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tv   EPA Administrator on 2019 Budget Request  CSPAN  May 16, 2018 9:08pm-11:18pm EDT

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everything. so you're always thinking what's over the hill, what crisis might erupt? we should be thinking about it. he was very systematic in the way he governed. he met the press every week. he met congressional leaders every week. he chaired the national security council every week. he had his thumb on the government. he trusted the process. he believed the federal government could work well if it was well-led. >> "q&a" sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. scott a. administrator pruitt testified on the annual e.p.a. regulations. senators questioned him about his spending on travel and whether he had a favorable housing arrangement from the lobbyists. this is over two hours.
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>> good morning, everyone. today we're here to review the
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fq-2018 budget request for the environmental protection agency. i'd like to start by welcoming our witnesses. we welcome back to the committee, mr. pruitt. he is pruitt. he is accompanied by holly grave who is the chief financial officer for the agency. thank you both for coming back before the subcommittee. just a reminder the colleagues will follow the early bird rule. we'll have six minutes rounds of questions. i anticipate that there will be substantial interest in hearing this morning. so i ask members to try to stick with the time limit. we can do multiple rounds but the administrator has a hard stop at noon. so we will be working meet that. we also have a couple of votes at noon as well. each year the subcommittee holds a hearing to examine the e.p.a.'s budget request. in some years the budget is the focus of the committee. in other agencies actions draw the majority of the question. i would suggest that the size of the audience this morning is an
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indicator of substantial interest in this year's hearing. so i look forward to the dialogue. administrator pruitt, when you were before the committee last year, you said that you would work to return the e.p.a. to its core mission of ensuring clean water, clean air and clean land, something that we all encourage and support. you also stated a desire to treat state as equal partners rather thanned a vary sares and to have a corporate administrative approach in your actions. as you have worked through this past year, i have seen many steps that demonstrate that commitment to -- to those goals with regard to wotus suggest issue for a state like mine where approximately 2/3 of the state of alaska are considered wetlands. so for us this has very real implications. your commitment to work with me on -- on issues like the use of
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small remote incinerators. your efforts to avoid duplicative financial insurance requirements on hard rock mining. these are areas where we have had an opportunity to engage. and i think advance some common goals here. unfortunately, i am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency. instead of being asked about the work that you are doing on wotus or the clean power plan or the super fund program, i'm being asked really constantly asked to comment on security, on housing and on travel. instead of seeing articles about your efforts to return the agency to its core mission, i'm reading about your interactions with representatives of the industries that you regulate.
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now, some of this undoubtedly is a result of the gotcha age that we -- that we live in today that dominates the politics of today. but i do think there are legitimate questions that need to be answered. i know you had an opportunity to -- to speak before the house committees last week. and -- and get some of this information out on the record. and we will have an opportunity to do that today. series of investigations are now underway. i can hope that you can fully answer the questions of members that -- that they will post this morning. now, turning briefly to the physical year 2019 budget request, there was some effort in the fy-19 budget proposal to reflect the budget deal that raised spending caps. the administration's decision to use only portions of available funds guarantees that the fy-19 budget cannot fully match the final funding levels of the
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fy-18 omnibus. i recognize you made an effort to provide robust funding that have broad sp port in a -- support in a challenging budget requirement. although it makes great reductions, you do propose $27 million to help meet statutory duties which is important. the president maintains funding for the clean water and drinking water revolving funds as well as keeping the super fund program enacted level. some of the alaska specific concerns that i will share with you -- i see some on-the-ground examples, some very good things. some good programs that your budget is -- is proposing to substantially reduced or has proposed to eliminate. the community of fairbanks we've had an opportunity to talk about their air quality issues.
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fairbanks will have cleaner air because of the agency's use of targeted air share grants. we funded this at its highest level in fy-18. and you have proposed a reduction there. our villages will have cleaner water because of the alaska native villages program as well as a new program authorized in the wind act that we funded in the fy-18 omnibus that need basic water infrastructure and your proposal reduce that greatly. these are cuts that i can't support. so i want to in full disclosure highlight those. as i mentioned in last year's appropriations hearing and as played out in fy-18, the agency's final budget will not look a whole lot like this proposal. while the administration proposing a budget congress will use its pow wore the purse to
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reflect its spending priorities. and while there is a need to insure that we responsibly spend taxpayer dollars, many of the large cuts proposed in this budget, i believe are unsustainable and would make it difficult for the agency and its state partners to carry out their work. so i'm going to focus my efforts on restoring proposed cuts to state grant programs and to programs like the alaska native villages water program, the targetted air shed grants program and the raydon program which all have a direct impact on insuring human health. last year you committed to implement the budget that congress provides. and we anticipate that you would do so again in fy-19. as i close, i again want to thank you for the work that you ve committed to us on some notably lower profile issues that only affect alaska.
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my poor colleague from new mexico has to listen to me talk about fish waste grinding and small remote incinerators and p.m. 2.5. so these are areas that are of great concern for a state like mine. i know my colleagues have other issues that you will hear raised this morning. but again, i thank you for appearing before the committee. and i now turn to my ranking member senator yudal for his comments. >> thank you very much, madam chair. administrator pruitt, it's hard to know where to begin. every day there seems to be a new scandal and you at dead center. it's clear that i've had policy disagreements with you from the beginning. and i opposed your nomination. so it should come at no surprise when i asked you to resign. what is surprising is the bredth
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of voices that your leadership is disastrous. i think it is extraordinary that so many previous administrators of the. p.a. including republicans have lambasted your leadership. the very first e.p.a. administrator, a republican appointed by president nixon described your actions on the e.p.a. taking a meat acts to the protection of public health and the environment." he went on to say that you and your top staff "don't fundamentally agree with the mission of the agency." another republican former e.p.a. administrator christine todd whitman said "scott pruitt is unfit to run the e.p.a. because he lacks ethical integrity, a quality that is of the itmost important when entrusted with the environment and public
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health." there's nothing i can say here today that would come close to having such esteemed former officials chastise you publicly like that. but i will do my best because it needs to be said that your tenure at the e.p.a. is a betrayal of the american people. you have used your office to enrich yourself at the expense of the american taxpayer and public health and such abuses have led to several investigations. the e.p.a. inspector general is investigating your luxury travel, your trips back to oklahoma for football games, your cut rate condo rental from a lobbyist, your extensive use of clean drinking water programs to promote your political advisors and how one of your closest advisors was paid despite not showing up for work for three months. the government's nonpartisan watchdog the g.a.o., is investigating your questionable
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policies to stack e.p.a. science advisory committees with industry as well as lobbying -- as well as a lobbying video you started in urging political action. even your own white house is reviewing your sweetheart condo deal and your spending on your soundproof privacy booth. i can only wonder if more investigations will start based on your fast tracking a new super fund site at the behest of a conservative media personality and other reports that e.p.a. has taken quick actions to help political donors and lobbyists. one investigation has already been completed. one, i personally requested. the g.a.o. found that you broke the law by hiding taxpayer's spending on the privacy booth. i have a lot of questions for you today on this topic because one month later, you haven't followed the law by reporting to congress or the president, your
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boss, how you let this happen and how you plan to fix it. and now you haven't submitted to this committee the statutoryly required reports on all your other office spending as we is it here today trying to get to the bottom of your reckless spending. i'm announcing this morning that i just requested a new g.a.o. investigation. this one to determine if e.p.a. violated the appropriations law banning taxpayers' spending on publicity and propaganda by engaging in political speech via social media. the office of special council is also examining whether e.p.a.'s april 13th tweet violated the hatch act which governs the ethics of political speech by public employees. these two investigations into e.p.a.'s single tweet encapsulate a running theme. your disregard for ethics and
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your disregard to taxpayers' dollars. i'm tempted to say your scandals are a mere side show distracting us from the long lasting devastation your leadership has taken on human health and environment. indeed while your scandals clog up digital media, you've been hard at work dismantling scores of important protections. you've taken steps to roll back clean air and clean water protections, walked away from our historic global commitment to reduce the impacts of climate change. you've even managed to distort and unravel toxics reform which was recently enacted on a bipartisan basis. several of your attempts to haul progress on these and other public health efforts have been rejected by the courts for violating basic legal requirements for altering existing standards, requirements that you should be familiar with after decades of losing lawsuits
