the public about safely removing lead paint from homes. 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. 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 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
11:07 am
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? 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. 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 priority? will you prioritize this program to ensure it is fully funded,
11:08 am
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. i yield back. >> thank you. senat senator. >> 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.
11:09 am
>> 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. >> okay. 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 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
11:10 am
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 energy costs when it comes to regulations that you have been quoted as saying. 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
11:11 am
can other provisions, to impact cost of electricity. we endeavor to make sure the cost benefit analysis is considerate of those things an 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 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
11:12 am
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, generally laws of applicability. you go know litigation, one 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. 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
11:13 am
missed that. 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 administration, i agree with you that his single ar focus on naturally occurring gas as p pollutant came as a cost. do you have any that come to mind -- >> the containment issue, we have 40% roughly of the country in areas that don't meet air quality standards. 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.
11:14 am
we talked 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 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, i have to get back to that, but 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. >> 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
11:15 am
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. >> thank you. without objection. >> 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.
11:16 am
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 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.
11:17 am
i don't echo that at all. >> i am having technical difficulties. that was one statement. then the interview continued, and mr. campbell said the following. 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
11:18 am
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 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 4th, 2016 budget a president you believed then would be abusive to the constitution, a bully, and dangerous.
11:19 am
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 5th when you spent the day in tulsa, oklahoma. that night, you were scheduled to give a keynote address at a fund-raiser for the oklahoma republican party. because of the hatch act, you cancelled that event. you're not allowed to go and do fund raising 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. seems to me like it is an awful long way to go at taxpayer
11:20 am
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 fund-raiser. 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 the arkansas department of environmental quality sent me yesterday in support of epa recent decision to approve arkansas's revised regional haze state implementation plan. in regard to fostering increased cooperation with states to achieve environmental goals in a sensible, practical manner --
11:21 am
administrator, 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 to proceed to the goal of improving air quality. in the past, we've had a situation where the epa wanted 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 resources at the local level to achieve the outcomes and help provide clarity and
11:22 am
timing as far as getting it done. in the past we had an effort of displacing issuing plans at the expense of the state plans, and 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. >> 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 with governors, democrat and republican, to ensure they're aware of the issues from our perspective, learning from them, making sure that their respective executive
11:23 am
branch agencies are working with us to achieve that too, it is an effort to work with governors in addition to the agency partners we worked with for years. >> folks on the left spent a lot of resources selling a narrative that you locked career employees out of meetings, don't heed their input, considering the direction of the epa. are these allegations accurate and -- >> they're inaccurate. they're inaccurate. some of the things i heard with respect to not bringing note pads, i am encouraging of folks taking notes during meetings because i forget things often. we want to keep track where we're heading on an issue. not sure where those things came from. >> what does that, again, the false claims, what does that do to morale in the office? >> look, i think we have a lot of work to do, a lot of opportunities to do good things, and we try to stay focused on
11:24 am
that. i try to stay focused myself, working with career employees. yesterday had ses conference that i attended, i talked about importance of establishing goals and metrics, keeping track of those, and celebrating successes. i think for too long the agency has not been willing to state goals, what are we doing five years from now, setting it out and working to achieve it. something we all need to do better at. >> i would like to just reinforce senator inhoff's comments, how is that helping the environment versus hurting the environment getting rid of that? >> when you enter into negotiation to litigation and consent decree comes out without voices from across the country, it is short shifted. there are examples where states
11:25 am
endeavor to intervene in discussions and have been denied. and agreement is reached and then it is forced upon the states. so it is subverted voice of stakeholders at the state level among others and that's not a good way of doing business. >> thank you very much. >> senator markey. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. earlier did not answer senator on whether epa performed analysis of 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 industrial facilities like power plants, chemical factories are hazardous waste incinerators will no
11:26 am
longer be required to use state of the art technology, the gold standard, to reduce harmful emissions. this should be a very simple answer. there are 187 dangerous pollutants covered by this policy that you have rolled back. let's go through a few of these. arsenic. do you believe that more arsenic pollution is harmful to the public? >> yes. >> do you believe that 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 that more benzine pollution is harmful to the public health? >> yes, sir. >> well, your decision allows more of these pollutants, more of these toxics to go into the atmosphere, to go into the air,
11:27 am
to go into the water, to go 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's what the epa should ensure is on the books. but you're going to replace the gold standard with a lead standard. 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 is going to mean make arsenic great again. so this is not good for our country, it is not where we should be heading. that decision is an historically bad one last week and i urge you to reconsider it immediately. on the question of fuel economy standards, you say you are reviewing them now in response