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against the e.p.a. before you took its helm. but ultimately administrator pruitt, i just can't separate your scandals from these shameless efforts to dismantle e.p.a. they are one in the same. both your scandals and your policy decisions abuse your position of public trust and make a mockery of your responsibilities as head of e.p.a. you show the same disregard for our ethical standards and fiscal controls as you show for the air we breathe and the water we drink. using your office to enrich yourself and your friends at the expense of the american taxpayer and the public health is a disgrace. the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal is yet another giant blinking sign that you don't take your responsibility to this country seriously. the budget proposes to slash e.p.a.'s research programs in half. got in the ability of the agency
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to identify throtes public health and the environment as well as solutions to those threats. the request also cuts nearly 50% of funds sent directly to the states. for example, the budget proposes to eliminate state funding for raydon poisoning prevention, childhood lead poisoning prevention, hazardous waste disposal, and even drinking water monitoring. this isn't coorpive federalism, this is flat-out abandonment. the request proposed to cut off ur efforts of the contaminated water still flowing from the gull king mine into areas of new mexico and the navajo nation. the $4 million is little more than you reported spending on your security details. and your promises a year ago to make sure the navajo and others
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harmed by the gold king mine skill are properly compensated have fallen completely flat. not one payment has been made. the budget proposes to give polluters a pass by cutting criminal and civil enforcement by a quarter. the budget backs off entirely from virtually all climate programs including voluntary coordination, international partnerships and basic monitoring. i'm not surprised to see that ou even proposed the cut e.p.a.'s inspector general by 10%. i suppose slowing down their work might sound appealing. administrator, pruitt, the budget proposal is dead on arrival because it would pull out the rug from underneath every single state and decimate critical public health and environmental programs. this budget request is also dead on arrival because it completely -- it is completely tone deaf to
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reality. this bipartisan congress has maintained steady funding for e.p.a. for the last two years running. and even boosted water infrastructure investment and lead redestruction programs despite the administration's draconian proposals to shake the administration into o bliff on. i'm not worried that this congress will accept drastic cuts to e.p.a.'s operating budget or the cut-off or that we are going to cut off support that we send to the states. what i am worried about administrator pruitt is that you've been abusing your position for extravagant travel and fine dining and cozying up to media personalities, donors an polluters. -- worrying that you haveer have enriched you and your
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friends. glad to see that senator lahey has joined us the ranking member on our appropriations committee. and thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator yudal. as a ranking member of the committee, you're certainly welcome to make an opening statement. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the courtesy. i appreciate what the senator said. and you know senator shelby and i have now issued a joint statement. we're trying very much to bring the appropriations committee back to what both of you have known it in the past. and we've issued a schedule now, mock-ups so they can finish every one of these bills, marked up in the committee by the end of june. and this is obviously an important hearing to review the budget. i have to agree with what senator yudal said when i came
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in. about this being a reckless and an unrealistic budgets. but i think what it does is it shows total con templet by you, administrator and the administration for bedrock environmental safeguards and for the work of the e.p.a. and the people in there nonbipartisan hard working people to monitor, protect and conserve our environment, the health of all americans. you attack the core mission, the role of the e.p.a., you attack human health. the work of the e.p.a. is essential for insuring that hair and water are clean. our land, our tree sured resource our health are protected from toxic chemical, the protection of climate change. i hair from vermonters, republicans and democrats alike about a seemingly endless stream of controversies at the e.p.a.
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it's troubling enough that your personal fundamental missions seem to be undermined by the mission of the agency you appointed to lead. but the embarrassment of these scandals continues in a pattern putting personal and special interest ahead of the well-being of the american people. your toxic agenda makes the united states more poll luted andless safe has extended beyond environmental policy and actually affected the confidence of the american people should have in their government. i think of vermonters in playing like bennington, vermont when they've seen a problem with toxic water. now they've sought that you have blocked the publication of a public health study on a clash of toxic kem cats that have threatened water supplies around the country including in bennington that's
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unconscienable. i waited for that report and found that you blocked it. it's incomprehensible to the people in bennington and vermont why an agency that works for them, their tax dollars are paying they turned her back on them and hide healthtried to dangers. a lot ofbeen given credit for cutting -- we find your causing far more uncertainty for these industries, with countless lawsuits that cost the taxpayers dollars. to savem rolling back americans $1 billion. but you remove protections for public health and the environment, you are costing the
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american people far more each year in near and long-term health costs. you have put the mission of the environmental protection agency on its head. you have done that to protect big polluters instead of the people. insinuating an agenda into the vital work of your science-based agency, by working to eviscerate the very marrow of the e.p.a. the american people are the ones who end up paying their bills with their health, some, with their lives and their children's lives. the mission of the e.p.a. is simple. this protect human health and the environment. not to protect industry friends. your friends in oklahoma, $10,000 and pay raises in defiance of the white house. not to put polluters first, or to travel first class around the
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world incidentally. what a silly reason you had to fly first-class. because of a danger to you unless you flew first class. he said nobody even knows who you are. and you go in there, or somebody might criticize you. you have security people we are never seen before. but you have to fly first-class. -- oh, come on. or to use your public office for private gain. certainly our job is not to weaken and unravel bedrock laws put in place by democrats and republicans alike. yet you come before the committee with an indefensible budget proposal. you are trailing a string of
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ethical lapses and controversies that are in -- an embarrassment to the agency and the democrats and republicans alike. we want and deserve environmental protections that work. offmoneyed interest buying -- the -- forget about and yourego first-class travel and your special phone booths and all these things that just make you a laughingstock. and your agency a laughingstock. thank you. >> thank you, senator. this is your time before the committee. we welcome your comments, your review of the budget that we have in front of us. thank you for being here. mr. pruitt: good morning.
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it is good to be with you this morning. i look forward to the questions and dialogue. there is consequential and important work being done at the e.p.a. since the beginning of the trump administration. both in terms of improved environmental outcomes and substantial regulatory reform. we are stripping burdensome costs from the american economy at an unprecedented pace. we're doing that while confidence in the american people will work with them in achieving harmony and environmental spiritual ship. we have made enormous progress in terms of outcomes. in 2017 we removed three times polluted sites in contaminated communities compared to previous administrations. in 2018 where on pace remove as many as 10 times the number. with regard to states, where working with them to improve air quality. we have review of 350 state
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environmental plans. with the water we are leading a multi-agency approach to eradicate lead from drinking water within 10 years. it is my goal to prioritize aslications to see as much $4 billion to replacement of lead service lines. the president has set a very ambitious agenda and we are achieving those objectives. tasked us withas the purpose of adopting our core mission more efficiently and effectively than before. he also asked we approach cover has a regulatory form. that changes happening. in one year to trump demonstration has saved the american people $8 billion in regulatory cost. e.p.a. alone has saved $1 million of that. these action provided the clarity americans deserve.
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we're ending a one-size-fits-all relation of energy dividers and by rescinding and rewriting the 2015 rule, where ending washington's landgrab across the country. it is indisputable we have made enormous progress in achieving better outcomes for the environment. of burdenck decades from -- the important work continues. the chairman mentioned my appearance in the last three weeks before the house committee. just in the last three weeks we have issued a proposed rule to strengthen the signage in issues from the e.p.a. it is fully transparent and underlying scientific information is publicly available to independently validate the science. we created a new office that continues improvement within the e.p.a.
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they will enable the agency to track coordinated agency action to ensure we respond and resolve the challenge quickly. prior to this administration the e.p.a. was not systematically tracking key actions like permitting or correcting environmental violations. with this new office, all parts of the e.p.a. will set ambitious and achievable targets for the new work, measure their results improve the process is to bridge the gap between targets and results. we proposed a rule preventing page stripping uses. that happened recently. outlininga memorandum a back to basics a back to basics agenda for reviewing the national ambient air quality standards to ensure the e.p.a. and its independent science advisors follow a transparent, timely and efficient process of reviewing and revising public
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health. this will bring the e.p.a. and its advisers back on track. statutory deadlines and issuance of timely implementation rules. finally, following our commitment to collaborate with states, tribes and localities to protect air quality, we have taken the next step to implement the national air quality standards for ozone from 2015. after designating most of the united states in november 17, the agency has now completed almost all remaining areas. more counties% meeting ozone quality across the country than we did before. these actions which will improve the efficiency of the e.p.a. in the lives of countless americans are only the highly of the epa's achievements of the last month alone. president trump has set a very ambitious achievement. we will servee, the american people effectively with our agenda. i look forward to your questions . >> thank you, administrator.
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i appreciate you outlining the issues that you have undertaken then agency towards, again, goals that i think we all recognize are the mission set within the e.p.a. clean air, clean water. you heard the very direct comments from my ranking member and from the ranking member of the full committee. as a mentioned in my opening, you had an opportunity to field similar criticism in a house hearing just last week or so. record, i think we have all had an opportunity to review that. what i would ask you at this point in time if you have anything you'd like to add to that in response to the issues
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that the senators have raised, or if you choose, you may just handle them directly as those questions come from them. what i wanted to give you the opportunity to supplement anything at the outset before i moved to the more legit-specific questions i have. mr. pruitt: thank you for the opportunity. it me say first and foremost understand the concern that has been raised by the ranking member. and your comments as well. i knew that i began this process over 16 months ago to lead this agency that the issues would be competitive. there are willed views that drive the decisions that we make. over the last several years we sit in competition with how we should approach our business. first and foremost we have had some advance in agenda that true environmentalism, environmental protection is prohibition. tried the things we have to focus upon at the agency and what i am tried to focus on is
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restoring the commitment of recognition that we as a country can be about managing our natural resources and do so with stewardship principles in mind as we advance the agenda. we have made some very important decisions. with respect to the double my situation in alaska, that was a very controversial decision made. we made a decision based upon the data, science and feedback provided by citizens in your state. and did what was right. thattly as i mentioned, was an obama-era regulation issued in january of 2017. i recently met with individuals -- are making the tough decisions with respect to environmental protection while at the same time restoring confidence in the american people that weakening gauge and regulations and not pick winners and losers and not engage in coercion with our actions. i think that has brought competition and criticism.
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i understood that from the beginning. there have been decisions over the last 16 or so months, i would not make the same decisions again. i'm sure we're going to talk about some of those. some of the areas of criticism are areas where process it -- processes at the agency were not able to prevent. them from happening. the decision with regard to the phone booth. there were not proper controls early to ensure a legal review of the obligation of the agency to inform congress and g.a.o. i started a process shortly after to find out that we institute those controls to make sure that doesn't happen again. we're going to talk about a number of those. it is my responsibility to take steps. one thing added shortly after the house meeting was sent out a memo that any expenditure over $5,000 it impacts my duties has to be approved by the deputy and chief of staff to ensure that
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all processes are being checked and there are proper controls in place. i share your concerns about some of these decisions. i want to rectify those going forward. i also want to highlight for you that some of the criticism is unfounded. and i think exaggerated. and i think it feeds this division we have seen around important issues we have seen around the environment. we cannot achieve progrowth policies and good environmental outcomes. it is my commitment to achieve that. i look forward to the discussion. >> thank you for that. let me move then to a policy initiative i mentioned in my opening statement, the issue related to the waters of the united states. i believe very strongly that what we have seen under the previous administration with the interpretation, was overly expensive. again, i mentioned that when you
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have two thirds of your state that is considered wetlands, it would have put even the most routine project in my state to anda. scrutiny and delay, possibly no advancement whatsoever. so i have been encouraged by the plans to re-examine the regulation and to come up with a more sensible proposal. so the question for you this morning is what is the status on that, in terms of updating the rule. i have heard rumbles out there that the timeframe for completion may be slipping on this. can you provide me any updates here? mr. pruitt: as far as the timing , there are actually three actions we are engaged in as an agency. there was a proposed withdrawal and replacement of the rule we have talked about, as well as a rule dealing with compliance dates in 2015.
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of the proposed withdrawal the rule from 2015 has not been issued yet. there was a supplemental notice that we will likely provide to the marketplace to provide additional opportunity for comment. actuallylan is to finalize the proposed withdrawal sometime in the first third quarter of this year, then have a replacement of the waters of the united states ruled by the end of the year. end of this by the month that we will actually have a proposed definition, replacement of the 2015 ruled that will go out for proposal for people to comment upon. that will begin either late this month or early next month. on that matter, if i might for a second, the waters of the united states rule, the purpose behind it as far as it weirded 2015 was to provide certainty that folks across the country needed clarity on where federal jurisdiction began and ended. as we look at what happened in
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2015, that did not occur. there was more uncertainty as opposed to certainty. so we have a job to do. to provide that clarity and certainty to the american people. it is not just the withdrawal, it is also the replacement that matters. >> thank you for that. senator udall. >> thank you, madam chair. administrator pruitt, there has been a delusion of reports about ethical and spending problems from your office. i would like to give you an opportunity to go on the record confirming or denying some of these reports. in the limited time we have, the public deserves real answers. do you know how many investigations into your ethics and spending are ongoing as of today? mr. pruitt: well, there are inquiries by the inspector general as you know. withhere are interactions them as well. as far as the total number of do not know. those agencies and offices are
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involved. >> by my count there are 14, including the inquiry i requested today. and i am confident the g.a.o. will accept. it is 16 if you include the two ongoing reviews from your bosses at the white house. toam chair, i ask consent submit that lists for the record. as a former attorney general, you and i share that responsibility, we did not serve at the same time -- and you are also a law enforcement official at the e.p.a. do you support special counsel mueller completing his investigation? mr. pruitt: i am sorry. investigation? >> do you support special counsel mueller completing his investigation? mr. pruitt: i am not --i think the process is continuing. >> it is a simple yes or no.
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do you support him completing his investigation? you are a law enforcement official. mr. pruitt: i think as attorney general, it is important for law enforcement, those investigators to serve prosecutors to provide adequate information to them to make informed decisions about whether to proceed. i did that as attorney general and i would hope that happened at a federal level as well. >> as you know, the right answer is yes. whenever there is an ongoing investigation, a president or rudolph giuliani or anybody else should not be interfering in that investigation, putting time limits on it or anything else. that's the reality. i am asking the questions. yesterday i requested an inquiry into the april 13 two weeks from the -- tweet from the e.p.a. official account where you mocked democratic senators opposing an e.p.a. official.
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are you aware that appropriations law prohibits federal spending on publicity and propaganda? mr. pruitt: i was unaware of the tweet. >> you are unaware of it. mr. pruitt: there should have been no mocking. >> do you apologize for it? mr. pruitt: the agency should not have done it. >> would you apologize to the democratic senators you are mocking? mr. pruitt: the agency should not have engaged in that process. -- let meee, i guess go on to the privacy booth. today marks one month since g.a -- announces the e.p.a. below are requires agencies to immediately report to the president and congress on how the violation happened and what you plan to do to fix it. but we have no report in hand. when do you plan to comply with
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the law by properly reporting this violation, including what e.p.a. plans to do to make sure it doesn't happen again, and to your boss the president and congress? mr. pruitt: as a mentioned in the comments i just provided, one of the things i learned in respect of this process is there were not proper controls in place. was contemporaneous on whether notification should occur to congress or whether it fell within the $5,000 threshold. >> you are required now to report it. you were required then. we do not have that report. are you going to report to us? mr. pruitt: it is my understanding that congress has been informed about it. >> no. you have not issued the report that is required and tell us how you are going to fix this. mr. pruitt: there's an ongoing investigation. >> will you do that? mr. pruitt: do what?