11:28 am
to senator. the head of the epa office says he has no interest in withdrawing california's ability to regulate from a good solid public policy standpoint, the very best outcome fof all of us to achieve is one national program. do you agree with that? >> one national program is essential. >> one national program is essential. and do you support once again the maintenance, retention of the california waiver which massachusetts uses and many other states also use. do you support that. >> california, there are on-going discussions with carb in california. the agency that oversees matters. and it is our hope we can come to resolution as we visit about the standards in april of this year. senator, federal i doesn't means one can dictate to the rest of
11:29 am
the country. we recognize california's special status in the statute and are working to find consensus around the issues. >> massachusetts is part of that as are states of many of the members of this committee. and we want to retain that ability to have the highest standards possible. yes, we do want there to be harm onization, it happened under obama epa and department of transportation, but we are increasingly fearful there will be a roll back of fuel economy standards. there's one thing i would like you to keep in mind. we still import three million barrels of oil a day from saudi arabia, libya, kuwait, iraq. we should not be importing oil from these countries if we can increase our fuel economy
11:30 am
standards. fracking is reducing dependence, but so is fuel economy standards. we can't have no retreat. we are sending young men and women in uniform to the middle east to continue to protect that oil coming in from the middle east. 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 trump administration to understand that these young men and women are over there, not exclusively, but in part in order to protect that supply of oil. we will never be energy independent. we will never produce all of the oil we need in our country. 10 million barrels a day, 13 million barrels a day, we are still consuming 19 or 20 million barrels a day. fuel economy standards will back
11:31 am
2.5 million barrels a day. you should honor what massachusetts and california and other states want. >> if i may, senator, i think the issue you raised is important and also harmoniization. we are working diligently to harmonize efforts, to provide clarity on these issues. it is state, federalism and interagency. >> most important equities are young men and women sent to the middle east. we should ensure those standards stay as high as possible. >> senator carper. >> unanimous consent following the comments, if i could, mr. chairman, regional record, bush regional office concern stated ste several years ago with toxic roll backs. >> i would like a little mike time to respond to the ones in always in policy. in 2017, the state of connecticut supported the epa
11:32 am
decision to withdraw the policy. as a matter of fact, the state of connecticut said, quote, such a policy discourages pollution prevention efforts and often forces business owners with small hazardous pollutant emissions to expend significant resources, not consistent with air and health benefits achieved. state and federal regulatory agencies must expend significant resources on compliance and enforcement efforts for the facilities with small actual emissions often gaining little in air quality improvement. unanimous consent for the entire statement to be in the record. >> it would be interesting to know if the current governor of connecticut shares those same views. >> senator rounds. >> thank you. senator markey and i served together the last two years on
11:33 am
the subcommittee with oversite of the epa. one of the items i think we both agree on coming from different political approaches was the idea of sound science being critical in our discussions. i would like to go back a little bit. we have had senator markey make statements and express concerns versus existing gold standard, but i didn't hear the opportunity for you to respond and share thoughts on this. i would like to give you opportunity to share your thoughts and analysis on the decision that you made. >> the chairman made reference with his comments. not to mention investment by companies to achieve better outcomes from the environment. unl under the statute, there are major emitters. all the policy says is they make
11:34 am
investment and achieve outcomes to improve air quality or whatever the objective is, they meet the standards, they ought to be rewarded. senator, the issue is if you're a company and invested hundreds of millions for obstruction, this rewards investment conduct to achieve better outcome. my response to the pollutants is what i believe. we can achieve better outcomes by rewarding investment and encouraging companies to do that. >> i would like to take another step down the same line with regard to sound science. we had a lot of discussion about need to turn back. many of us feel in some cases on either side of the aisle we either win or lose when more information is interjected. i think we take our chances, look at the best sound science available to us. would you explain the steps that you've taken to make sure that
11:35 am
the agency decision making is based on the most current best available science. can you elaborate how your new guidance on the role of scientific advisory boards and conflict of interest will enhance the use much sound science at the agency. >> as you are aware and members of the committee are aware, we have 22 advisory committees that are at the agency. the science advisory board, board of scientific counselors, and members of those committees historically have been able to serve while receiving grants and providing independent counsel on the statute to the agency as far as rule making. that's something from my perspective that's not consistent with providing independence, if receiving a grant and there are oversite responsibilities with those on the advisory committees, at the same time they're rendering counsel on the other, we established a policy if you want
11:36 am
to continue receiving a grant, providing help to the agency on that side of the ledger, you can continue or continue serving as member of the committee, but you can't do both because that goes to independence of the review with respect to the integrity of the process. that was the heart of the policy initiative we adopted. >> thank you. there's been discussion about bio fuels and items like that. i am curious. i focused on corn ethanol being a critical part of our economic activity, but we also think we have a long term opportunity to add corn ethanol as a valuable octane enhancer with regard to liquid fuels. i'm curious, i think it is an item i suspect you spent time on with regard to all those issues, i would just like your thoughts, reasonable and discussion long
11:37 am