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>> submit the report that you are required to submit by law. mr. pruitt: once the information is collected we will. it is my understanding we had advised congress about it. if there is additional information needed, we will get it to congress. >> there is additional information needed because the g.a.o. found you violated the law, and they found you violated the law and you are required to make a report to the president and to the congress. you have not done so. then all additional expenditures after that are also required to be reported, can we have not had a report on that either. about this behavior with the sirens around town. you know, we have heard of your protective detail. eric wise told the new york times that when traveling you wanted to use lights and sirens, which are supposed to be
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reserved for emergencies, because you often ran late. two weeks after he protested he was removed from his position. did your security detail use sirens while you were in the car for nonemergencies? yes or no. yes or no? mr. pruitt: there are policies in place that govern the use of lights. those policies were followed to the best of my knowledge by each of the agents that served me. >> ok. here we go. [laughter] there have been reports that you encouraged the use of lights and sirens on your motorcade, even know there was not an emergency. is that true? mr. pruitt: i don't recall that happening. to my knowledge they fall of the policy. -- follow the policy. >> you personally requested the
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sirens and the flashing lights occur. mr. pruitt: i just indicated the agencies follow the policy to the best of my knowledge. >> you personally requested that on a number of trips. mr. pruitt: i do not recall that. >> i am going to submit for the ailord, madam chair, an em --eased this morning by your he sent an email and sayd, by the way, administrator pruitt encourages the use. i would like to give that to the record. thank you. >> senator hyde smith. thank you for convening this important hearing to review the environmental protection agency's fiscal year 2019 budget request. i'm honored to have the opportunity to serve on the
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interior procreation subcommittee and look forward to working with you. wrecking member udall and distinguished members -- ranking member udall and distinguished members -- pruitt, thank you for a. before the subcommittee today and all your very good leadership as head of the e.p.a. you have taken a common sense approach to the environmental regulatory process. for that i am truly grateful and i have been most impressed. i do have a couple of questions. over the past year, the e.p.a. has taken many important steps to expedite the cleanup of mississippi phosphate superfund site in pascagoula, mississippi. this aciate you making priority and i certainly commend you for your commitment to ensuring the superfund program is managed very efficiently and
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effectively. this effort will not only benefit the city of pascagoula and the mississippi coast but it will protect nurseries for aquatics. the action memorandum that you signed last month calls for $71.6 million in cleanup to take place in 2018 through 2020. plus $36 million for ongoing wastewater treatment during a three-year period. mississippi constituents are very encouraged by the e.p.a.'s plan for action. will you please elaborate or share your thoughts on the positive impacts of the superfund effort you will have on the mississippi gulf coast citizens and ecosystem, should the cleanup go as planned? mr. pruitt: thank you for your comments and the question. the mayor actually was in town at the time we did that. we added the site to the list in january 2018. i think the superfund impact,
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the approach we are taking to making sure that we prioritize action and get results, sometimes from an early perspective, it is making a substantial difference. i think this site is an example of that. also exemplary i think of how we should be partnering with those at the local level. what we have endeavored to do his work with mayors in the localities where the sites are located, along with governors, and make sure our program in washington and the region are trying to find answers with those partners. again, i think this is demonstrative of that. budget requests for 2019 include adequate resources for e.p.a. to carry out its action memorandum? mr. pruitt: the omnibus that was just adopted increased superfund allocation, which is hopeful. as you know, there are a series of orphan sites that make up our superfund portfolio. no responsible party.
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they are the minority of sites but they are very expensive and we have to use resources from the agency to achieve that. i think a continued emphasis on funding and the budget respect to superfund is very important to read -- to address those sites. another approach we are taking is getting accountability from those parties. to make sure the companies that have polluted the sites are held accountable, and that they actually pay for remediation in a timely fashion. i think both funding from a federal level and also accountability for the enforcement process are important. >> thank you. also, the previous administrations have made the process of pesticide legislations less critical. that has science traditionally supported a risk-based approach to regulating pesticides has given way to politics and emotions. as a former commissioner of agriculture for our state, this is very important to us that farmers in mississippi and throughout the southeast rely
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heavily on pesticide products to protect the investments they make every year to provide food and fiber to the world. i would like to personally thank you for visiting mississippi and several small farms last year in the fall. i further commend your leadership at e.p.a. in resetting the intent for the federal insecticide, fungicide act risk-based approach to regulating pesticides, and reestablishing a predictable regulatory process for the registration of these very critical products to farmers and ranchers and everyone else. you have brought true commonsense policy to the toncy, and i look forward working with you more in the future. i was interested to see your announcement this week establishing the new office of continuing improvement at e.p.a. with this new agencywide effort to improve the time it takes e.p.a. to complete many of its core functions benefit us aside
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registration -- mr. pruitt: that is actually the focus of the office of continued improvement. there are many deadlines congress imposes on the agency. the 15 year cycle on pesticides. routinely, those statutory time periods are not complied with. we did not keep track of them before. as i indicated, permitting the time between violation and enforcement, fixing the violation, the issue of deadlines, those are not tracked, nor was there accountability. the office of improvement is set up to address each of those. also to actually establish metrics and objectives. we have spent some time last year in the third and fourth quarter talking to each of our program offices and having them identify what is the objective they want to achieve over the next three to five years and setting those goals in place and
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tracking them on a daily basis. i am very encouraged by that process. hopeful that we will yield results as we go forward. >> one other is, what are some other key areas under e.p.a.'s jurisdiction in which this new office will streamline the regulatory process? mr. pruitt: i mentioned fermenting. we didn't even track the time it took to grant or deny permits. we marshaled that data together last year. surprising,terribly but it takes us a while to get the permitting process. we setting goals and objectives to actually finish that within a certain time period. of 2018 we will have processes in place to make sure decisions are made within six months on permits we review. >> very refreshing. thank you very much. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to talk a little bit about a few parochial issues for me. last year you committed to
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working with superfund committees in montana to increase transparency and have additional public input. i applaud that. i'm glad to hear that e.p.a. and bp arco are finally moving forward with a framework agreement to cleaning up beauty and can hopefully move forward soon with anaconda. but due to a court order sealing consent decree negotiations, the people of those communities do not know the broad strokes of what the cleanup is going to look like. so transparency has not happened and public input has not happened. ask the courtg to permission to share at least an overview of the proposed cleanup actions with the public? mr. pruitt: absolutely. if i might, with respect to buute, with the january action this year, there is a delisting occurring. we're making process but there is work left to be done.
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>> one of the key things is the butte and anaconda community to an extent have not had input on this. stuff has been done, sealed up, secret, not transparent at all. you will ask the court for permission to open that up and share it with the public? mr. pruitt: a justice would have to do that. we will have to work with a justice to do that but we will make that a chest. -- that request. we have had people on the ground soliciting and trying to get comments. >> i got it. but you understand, this has been going on for a long time in butte. i think you agree by your statements last year, i want to make sure we follow up and do that. the community needs to have input. they need to know what is going on. they can give input, but you have to know what is going on with the decrees in order to give adequate input on how to move forward, and that is all i am asking for you. mr. pruitt: absolutely.
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emphasis in each of these areas, community involvement. >> with that goes the opportunity to potentially listen to the input and change those degrees to meet the needs of the community. mr. pruitt: if we negotiate the enforcement, yes. o.i.g. report says a lack of even remedial -- it's an example of how understaffing can delay for decades. we don't know if people are at risk that we do think there is arsenic, copper, lead and zinc. this is a human health and safety issue that has been in place for decades. a site that -- there is still only one employee on the ground on the site.
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even between him and the regional director they're working to engage people on the ground to get the ball rolling. but they have not given them any additional resources or staff to get that ball rolling. how are these states going to get cleaned up? even high priorities like butte, if they cannot get the resources they need for even basic risk assessment? mr. pruitt: we have sent individuals from the headquarters here and also the region to engage with butte. i made a comment and minute ago, the funding from congress with superfund is important. we want to encourage increasing. i would be thankful if that was increased. that marty -- money would largely go to orphan sites that don't have a responsible party. with the regions to achieve better coordination to make sure there's an allocation of resources to address these high priority areas. what you are referencing is an administrator's list that put
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butte on. so it assassin will be a point of emphasis. >> i got that. but it takes more than just putting them on a list. mr. pruitt: i understand. >> they have to have the manpower, they have to have the resources, or it does not happen. they get on my list and that is as far as it goes. i am just asking you to make sure they do have the resources and the manpower. it is not going away unless we deal with it. mr. pruitt: i agree. >> so let me ask you this, i don't think butte is singular in the problem. there are 1700 sites i believe. mr. pruitt: 1340 plus. >> we will take your numbers. yet the o.i.g. says the offices are understaffed, and yet we get the proposal that superfund budget is being cut. did i read that wrong in the budget? mr. pruitt: the proposed budget actually propose to cut, yes. >> so we just had a conversation
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about evaluation. we just had -- [laughter] mr. pruitt: sometimes i am not as persuasive as a want to be. >> i pick up what you are laying down. thank you. the community of libya has struggled with this pestis. highest rate of us pestis -- asbetsos. important: it is terms of levels of funding for superfund. leadership of this program is important. funding is equally important and focusing on getting results. the reason we have a butte situation is a lack of awareness. so we are committed. >> there are plenty of things in this e.p.a. under your administration that i can be critical of, trust me. but you have made a commitment to clean up superfund sites. we have to have three of them in montana.
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i want to make sure we actually get together to clean those superfund sites up. because i agree with you on that. i think it is really important. but talk is cheap. and people and resources are important. because these things do not go away unless we spend what we need. whether it is manpower are actual dollars, to get them cleaned up. mr. pruitt: results matter. >> you better believe it. i will put the asbestos question to the record because i am out of time. >> thank you administrator for being here today. i want to set the scene you and i have talked about what happened in the state of west virginia over the last eight years in appalachia as a general region. now our unemployment rate is lower. some of theth is fastest in the country. and i think a lot of that is increased productivity. we have a lot more work to do but i think some of the good
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work that you are doing to take the regulatory route off of american workers -- boot off of american workers is appreciated. the power plan, that had the potential for very downside risk for west virginia. you did host a public meeting in our state over a two-day period. i appreciate that. the first time the e.p.a. has held an open meeting in our state for a long time. given whate to know, i have described as west virginia's present economic situation recovering, can you provide us with an update on your plans to replace the clean power plan, and how you intend to incorporate that a lick input that you have received from different stakeholders. mr. pruitt: we will approach the public input much like we did with discussion around the clean power plant. it's important we hear from stakeholders. we were not only in west virginia, we were in other places around the country. wyoming, california.
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that process will continue. we actually have an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the marketplace soliciting comment and input on the potential replacement to the clean power plant. we have a two-step process going on. one is the repeal, recension of the clean power plan as a rebozo. -- proposal. also a consideration of what would occur. a rulemaking process, collaborative process, stakeholder process. >> do you have any idea of the timing? mr. pruitt: we anticipate that in 2018. all of that occurring in 2018. for clean power plants specifically, with the supreme court against the -- it obviously never went into existence. the reason is because the agency tried twice to regulate these
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under section 11 of the clean air act and it is questionable what authority exists, which is why we are soliciting comments from the marketplace. >> thank you for that. virginianities in west have been particularly impacted by the releases of pro floor needed compounds into the environment. in recent days there have been reports of a study into the risks associated and safe maximum exposure limits these chemicals have been delayed by stakeholder agencies over staff concerns at his findings may impose a public relations challenge or demonstrate in some cases the federal government has an obligation to assist with remediation. we have a real vested interest in this. i want to hear your view on this. this is something that for those of us who are most directly impacted, we have already had a drinking water incident in my hometown that was very devastating several years ago
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with a chemical release. could you talk about this please? mr. pruitt: i think this may have been something that you made reference to as well. i wanted to make sure i provide clarity on this issue. we actually have a stakeholder summit occurring next week with over 200 participants, state, federal, interagency focus on addressing these. as you know, we have a health advisory with respect to this that we do not have with mcl. we have not taken action with respect to 107 surplus where it will be a hazardous substance to require clean up. i'mhat is something considering to discuss at the summit next week with stakeholders. we need to take more concrete action with respect to this. we will have toxicity standards established this summer with respect to gen x, a subsequent iteration.
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steps, to take concrete perhaps establish an mcl, perhaps labeling it a hazardous substance, and doing more than just having a health advisory. >> so what is your response? that is good news and i am glad that is ongoing. before press reports came out, what is your response to the question on this report? will it be published? will we see it before your stakeholder meeting next week? participanthhs is a in that summit next week. that there have been some holding back of the report. i think it's important to have all information in the marketplace. what is most important to me is not just studies. as you know, i think the health advisory is 70 parts per trillion, which is a very strong standard. but we need to make sure if there is a maximum containment
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approach, it is based on a record. that is what we would proceed with. after the summit next week. as far as information, we need more information, not less. >> i think you are in a position , with your strong statement here today, to encourage this information to come forward to see and look at it in a larger context of your meeting for next week. that appreciate the fact you are trying to reach the scientific limit that would impact any kind of health impacts in our area. regardless of who has to remediate and what degree a mediation -- what the remediation costs would be. there's been a lot of discussion about this for a number of years. but not much action. there needs to be concrete action taken by the respective agencies to address it. the two most important is the
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setting of an mcl and a 107 listing to focus on remediation. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. you are right. in your testimony you indicated that other were some policy positions -- there were some policy positions you had taken that caused controversy. i think everything you have taken is against protecting public health and our environment. take a look at your budget. it proposes massive bucks to the chesapeake bay program. from $73 million a year, a bipartisan commitment, to 1/10 of that amount and your budget. there is no way we can media health and environmental protection needs of the bay with that kind of budget. but i don't want to focus on those issues because they are a higher duty in a sense. weardless on our positions,
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have a duty to uphold the public trust and protect the taxpayer dollar. do you agree with that? mr. pruitt: i do. there arelity is that strong policy differences with lots of agency heads. i disagree with positions taken by now secretary pompeo when he was the director of intelligence. you are the only agency head to my knowledge to have anything ongoinghether it is 11 investigations or 16 ongoing investigations at a federal level. when you responded to the question about giving you an opportunity to respond and he started by saying, well, you are taking on these tough issues and his allegations of violations of public trust are primarily response to that. i really do not think you are taking this issue of public trust seriously. here's my question. with about 11 or 16 pending
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investigations, whatever it is, there have been reports that you intend to establish a legal defense fund. is that true? mr. pruitt: i understand that is being set up, yes. it has been set up. >> i want to make sure, however that works, you are not subject to more allegations or complaints that you are violating the public trust. mr. pruitt: we have actually here, heth my attorney has done this for a number of years to make sure it is done properly. >> just a couple questions on the commitments you can make today. will all donations to that defense fund be public? mr. pruitt: they will be published. pursuant to the requirements of exposures. >> will you commit today do not accept any donations from lobbyists or corporations that have business before the e.p.a.? mr. pruitt: absolutely. >> will you agree not to accept anonymous donations? mr. pruitt: let me clarify.
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i do not accept donations. >> let me ask you this. let me ask you this. will you print on the structure of your legal defense fund, the rules, will you make it clear that you will not accept anonymous donations? the office of legal counsel at the white house recommends a strongly against any of these legal defense funds having anonymous donations. i'm asking if as part of the rules of your legal defense fund, you will say he will not accept anonymous donations. mr. pruitt: whatever discussions with g.a.o. yields a net regard. >> will you accept the recommendation of the white house office of legal recommendation? mr. pruitt: they already are. >> will then you will not be accepting anonymous donations because the rules will not allow that. what has also troubled me, mr. administrator, is this sort of pattern of information that
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comes to light about violations of the public trust or misuse of taxpayer dollars. and then sort of your finger-pointing at others in the agency, it was really their fault. mr. udall asked you about it tweet, you said somebody else that it. here is a recent headline about the large salary increases you gave to some of your top people. government executive pruitt and steve -- jesus that personally approved pay raises that the 72% for top aides. it goes on to point out that having denied it at one point in a hearing before congress, you had to later technology signed off on that. my question relates to something that just came up in response to a letter to senators carper and white house with respect to security detail. because it has been your position that you were essentially accepting the security that was recommended to you by the folks who were
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responsible for security. right? that is the position you're taken. mr. pruitt: those decisions are made by law enforcement officials at the agency. >> ok. have you seen the response from the ig's office? mr. pruitt: i have it before me. >> what it says is that in fact, you may be request for 24/7 protection on the day you were confirmed as the ministry or. is that -- confirmed as administrator? is that true? mr. pruitt: on page five -- >> i am reading in response to question number five, it says, this is the response from the ig at the e.p.a.. they have informed the o.i.g. that e.p.a.'s protective service began providing 24/7 coverage of the administrator the first day
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he arrived. the decision was made after being informed that mr. pruitt recommended 24/7 protection was he was confirmed. is that true? did you requested? mr. pruitt: i was not at the agency at the time. this was before confirmation. the decision to provide 24/7 security was made as indicated by this report, by law enforcement career officials at the agency. >> mr. pruitt, the plain language of this letter, i read it, is that you requested it. there have been lots of hearings in the house and the senate where you have been pointing to an august 2017 report, document my the inspector general, which they made very clear was not a threat assessment, but it was a report. you have been pointing to that as justification for this increased 24/7 security when in fact it turns out you requested it be first day in february.