term about vieblability and oct enhancements coming of age. >> this goes to some of the questions the senator raised on fuel efficiency standards and cafe review. the agency long hasn't been considered the fuel side of the ledger as far as how to achieve better outcomes. high octane is one. europe looked at that, we have not. it is a design element of the vehicle. the fuel side is equally important. as we go through the cafe process, we are in fact looking at those issues. >> that includes the ability and most efficient ways to deliver octane from any number of sources, including ethanol in the future. >> we are agnostic about the source, it is more a high octane approach generally. >> thank you. >> senator? >> during the time you have been director, the agency has taken 15 actions related to air
11:38 am
quality. 15 of those diminished air quality, and zero improved quality. i heard from you quite a bit today about your interest in air quality. right now you're 0 for 15. so my question is how many of those 15 actions were supported by the american lung association which has been, made air quality a significant part of its advocacy effort. >> i am not sure. it is zero. >> you would expect as 15 actions diminished air quality. how many supported by american academy of pediatrics. >> i'm not sure. >> want to take a guess? >> i would say actually run the agency to improve air quality rather than diminish it in areas such as ozone and smog, methane, mercury, the list goes on and
11:39 am
on. >> on those issues, an example on ozone. we are implementing the 2015 standard as we speak. >> thank you. i will have you submit your extensive answer for the record, i know you're good at filibustering. we want to cover as much for the public. on ozone, you delayed that rule on april 7, 2017. let's turn to asbestos. to my colleague, you answer that there were a number of items you thought didn't contribute to health when you increase the amount of pollution. how about asbestos. if you increase that asbestos pollution, does that contribute to americans' health? >> no, it is something we ought to seek to do everything we can to eradicate. >> thank you. that is supported by the scientists, center for disease control reports malignant mess
11:40 am
oh theel only a comes from exposure to asbestos. patients have median survival of one year from time of diagnosis. in this particular area, the president has been very clear about his position which is the opposite of your position. i want to be absolutely clear. you disagree with the president when he says that asbestos is 100% safe. >> the issues with respect to asbestos are some of the initial challenges. we are working through those. >> i am not asking about spills, i ask if you agree or disagree with the president when he says asbestos is safe. >> it is one of the chemicals we are reviewing with respect to the toxic program. >> thank you. in that regard, there's a group that's a major importer of asbestos into the country. 95% is imported, and it is seeking exemption from the asbestos standard, whatever it might be, that comes out of the epa. are you inclined to grant
11:41 am
exemption to a group that imports 95% of asbestos into the united states? >> senator, i'm not, that's something i have to look into the status of that position. i am not familiar with the status at this time. >> conceptually. that doesn't mean much if 95% of imports of the asbestos is exempted from the standard. >> yes. as i indicated, i would have to check the status and report back to you. >> i encourage you to look at canada and look at brazil which reached logical conclusion where we started from that asbestos is hazardous and they banned it. and also there's emphasis at the epa to only look at the production of new items with asbestos in them, while ignoring the vast amount that is already in the environment and causing significant problems because it frays and therefore causes
11:42 am
contamination. will you commit to taking on asbestos both with the new asbestos products but also existing asbestos. >> it is one of the chemicals we are reviewing. i can tell you the issues you make reference to is important, that's why i mentioned disposal earlier. >> a recent report noted that although it is one of the priority chemicals that it and nine other priority chemicals are being slow walked in the agency, are you slow walking the priority of pollutants for americans? >> no, senator, as you know we had obligations to adopt three rules consistent with implementation, we achieved those. we added resources in the office to address backlog of chemical review. no, it is an absolute priority during our first year. >> outside observers are finding the opposite. i hope that we get details from you showing that in fact you're
11:43 am
working hard. this is a singular priority. >> senator van hollen. >> thank you. appreciate the exchange you had with senator carden. you would agree would you not that it is important that epa's decisions be based on facts, based on merit, based on the law and not on politics. would you agree with that? >> absolutely. in the sense as we do rule making, we have to build a record. >> i don't mean just that. in procurement, contracts, wouldn't you agree it needs to be based on law and merits, not
11:44 am
politics. >> i believe generally. >> generally? because it disturbed me to find this report back in december, it was head lienlined epa scouring anti-trump officials. one of my colleagues asked you about epa employees and morale, said you don't think there's reason for bad morale. are you familiar with the article, "new york times" piece? >> i'm not, senator. >> you should be. senator whitehouse and senator harris have written you a letter about it that you haven't responded to. what the article stated was that the epa contract that on a no bid basis with an entity called definers public affairs, are you familiar with that. >> i am familiar with a clipping
11:45 am
service that we have. i am familiar with the entity. >> this is a clipping service, co-founders, the clipping service are both well known republican operatives. and they got a no bid contract. can you commit to the committee that you'll be responding to the letters from senators on this committee regarding what happened in this case? >> yes, yes. it is my understanding that the contract was actually $87,000 less than paid the year before for the clipping service. >> that's right. is it appropriate that this 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. i am say this, the contract has actually been terminated today. we will provide additional information to you. >> the reason it caught my eye was in connection with something that senator carden raised. to end the contract for the chesapeake bay journal is being
11:46 am
reconsidered, it shouldn't have gotten to this point. it worries me as a window onto pollitt calization. what happened in that case, it was shortly after the bay journal published an article, and there are lots of articles and opinion pieces in the bay journal. shortly after they published an article questioning and criticizing the administration's position on environmental issues, especially climate change and the impact that could have on the chesapeake bay, and i encourage you to go to the naval academy because there they talk about their risks of rising sea level in annapolis on their operations there and around the world, but this bay journal wrote this piece, had a piece in there and it was shortly after that its contract was terminated, despite good performance review from epa in april. and the retired head of the bay
11:47 am