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>> you are mixing the issues here. the investor general investigates threats. protective service detail provides threat assessment. so, that is the distinction. the protective service detail at the agency, made the decision about the 24/7 coverage. the inspector general report is simply a compilation of threats that existed at the time where they are investigating the types of threats. >> i am not confused at all. legal argument you have made over time is you have faced all these additional threats, when in fact it turns out, at least according to this report, that you made the request for 24/7 security the first day that you were in office. is that true or not? >> your time has expired. we will have an opportunity in the second round. thank you. standards are danes. request.p.a. budget
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shows your commitment to refocus the e.p.a. to protect human health and the environment. to the mostome expensive superfund sites in the country. it was shared earlier in his hearing that montana has three superfund sites on the list. we actually have 17 superfund sites on the national priority list. i want to thank you for the work that your e.p.a. has done to make real progress on montana's sites. it is been a long time coming. and i am grateful for you are heeding my calls to do so. in one of our first meeting she talked about refocusing the e.p.a. to start to get back on results focused instead of activity-focus. i thank you for that. but we still have a lot of work to do. i want to talk about anaconda for a moment, which is near butte. people here a lot about butte
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and the superfund site there but i want to talk about anaconda first. they have requested that a health study be conducted to evaluate the lasting impacts of the former smelter, now turned superfund site. i understand the first steps are underway. you working with the agency for toxic substances and disease registry to seek appropriate public comment of the health study? mr. pruitt: yes. working with the state of montana in that regard. i think there has been one community listening session and others will occur. this is very important for this partnership. i mentioned earlier, i believe, that the local input, the state input, and federal input should be cohesive in trying to determine the best fund -- best
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way forward. >> the communities want to be heard. i have also heard good feedback that folks on the ground are listening to what the community has to say. my follow-up question is when will the results of that house assessment be made public -- health assessment be made public. mr. pruitt: it occurred on may 10. it is scheduled to be completed in march of 2019. >> ok. thank you. it is very important we have a commitment to that date. what about the local anaconda schools? i know the anaconda school district and the county have requested soil and dust sampling. could you provide an update on the e.p.a.'s efforts to meet those demands? mr. pruitt: yeah. arco is actually conducting ongoing sampling now through the spring with respect to school sites. i think the results we made
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available at the end of the school year. any additional be conducted over the summer to dress -- address gives leaving school. your commitment and diligence regarding the anaconda site. it is been a long time coming. it is crucial we put the health of montanans first in undertaking the site cleanup, and this is very important, we do this with the utmost transparency. and thank you for that. i want to shift gears and talk about butte. andou know, arco, e.p.a. state and local leadership in butte reached a conceptual agreement on a consent and agree to address future cleanup at the silver bow butte area superfund site. this was an important first step towards a long-term remedy. with the residents of butte want to know is what exactly is in that agreement? and so to why, for that matter.
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i know you committed earlier in his hearing -- this hearing that he will work to lift that court gag order currently keeping the agreement in the dark. i want to thank you for that commitment. but once the gag order is lifted, can i get your assurance that your team will get to butte quickly to take community input on the details of that agreement? mr. pruitt: yes. in fact we have had many members of our team headed to butte, in addition with regional representation as well. i cannot emphasize enough the importance of community stakeholders having a voice in the process. we have sites all over the country where that process has been revived. i think there is much optimism with respect to stakeholders having more say at the local level. that is something we will make sure happens in butte. >> i'm encouraged by the
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responses and the commitment. having montana input and local input on the superfund cleanup process excessively essential. isant to also provide -- absolutely essential. doug has had a very proactive approach to carrying out the mission of the e.p.a. he has built relationships with local leaders. and he is working good -- working to address concern. there are still a long path in front of us we have to walk. but he has been a pleasure to work with. i look forward to continue to doing so with him and with you. i want to ask you to keep your eyes on butte and anaconda as well as our other superfund sites on the national priority list, as we make additional headway in bringing these montana superfund sites back to clean, productive reuse. mr. pruitt: doug is good doing
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-- doing a good job. we are seeing results not only in montana but across the region as a whole. we'll definitely keep r.i.m the ball. -- keep our eye on the ball. >> we will now begin our second round. both senators are montana have asked you to keep an eye on butte and montana, i want you to keep an eye on fairbanks. the challenges that they have with regards to meeting e.p.a. air quality requirements. i have worked hard to ensure that the borough was eligible to apply for a grant under the targeted airship grant program. i was very pleased that we were able to deliver good news with your help to that community for additional resources to help them take actions like a wooden stove change at that can have a positive impact on the air quality.
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as you are likely aware, e.p.a. has reclassify fairbanks as a serious nonattainment air for the fine particular and air pollution. and it requires the state to formulate a plan attainment no later than december 31. and we have had an opportunity to speak about this issue and the very specific challenges that fairbanks has at this point. access to alternative energy sources are limited. they do not have natural gas that comes into the community yet. we have been working for years talking about various proposals, everything from trucking to the hopes that we will see the ability to have gas pipes. but our reality is that we are very, there is limited with the options. and the complex situation is made more complicated because of fairbanks' georaphy,
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--geography, low temperatures in the winter. i need to hear from you again, the commitment that you will provide me as well as your team to really work with the communities, work with the borough, to address the challenges that they face. but we have got to find a way so that residents are able to have cleaner air, without breathing , a timeline that perhaps might not be attainable. sen. murkowski: the designation to isefer to -- refer important. we have been working diligently
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to a these matters at the epa. ing to require rulemak address the standards that have been set. i have been engaged in conversations about alternatives. want certainty and clarity and to make sure the standards have been set and they achieve what they are supposed to and we take into consideration exceptional circumstances. sen. murkowski: i appreciate the recognition we have to do more that provides for that level of certainty. we were able to include additional funding in the '18 omnibus for the targeted air share credit program. hopefully they would be considered favorably given the situation. i appreciate the multipronged
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approach you are taking to this serious challenge. admin pruitt: the targeted grants were $4 million or so, in 2017 and 2018. sen. murkowski: which helps the community a great deal. let me speak to a more parochial issue, the diesel generators in our remote villages. in the omnibus bill, the included language that requires epa to re-examine regulations related to diesel generators used to generate power in our rual alaskan communities -- rural alaskan communities. tomany do not have access any kind of a grid. under this regulation, generators purchased after 2014
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have to have a diesel particulate filter if they are going to use it as the primary power generator. these filters have an extraordinarily high failure fact compounded with the these upgrades can only be done by specific technicians that don't exist in these villages. to compound and complicate an issue. this directivet in place about a month ago. i don't expect it to be stage.ed at this i hope you can provide me with a status on the review and your commitment to helping us find a workable solution for these remote alaskan of micro-grids. i received a communication from
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organization leadership in a region of alaska, outlining their very immediate concerns and asking for that level of help. admin. pruitt: there is a categorical prohibition against moneys being used to a dress enforce as -- existing standards. -- address or enforce existing standards. we will try to comply with the language from the ominous bill admin. pruitt: sen. murkowski: thank you, let me turn to senator udall. dall: did you personally, on your first day, ask for 24/7 protection for yourself? i --udall:
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admin. pruitt: i did not direct that. sen. udall: your answer is no. admin. pruitt: i did not direct that on the first day. sen. udall: all of the documents dispute that. admin. pruitt: senator, i -- >> all the documents dispute that. my understanding from the reporting on this is that you have never had a security assessment to determine whether 24/7 was required. int was reported yesterday the washington post. when we sat in this room together in june of last year i wouldyou to confirm you respond to all questions, including written correspondence from the majority and minority members of the subcommittee as quickly was possible. your answer was, "yes, without
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question." does that commitment still stand? admin. pruitt: yes. sen. udall: why have you not answered my letters related to your condo rental in washington dc? admin. pruitt: i will check. i really want to read specifically from the section you made reference to a minute ago. it is important to there is clarity around this issue of 24/7. sen. udall: we have all the documents. admin. pruitt: the office of criminal enforcement provides 24/7 coverage and the decision was made by the office of criminal -- sen. udall: i understand that. i have limited time. we have all the documents in the record and you can make your arguments. we will put them all into the record. i have several of them right
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here. thank you, madam chair for that -- madame chair, for that. do you see a conflict of interest in accepting a pretty good housing deal from a lobbyist couple that has business before the epa? admin. pruitt: the ethics officials act the agency -- at the agency performed etiquette reviews saying they are consistent -- these terms are consistent with comparable rates in the marketplace. at the time, it was. steve hart is a longtime friend. sen. udall: let's stop there. he was not registered as a lobbyist. here is his firm email. answer the question. hill," --old "the
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"an independent review of the advanced quarterly filing deadline included that mr. hart had a filing deadline with a lobbyist protection agency in the first quarter of 2018." do you think that is acceptable to have this individual, a lobbyist, and then you rent a room from him at a good deal? yes or no? admin. pruitt: this was in the first quarter of 2018. mr. hart was not listed on that disclosure. sen. udall: he was a lobbyist and you rented a room from him and you had issues pending before your agency at the time that hart's firm were working on. that is the exact swap that president swamp -- that president trump was trying to get rid of.