program just earlier this month in an interview to energy and environment daily said that it was politics that killed the funding for the bay journal. have you looked into this issue at all? >> i shared with your colleague senator carden about this, it is under reconsideration, and we are taking steps to address it. >> we wrote you in october on this issue. we would appreciate a written response as well. in an exchange that folks at the bay journal had with the epa folks making the decision, specifically john konkas who was on the phone with them, your assistant, i think administrator for public affairs, he reportedly said the following. this is john konkas. quote. well, everybody knows that the
11:48 am
american public doesn't trust the press and he saw no reason for us to fund the bay journal. unquote. is that a position that epa takes regarding its review of contracts like this? >> i think i've indicated, senator, the contract is under reconsideration and we will deal with it fairly. >> i understand. you understand this is now under litigation. my concern is a broader issue, right? we should never have gotten to this point. we should not get to the point where epa is making politically driven decisions on contracts where epa had found them to be in full performance. i just hope you will work with us to get all of 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'm most worried about it in combination with other stories about political decisions and
11:49 am
contracting coming out of the epa. so mr. chairman, i hope we agree on a partnership basis that no agency should be basing its decision on politics. and again, i appreciate your review of this decision but we really need to get to the bottom of how it happened so there's integrity in the process. thank you. >> senator sullivan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and administrator pruitt, good to see you, glad you're here. i heard it's been going great. it is good to have you here on a regular basis, so i appreciate that. i also appreciate the meeting you and senator whitehouse and i had recently, not sure if you mentioned it, but i thought it was -- >> missed that with the senator. >> i am actually serious. had a good meeting in your office, the three of us and our staffs. great to see senator van hollen here on a committee that gets a lot of stuff done.
11:50 am
we welcome him. i do want to mention on that issue of marine debris that you and senator whitehouse and i talked about, we do want to look at opportunities for the epa in addition to to noaa and other federal agencies to play an important role on that. it is a very strong -- there's a lot of strong bipartisan support on this issue, which is a huge environmental issue and it impacts my state, impacts rhode island, impacts every state, not just states with coastlines but every state in the country so he we had a lot of follow-up but appreciate you working with me and senator whitehouse on that. i also appreciate the chairman mentioned the things you have done. your focus on the rule of law process which is important. you've made decisions with regard to pebble mine and others that you're focussed a lot on
11:51 am
that process and some of the complaints here on this side, the vast majority of the states in america, democrat and republican led states opposed to wotus rule. that was a huge federal overreach. you have the support of the vast majority of the states and american citizens on that one. i want to mention another one, i'm glad you highlighted it in your opening testimony. you mentioned lead with regard to water and sewer and that's important and you can get bipartisan support on that. i want to remind you, we've talked about it a lot after the flint, michigan, scandal really
11:52 am
occurred people talked about how we needed to address aging infrastructure. my view is we need to address communities that have no infrastructure first, like other 30 communities in alaska that don't have water and sewer system that still use what are called honey buckets which don't smell good. don't smell like honey. it's american citizens removing their own human waste from their house because they don't have sewer systems and putting them in a lagoon. american citizens. it's a disgrace. we passed a bipartisan bill last congress in this committee that advances funding for communities that don't have water and sewer in, my. in america. thousands of my constituents and i certainly want your support on that. i'd like you to get to that
11:53 am
before the lead issue. it's a disgrace whether you live in alaska or any -- no american citizen should live in a community where it's like a third world country. >> i think this goes to part of the president's infrastructure proposal. as you're aware, 25% of the moneys that are part of the infrastructure package are going to go to rural communities across the country. i think water infrastructure is terribly important hopefully we'll address the issues. it's an aging infrastructure but those rural communities that even have it also need upgrades and corrosion control measures and the rest so there's opportunities across the spectrum with respect to these matters. >> great. let me just touch on another one and i'd like to work with you and your team on an issue that you raised here on abandoned mines and with regard to
11:54 am
abandoned mines, it's not just aban developed mines in america. we have a significant challenge with our good neighbors to the north -- not really to my north, they're to my state's east, canada where there are transboundary mines that impact the waters and fishing and tourism of southeast alaska. these are mines that are in canada, some of which have been abandoned, some of which had recently had huge spills like the mine in british columbia. i'm going to be heading to canada this week end to meet with senior officials there with my lieutenant governor to talk about this transboundary mine issue. and others but having the full weight of the federal government, the state department and the epa helping us on this where to be perfectly honest canada hasn't acted like a good
11:55 am
neighbor on this. they are ignoring our concerns and they're very legitimate concerns. so if i could get your commitment to help me and my state with regard to not just abandoned mines but transboundary mining in canada which negatively impacts clean water in america. can i get your commitment to work with us and the state department on that issue? >> yes, and we should work with ambassador kraft as well. we have similar challenges on the southern border not with respect to mines but tijuana and california with respect to water issues, sewage issues with mexico so we have boundary issues are very, very important. air and water that we need to work with our neighbors. >> good. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. we'll those the second round of questioning, two-minute round of questioning. senator carper would be first but if you want to relinquish
11:56 am
your time and call on senator whitehouse. >> thank you. two minutes are short so i'll try to be as quick as i can. i mentioned the may 5 day that you were going down to speak to the republican fund raiser in oklahoma. do you recall whether you went to that? >> i do not attend. we did receive an ethics review and i was authorized to go but when the event was publicized they did it in correctly -- >> would you tell us what you did that day? >> we'll provide the information pursuant to -- >> unredacted. >> that's something that we'll coordinate with this body. >> okay, because i don't see why you would block out parts of your schedule and all we have is the lunch. >>. you attend that event so the day could have been rescheduled. >> but you'd never know it because it's reacted and blacked out. >> we'll look and see how productive that is.