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over and over again, whether it is sirens, perks for you and your friends, for the staff, it has been reported a member of a 33%taff, one who got raise to over $114,000 earlier this year, househunting for you during work hours, a violation of federal roles as well as a misuse of taxpayer dollars. did your staff contact realtors and arranged horse for you during working hours? -- tours for you during working hours? yes or no? activity was: all done on personal time. the person you are referring to is a long time friend of myself and my wife. you are an attorney
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general and law enforcement official. prohibitations directing a subordinate to do personal work for you. if you volunteer -- if they volunteer, services must be paid for at fair market value. it does not cut it that they are a friend. did you pay them at the time? individualtt: the engaged in activities on personal time. sen. udall: did you pay them for it? randy: -- admin. pruitt: no. sen. udall: that is a gift in violation of federal law. mr.e is an investigation if avis came to the office. he was your director of your office of policy. yes or no? admin. pruitt: yes.
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she was head of policy at the apa -- epa. sen. udall: we try to make sure these people come to work. she came to work for three months? admin. pruitt: i interacted with her multiple times in that process. sen. udall: those three months? admin. pruitt: she was attending meetings with me and others in the agency. sen. udall: she worked the whole time, that is your testimony? admin. pruitt: that is not what i said. months of: during the november through january, was she working for you? admin. pruitt: she was employed at the agency and there is a review of the process on going into the record will bear that out. sen. udall: my time is up. >> senator van hollen. sen. van hollen: we will put the
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documents in the record. the decision to provide a 24/7 was made by the office of forensics,forcement, and training, after being informed mr. pruitt requested 24/7 protection. i know you keep trying to say it was their idea, but it says they made that decision after you requested it. i did not direct that decision to be made. you remember my confirmation process. this is an ongoing process. sen. van hollen: i am breeding. i am reading from the ig report. it says the decision was made after you requested 24/7 attack after youat it --
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requested 24/7 protection. they don't engage in assessments. the protective service detail does that. the document referred to earlier is simply a snapshot in time of what was investigated by the agency. no one said it was an assessment. sen. van hollen: i am not at all confused between the fact the ig's office documents things that happen. preventt their job to the threat assessment. what the ig is saying, when they asked the folks that work. -- that were responsible for providing security, that office they provided 24/7 protection after you requested it, not because they did it
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assessment that justified the need for 24/7. they are the: individuals that made the decision. if the newllen: administrator comes in and says, and they/7 protection, provided, you are right. admin. pruitt: i did not experience that. sen. van hollen: that is what this says. the chronology says they made that decision after your request. report and i assume they take this job seriously. let me ask you about statements made by someone who used to work for you, one of your deputies chief of staff. is that how you pronounce this? admin. pruitt: sounds right. sen. van hollen: are you away or the allegations he has made? he says he was fired by you,
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because he brought to your attention some issues regarding misspending and violations of the public trust. some of theiew with members of the environment of public works committee, he said "every time you try to find out about something, you got into trouble." they go on to detail lots of statements your former deputy chief of staff made about your conduct and decisions. in a lettercumented dated april 12, 2018. are you familiar with this letter? admin. pruitt: i am, but not all of its contents. sen. van hollen: have you had a chance to review? admin. pruitt: it has been sometime. suggestionslen: the have been made through your testimony that people who have
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policy differences with you would be motivated to make more out of these things than is justified. this is coming from someone who strongly supports the president's agenda and has no differences with you on a policy agenda. president trump gave him a shout out. he said today that he supports the president's agenda and does have not have any issues with the policies -- does not have any issues with the policies you are pursuing. do you have any reason why he would be making the statements, other than if they are truthful? admin. pruitt: i had limited interactions with kevin. the most interaction i had with him was in the field. i am not aware of any personal personnel decisions being made with respect to policy, budget, or state issues. i did not have that kind of interaction with him. i don't know what he is referring to.
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sen. van hollen: he has a locked in here. i encourage you to take a look. you provideis, will the documents requested in this april 12th letter? admin. pruitt: that is in process. sen. van hollen: that is a yes? admin. pruitt: yes. sen. van hollen: thank you. sen. murkowski: let me speak to you about some of the water programs in this country, infrastructure. 2018 on the best, i included $20 million to help disadvantaged communities obtain basic water infrastructure,
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through the program created a couple years ago. we enacted the water infrastructure improvement for the nation act. this is the first time the program has received funding. i am curious to know how long you anticipate -- what will it take for you to get this program up and running? we are looking at this as an extraordinary opportunity to help facilitate a level of public safety that has been lacking for a long time. when you don't have clean drinking water, sewer and wastewater systems, the diseases we deal with, the health conditions we worry about, are greater amplified. can you give me a sense as to how you anticipate moving forward with this program?
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admin. pruitt: rural communities, in addition to heavily dense urban markets, with respect to lead, as i mentioned in my opening comments, we need to be much more intentional about replacing these lines across the country. you highlighted that rural communities have as great a challenge and a sometimes not the resources to address it. we are looking at a regionalization approach that regional water systems to submit applications, nds toieve access to fu help them in improving their systems. we are looking at a regionalization approach. to,$30 million you referred we are putting in the process to implement that. there is money in the budget for
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schools, $20 million, with respect to schools and lead. it is part of our overall strategy we implement fact, along with the approach i referenced earlier. sen. van hollen: now that lithia is fully staffed and loans are expectssued, should we the rule out of these loans to happen relatively quickly? nearly doubled the size of this program, as i understand it. i don't know whether that means we needed to look to additional staffing for that. what is your assessment on the capability of this program? isin. pruitt: some of it awareness. a lot of communities simply are not aware of the opportunity. there is an effort we should engage in to work with governors
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and others to raise awareness opportunities. we extended the deadline for applications until the end of july. wanted to engage aggressively about trying to make it communities aware of the opportunity. the programs are not a nascent situation, but it is in communities can do more to advance awareness and solicit applications that will make a difference. applications impact multiple communities. it is innovative and the first of its kind. we try to use that as an example for the rest of the country to give more velocity as far as investment in these water infrastructure systems. sen. van hollen: -- murkowski: that is an area
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we look forward to working with you on. water, and water sanitation. small remote incinerators, your me talking about this one a lot. we included a provision in the omnibus to limit the epa's ability to enforce regulation related to the small remote incinerators used for solid waste disposal. the application in so many parts veryaska, you are in remote areas, almost always inaccessible by road. you don't have other options for solid waste disposal, for the most part. the option that we have is you helicopter out the solid waste. if you are working to reduce your levels of emissions, having
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helicopter flights to reduce oil remote mine sites and drilling areas, you are termsing your purpose in of how you are monitoring your emissions. we included this language in the omnibus. it is not a permanent solution. we have had discussions with you. i braced it with the assistant administrator. we want to work with the epa to find a solution. both of you have committed to working with us. we have ainking resolve and one year later, i am still in front of the committee and the epa administrator is we continue to have
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these conversations, but we haven't gotten to that permanent solution. we have got to figure this one out. admin. pruitt: one of these situations i believe we need much pragmatism to fix. it is unique for the community. we need to recognize that and find solutions that address the uniqueness. sen. murkowski: often timessen. murkowski:, it is just a very site. operational how we can help facilitate that is something we want to work with you on. udall: i would like to in the lobbying disclosure forms for steven hart. murkowski: those will be part of the record. sen. udall: thank you.