11:57 am
the second is that i had a request regarding the epa scientists who were instructed not to speak and withdrew themselves from the speaking roll at the narragansett bay conference. you may recall that it kicked up a big fuss in my area and a national fuss as well. it was a patent case of scientists being told not to speak about something they'd worked on for years. what you answered in response to our questions about that was this will not happen again. and i'm delighted. i think you're right that it should not happen again what we have not been given is an explanation of how it happened. who told whom what will you guarantee you will tell us how
11:58 am
that happened? looking back at why this happened, who told the e-mail chains, whatever the story was, let's get it out there. >> i'm advised by staff they did communicate to your office, that i do not attend your event. >> so now the question boils down to unblocking your schedule far day. >> we'll work on those issues. >> well, i'll take that as a very soft yes. >> thank you very much. and in your testimony, administrator, you have highlights how epa is committed to undoing regulation that is strangling economic growth and job creation. i travel all 99 counties in iowa so i hear this from businesses and manufacturers who are experiencing now tremendous growth as a result of undoing those burdensome regulations. how will the epa chart a path forward by returning power to
11:59 am
the states and maintaining this economic growth trend? >> that's the reason i mentioned in my opening comments the importance of the three principles, from rule of law to process to federalism. that isn't obligatory, it's es. when we adopt rules that are untethered to statutes, that means it's worry. they need to know that they can allocate those resources to achieve the outcomes. those are fundamental principles to achieve clarity, certainty, confidence in the american people and that they can take confidence in our actions. >> in the remaining 45 seconds, i would like to allow you to answer questions that you didn't have enough time to answer. >> senator, i think sometimes on these issues around the environment there are passionate issues on both sides.
12:00 pm
that's why i keep talking about civility and this approach to doing business that tries to find a pro-jobs and pro-environment combination. we don't to choose the between the two. we don't celebrate our progress and success enough. we've reduced those pollutants that we regulate under the national ambient air quality program by 65%. we have reduced co 2 from 2000 to 2014. and it's partly due to regulation but it's a partnership, an approach that we as a country are setting the pace at striking the balance between a growing economy and protecting our environment, being stewards of our environment going ahead. >> appreciate that. thank you for your partnership. >> thank you, senator ernst. senator merkley?
12:01 pm
sorry. senator duckworth here next. i apologize. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. pruitt, i'm holding in my hands a memorandum from the epa dated march 21, which is after you were confirmed as head. i would like this submitted. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> it's titled fy-'18 budget. it communicates final resource levels and policy guidance to support the environmental protection agencies fy-'18 budget submission. it suggests elimination of the great lakes restoration program. numerous programs betalked about including my previous mentioning of the statement about shutting down epa office region five as a cost avoidance rent cost avoidance measure.
12:02 pm
potomac yards region one, nine and five. you might want to make yourself familiar with this. in addition to your hefty domestic travel schedule, you have taken at least four foreign trips to include a recent trip to morocco a at a cost to $40,000 where according to the "washington post" you spent four days promoting the sale of american natural gas while your home state of oklahoma is the third largest sale of natural gas in the country, i don't understand what it has to do with epa's mission. natural gas, in case you were unaware, is under the jurisdiction is under the department of energy and that's the kind of thing the secretary of energy would do or perhaps someone running for governor of oklahoma or other elected office there but not consistent with what the head of the epa should
12:03 pm
be doing. will you provide which committee -- yes or no -- for receipts of international travel you have taken since being confirmed. >> i will do so. it will show i've attended you've attended two countries not four. >> the last two were canceled, japan and israel during the shutdown. >> we will provide that to the committee, yes. >> wonderful. and can i assume that like all decent americans that you didn't find morocco to be a shithole when you visited. >> your time has expired. >> as we discussed previously, i'm concerned about the levels of a toxic pfoa and pfos that have been found throughout new york state, from hoosac falls to newburgh on long island. congress regulate it had authority to regulate the safety of chemicals when it revised
12:04 pm
tosca. in that law, congress instructed the epa to consider the risks from all of the uses of a chemical that are "intended, known, or reasonably foreseen to be manufactured, processed, used in commerce or disposed of. your agency finalized as tosca implementation rules. despite congress's clear direction those rules ignored the public's exposure to the past uses of chemicals called legacy uses. however, legacy uses pose risks to public health because the past manufacturing disposal of those chemicals can contaminate groundwater as is currently the case with pfoa hoosac falls new york. this means epa will not like ll study the remedies from moving pcbs from the hudson -- sorry, page two. this means epa will likely not study the health risks from
12:05 pm
widespread exposure to chemicals like pfoa under the tosca law. you have said that "any action by the epa that exceeds the authority granted to it by congress by definition cannot be consistent with an agency's mission. epa's decision to ignore the clear intent of congress is not consistent with the agency's mission." will you please direct epa to revise the tosca implementation rules to comply with congress's direction that all uses of a chemical, including legacy uses, are studied? >> we are going to look at foreseeable uses. i'm very concerned. they have not been manufactured or deployed since early 2000 so all the issue we have with pfoa and pfos are legacy issues and we will focus upon that. >> okay. >> on the hudson river, i was very glad to see yesterday's announcement that epa is
12:06 pm
broadening the scope of its cleanup analysis to look at sediment samples from the upper hudson, the flood plane and asses c assess contamination on the lower hudson. epa is looking at the five year review that looks at the effectiveness of dredging -- sorry, i'm so awkward today. of dredging for removing pcbs from the hudson river. i'm very concerned that in the draft review report, epa determined that no additional pcb removal is needed even though restricts on the composition -- on the consumption of fish on the river are expected to remain for more than 50 -- 5-0 -- years. new york state and u.s. fish and wildlife services and national resource trustees disagree. will you incorporate the new sampling data in the five year
12:07 pm
review analysis. >> we are reviewing the samples as we speak there has been no final determination on that. there's been pcbs found in the flood plain in the 40 miles that's been dredge sod there's much work left to be done before we get clarity on that issue. >> will you review the final report before it's released and ensure the concerns raised are addressed. >> yes, i will. >> third topic. in december, epa released a list of 21 superfund sites that need immediate intense action. not a single site is in new york state despite the fact there are 86 superfund sites in our state. epa has offered no detailed explanation of how it arrived at this list. additionally, it's my understanding that when a freedom of information act request was filed asking for documents associated with epa's superfund task force, the respond was that not a single document from this 107-member
12:08 pm
task force existed other than the final public memo so that obviously is not true. will you commit to producing all documents related to how epa developed the 42 specific recommendations on how to improve the superfund program and the immediate intense action list of superfund sites within 15 business days? >> we'll deliver them to you by the end of the week. >> great. given your focus and interest in superfund sites, do you believe it's wise to cut the budget for epa superfund program. >> as i've indicated, with respect to the budgeting process, i have made it clear to the house that we will work to make sure priorities are funded. i am concerned about orphan sites, there are greater challenges beyond money but money matters to our success? that side of our responsibility so we will continue the discussion with you. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator inhofe, it was interesting, it was a full-page article in the "washington post"
12:09 pm
frid friday, january 26, 2018, about going through the work that the administrator is doing with regard to the superfunds the maps of the before and after and how talking about the good job being done by the administrator of the epa in addressing of superfunds. i don't know if you've seen this. >> if i may for a second mr. chairman, that regard, i think the sites that we highlighted in the last year are not meant to be exclusive. those are sites we see that media progress can be made within a time frame and so that list will continue to be populated with new sites. so it's not an exclusionary list at all. it was a matter of providing focus to our land and emergency management office on getting achievement in each of those respective areas. >> mr. chairman? >> senator carper? >> i'd asken in consent to submit for the record superfund materials that including several
12:10 pm
news articles about epa's superfund found the majority of the cleanups touted by mr. pruitt was the work of the obama administration. thank you, mr. chairman. >> and without objection i'll submit this record. senator inhofe? >> thank you, mr. chairman. since we were in the other committee not able to be here during this time i was told there are a couple things where you didn't have ample time to respond and they would -- actually there were two questions i was going to ask. these were the subject matter you didn't have time to respond to. you've been vocal about the differences of the epa being about stewartship versus prohibition. we've been through a period of prohibition. what is the difference and how are you moving epa from a policy
12:11 pm
of prohibition to stewardship? >> i think it's something the american people we need to wrestle with what is true environmentalism. that's a very important question because i think as we answer that question, to your question senator inhofe, many look at that as a prohibition to say that even though we've been blessed with natural resources to, again, power the world and feed the world that we put up fences and prevent the development of those resources and we've never done that as a country. we've been about implementing technology, innovation to achieve better outcomes as far as a mission but the american people expect us to use the natural resources and not let prohibition be our aim so we intend to talk about that and getting back to the basics as far as showing outcomes. >> what are similar of the enforcement response efforts that you believe show that you
12:12 pm
take your role as a steward of the environment under the law, that you take it seriously? >> it's interest, senator carper made an entry into the record as far as the superfund and saying that's the work of the previous administration. look, i mean, we take cases that come to us, the previous administration began but i'm proud of the work we've done over the last year getting accountability with respect to superfund. as an example, in houston, texas, there is a responsible party that for years has put rocks on top of a site that has dioxin and i went into houston with our team in region six and we came up with the conclusion of $115 million and we're enforcing it and the company has been objecting to that but we're getting accountability with respect to clean up so we're proud of the career employees and that's one example.
12:13 pm
>> could i say in very brief response, this will be part of my time. to that point, i understand there were 300 superfund sites yet to be cleaned up. >> more than that. >> we have an administration -- over 300. we have an administration that's asking for not more money to clean them up but less money. >> it's actually -- >> that's all. >> i still have time. yes, sir? >> there's 1340 plus sites that are yet to be remediated and most sites have a responsible party that has the noun do it. we have to have processes in place to hold them accountable to get those cleanups occurring. that's our process. >> we're going to head to senator merkley next. >> thank you.
12:14 pm
mr. pruitt you talked about having a red team/blue team exercise to examine the issue of climate change global warming. is that part of your plan? >> it's under conversation and the discussion is not whether -- there are questions that we know the answer to. there are questions we don't know the answer to. for example, what is the ideal surface temperature in the year 2100? is something that many folks have different perspective on so the red team/blue team exercise is an exercise to provide an opportunity for the american people to consume information from scientists that have different perspectives on key issues and could be used to build consensus in this body. as you know, the clean air act that was amended in 1990, many who were involved in that process recognize that co-2 was not part of the discussion under section 111. so we have much work to do legally and procedural ly but this is organization. >> it's my understanding that the white house has asked the
12:15 pm
agency not to go forward with red team/blue team? >> that's not true. >> public reports were incorrect? >> in this instance, yes. >> thank you. i will say the perception of the red team/blue team was that your entire intention was to on behalf of the koch brother cartel continue to mislead the american people about the very significant impacts of carbon pollution, casting doubt on established science, contrary to your contention that you like to listen to scientists. is it your sense that the scientific world is split down the middle on this question of whether carbon dioxide is warming the planet and causing significant damage in many ways to rural america, to our farming, to our fishing and forests? >> this idea of the read team/blue team exercise didn't originate with me. it originated from the scientists from nyu who worked for the obama administration.
12:16 pm
>> i'll be watching with interest whether you conducted, if you do conduct because we haven't seen any evidence in a way that sheds additional information of important issues or is just another effort to confuse the public over well-established scientific informatio information. >> senator merkley -- markly. >> sorry, it took me 20 years to get moakley and markly and now jeff and i have merkley -- >> your time expired. >> as you're figuring out your identity situation, to the record, superfund has been a priority under administrator pruitt. last week the epa announced a cleanup agreement for the largest superfund site, the montana standard is recoporting. epa administrator pruitt put butte and anaconda, a separate superfund site on the emphasis
12:17 pm
list that means both sides are being fast tracked for completion and are getting the immediate and intense attention. i'd like to enter this into the record, an article from the montana standard, january 26, 201 2018. >> mr. pruitt, it's my understanding that the epa has finalize finalized its conclusion that formaldehyde causes leukemia and other cancers and this that completed knew assess ment is ready to be held for public review. can you give us a status update as the epa's handling of the formaldehyde issue and conclusion that it does cause leukemias and other cancers? >> my understanding is similar to yours but i will confirm that
12:18 pm
and provide the information to you from the program office. >> will you commit to releasing that report which is already completed in a short period of time once you have reviewed it if it meets the standards which your epa staff has already established in terms of assessing that it does cause leukemia? >> i commit that i will look into that and make sure your office is aware of what we have and when we can release it. >> can you get me an answer within 10 days? >> yes. >> thank you. and i've also sent you over a series of letters seeking information about several different policies and processes that have been put in place at the epa, i have not received response to those letters. i would ask that you also look at those letters and provide a
12:19 pm
response in the shortest possible time. >> my very, very handy staff behind me indicates we provided answers to 100 questions a week ago so if there's additional questions beyond the 100 that you've submitted we'll get that to you. >> great, thank you. >> thank you. >> administrator pruitt, last month i sent you a letter encouraging the epa to withdraw its proposed rule on uranium recovery, isr. >> i didn't hear you. >> sorry. the last month i sent you a letter, the epa a letter asking the epa to withdraw its proposed rule in uranium recovery. this was proposed on january 19, 2017, one day before president barack obama left office. since then, the nuclear regulatory commission has come out -- our nation's principal
12:20 pm
regulator -- and state there had's no health or safety justification for rule making by the epa that came out one day before president obama left office. in they went on to say "in almost 40 years of operational experience, nuclear regulatory commission staff is aware of no documented instance of isr, in situ uranium recovery, wellfield being the source of contamination of an adjacent or nearby aquifer or in the saming a aquifer. when can we expect the epa whether or not to decide to scrap that information? >> i'll get that information back to your office. i'm not sure of the timing presently. >> senator carper, do you have a
12:21 pm
final round of questions. >> i would ask unanimous consent to have five minutes to ask these questions. >> say that again? >> since no one else is going to arrive, i would ask that i have five minutes to ask my last round of questions. and if senator inhofe would like to have more time -- >> since i've been at the other committee hearing, have you had your second round? >> no, i have not. >> i object. >> why thank you. we have something called the golden rule -- go ahead. >> just 20 seconds if the gentleman would yield. i just checked with my staff and there has been no answer to the question which is i posed to you mr. administrator. so i would ask, again, to respond in a timely fashion on that. thank you. >> there's something called the golden rule that we're reminded of almost every thursday when we gather in senator inhofe's
12:22 pm
office and meet with the chaplain of the united states senate, he reminds us to treat other people the way we want to be treated and it's not only appropriate in a hearing like this, it's appropriate when we're considering pollution that's put up in the air in states to the west of downwind states. including all of us who live on the east coast. and to the extent that this epa and this administration believes that the golden rule is a good idea, i would ask you consider applying the golden rule when it comes to cross border pollution. when i was governor of delaware, i could literally shut down my state's economy, cars, trucks, vans off the road, shut down businesses, we still would have been out of compliance for clean air because of stuff in other states. i don't like that and frankly i'm not sure i like being denied the opportunity to go from two minutes to five minutes when we have plenty of time. >> well -- >> no, i will not. >> mr. chairman, since my name has been referred to, let me just respond and say that there are four committee hearings at the same time today, we're trying to balance and if you
12:23 pm
can't one going longer than the other -- the ones you're punishing are the ones who have not had ample time to get even their first round of questioning in other committees so in sense of fairness, that's the reason. there's got to be an end to this sometime. >> mr. chairman, i want to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record the history of the obama epa's years long process to address the waters of the u.s. rule, this included hundreds of meetings across the country including one in delaware involving epa, army corps of engineers, farmers and builders. and the -- i think over a million public comments that were received during the course of the years long activity. and i'm told those million or so comments were responded to. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i have one more question i want to
12:24 pm
ask. implementing tosca, mr. pruitt, you said on numerous occasions -- and i quote you -- the only authority any agency has in the executive branch is the authority given to it by congress. when congress was negotiating the final text of the toxic substance control act, epa came to congress and asked for specific provisions that would allow the agency to move forward with bans for some uses of three highly toxic chemicals. congress agreed and that language is included in the final law. one of them chemicals is a paint stripper called methylene chloride is so dangerous it's killed people even when they're wearing protective gear. epa proposed banning these chemicals more than a year ago but more recent reports indicate epa may delay action on the uses of these chemicals for several more years which almost certainly will mean more people will get sick and probably some of them will die. yes or no, mr. pruitt? to wrap it up, will you commit to use the authority give on the epa by congress in the toxic substance control act and finalize these bans within the next 30 days.
12:25 pm
will you? >>. >> it's my understanding it's on the priority list as far as chemicals we're reviewing. tce and others so that's something i will confirm and clarify with the agency. but that was my understanding. >> i hope that means yes. mr. chairman, i would like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record more materials describing mr. pruitt's record at the epa. thank you. >> without objection. >> my final question was could you just share a little bit of the goals and metrics you're going to set for yourself and the year ahead? >>. >> at the end of last year we had sliz ted and surveyed each of our program offices in the agency to submit five-year goals and -- in air, water across the full spectrum of regulation and in that dialogue, we had a very collaborative discussion to set ambitious goals on attainment issues and other matters. and the metrics are really -- if you don't set a name -- it's been said if you don't know
12:26 pm
where you're going, any road will take you there. we're trying to set aims and objectives from water to air to chemical to superfund across the full spectrum so we can track how we're making progress. we have not done that before. before we arrived at the agency we didn't know how long it took to do a permit under the clean water act. we've surveyed that data and it takes years for us to do that. states do it within six months to a year so we are trying to find out how good or not we are at certain things and set objectives on how to improve and measure that daily to achieve outcomes. >> thank you very much administrator pruitt, appreciate you being here. members may submit questions in writing for the record by the close of business, we like to hear back from you, that will go through february 13. i want to thank you for your time and testimony. the hearing is adjourned.
12:27 pm
indissti [ indistinct audio ] [ indistinct audio )
12:28 pm
[ indistinct audio ]
12:29 pm
[ indistinct audio ] [ indistinct audio ).
12:30 pm
>> to want, president trump will give his first state of the union address to a joint session of congress. c-span coverage begins with a preview of the address followed by the state of the union at 9:00. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders announced the guests who will be attending and sitting in the first lady's box tonight. >> but i do want to make an announcement about one of the most important traditions, the guests who will be sitting in the first lady's box. i'll name a few of those individuals and a bit about them. first, corey adams. corey is a skilled welder at a plant in dayton, ohio. last year he and his wife were able to become first time homeowners and they will invest their extra money from the trump tax cuts into their two daughters' exication savings. elizabeth alvarado, evelyn rodriguez, robert