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related to the search for the apartment and housing, mr. administrator, will you provide copies of all females and other documents related to your apartment search, including any from your staff? admin. pruitt: yes. sen. udall: thank you. can you do that within 10 days? ils from thet: ema agency is what i trust you are asking for. sen. udall: i am asking for any emails that relate to this. emails from the agency are included. admin. pruitt: we will respond expeditiously, yes. sen. udall: you are willing to give us other emails? admin. pruitt: from the agency, yes. sen. udall: you have spoken about the rule of law.
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you are familiar with the ,reedom of information act which requires the full disclosure of documents written by the u.s. government. was there a full disclosure of this act before this request? admin. pruitt: maybe you can define that sen. udall: there are only nine exceptions to foia, and none of them are political purposes. you put in a political foia request by steph at your level. admin. pruitt: the office of general counsel files exemptions. sen. udall: and they don't put any political review? reviews thet: gc statute and follows it as too far as the exemptions.
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sen. udall: you haven't asked for a political review? admin. pruitt: i have already answered the question. sen. udall: multiple news reports indicated your press team was shopping negative stories about press secretary ryan zinke to take attention away from your scandals. it would be embarrassing to president trump that one of his agencies is trying to smear one of his cabinet secretaries. is your staff working to undermine cabinet officials to distract from your negative media attention? admin. pruitt: absolutely not. we investigated that. my chief of staff called zinke's in the very moment that came up. it was determined that was not happening. sen. udall: you will release all emails that relate to that? admin. pruitt: we have investigated that with the gentleman in question.
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whatever documents that are subject to disclosure, we will provide. sen. udall: multiple reports indicate the white house believed this happened. did you ask what facts they knew to inform proper management of your staff? upon learning of this allegation, we talked to the individual in question, and he denied it ever took place. my chief of staff called zinke's chief of staff to clarify questions and make sure they were addressed. we took immediate internal actions. sen. udall: should be -- the ig investigate whether employees are wasting their time shopping negative stories about other officials? admin. pruitt: i don't know what else i can offer about what steps we have already taken. sen. udall: the epa has developed a list of 22 superfund sites, which need immediate intelligent action. one site was proposed for
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listing a new site and adding to an elite group of sites at the exact same time. this happened to be a few weeks after a conservative commentator who regularly defended your actions asked you to meet with a california law firm that represents a client that wants to see that site cleaned up faster. interest in that particular california site after he brought it to your attention? admin. pruitt: there were discussions well before that meeting took place. good things came out of that meeting and the decision. you are referring to the administrator list. why therentirely sure would be criticism around us taking action to address superfund sites. the idea is that there has been scientific and thorough analysis on the list. special friends get to get on that list created by the agency.
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it looks a little bit fisy to -- fishy to me. your trip to morocco cost taxpayers $100,000 but had little connection to the epa's traditional mission or activities? the trip was largely organized and arranged by a comcast lobbyist, reportedly you have decade.m for over a almost immediately after the trip, he became a registered foreign agent on behalf of the with an government, $40,000 a month contract. individuals the milieu with the trip indicated he was "a near constant presence," during your trip. he has also been involved in other matters with the epa during your tenure. he arranged a meeting with the prime minister, tried
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to plan two trips to lust really a for a business council with international understanding, and tied with you on multiple occasions in 2017. did you discuss official epa matters during any of your extensive interactions with him? is one ofitt: morocco these situations, we were on the ground for 36 hours. sen. udall: i asked you a very specific question. matters?discuss epa madame chair, he is not answering my question. >> you need to give him an opportunity. trip, pruitt: the morocco there is a free trade agreement. the free trade agreement was up in favor of this year. we had to staff preparing that environmental negotiation,
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wallenberg rocco, over a 36 hour. with respect -- while in morocco, over a 36 hour period. issues,pect to those to characterize the morocco trip about being anything other than epa business is a mischaracterization. did you discuss official epa matters with him during any of your extensive interactions? admin. pruitt: the only discussions we have ever had has been a part of meetings of the office or on the trip you are speaking about. sen. udall: you talked about the free trade agreement. why did you work with a telecommunications lobbyist regarding such a trip, as opposed to state department u.s. trade representative? admin. pruitt: we did.
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the ambassador for morocco was in my office requesting we make the trip. the trip occurred because it was a part of a free trade agreement and the representatives for the united states were engaged in the process. sen. udall: will you provide all of these documents related to your trip and morocco within 10 business days? admin. pruitt: absolutely. sen. udall: right? admin. pruitt: i can't speak within 10 days, but we will absolutely provide the documentation.
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sen. murkowski: every year, i need to go back into my records issues related to onshore and offshore seafood processors. even with the best available technology, 100 percent compliance with the permit requirement is not achievable, because of the nature of the waste itself. we have been working with you on this, even though offshore fish grinding remains an issue within the agency. there are no documented water quality issues attributed to any such grinding. i have been working on this for a number of years. every time we seem to get close to resolving it, there is another roadblock that presents -itself.
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updates as any more to how the agency plans to comply with the omnibus language we included, and give me some time of a -- kind of timeframe? admin. pruitt: the existing permit has expired. -- a practicalng approach is needed to take roote. -- to take root. you are dumping fish parts in the middle of the ocean and there is no documenting concerns with respect to ecosystems. there has been communications by fish and wildlife they would object to removing the provision from the permit. it is something we need to proceed with and put the proposal on the marketplace so we can get closure on this issue. i have talked to my water office -- i don't understand the length
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of time it has taken to address. sen. udall: we don't -- murkowski: we don't either. this has not been an issue under your leadership. we have been dealing with this for years. it does appear we should be able to find some resolve. my last ask, it is not a question, the bulk of my questions to you here today as they relate to policy issues have been seemingly very remoteial -- small, incinerators, two fish grinding -- top fish grinding. over the years, we have worked with prior epa administrators in convening a senior team of the folks over at the epa, usually
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led to the deputy administrator by the through -- led deputy administrator to work through these issues. regarding the progress that has been made with many of these very specific issues, that as you point out, there ought to be a common sense process for moving forward. i think it would be helpful, it the problems if we theable to address it at front end before there are enforcement actions that may be blooming that cause concern -- l ooming that cause concern and get everyone engaged in getting lawyers. be helpful to have a similar meeting and i would appreciate your willingness to convene later this summer or delegate that, so we can go through these so i don't have to take my time in these budget hearings to go down the checklist and say, where are we?
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i would like to be able to do that. admin. pruitt: i have talked about a time, maybe during the recess in august, to address these matters/ -- to address these matters. that might be a good time to get progress made in these areas. sen. murkowski: i look forward to that. thank you. senator udall, i have concluded with my questions. one more round? sen. udall: you mentioned chloride in meeting with the families. when are you going to meet with them? admin. pruitt: the proposed ban withdrawal was submitted in january of 2017.
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there were comments taken. that has been pending at the agency since june. my commitment when i met with the families was a proposed rule move currently stands, to to the finalization of that rule. there are steps that need to be addressed and there is a dod issue with respect to using the chemical, contractors, clarity that needs to be addressed. ifyou know, the rule says chloride itte cthis has to be in a 55 gallon drum. final withng toward the dod clarification, along with contractors. sen. udall: you are pushing for a ban? admin. pruitt: i am pushing for the rule submitted in january
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2017. this is one of the solvents that made us the list of ten under tosca, the priorities we are reviewing. i appreciate you and others bringing this to my attention. the meeting i had with those families helped cement the process. sen. udall: you mentioned several times in the course of questioning about the office of continuing improvement. the committee was not notified of this new office. can you commit to us again you will heed of this committee's defection on all the organizations, and staffing irections on all closures, organizations, and staffing changes? admin. pruitt: this was not a reorganization.
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understanding is that kind of activity is considered creating a new office -- that is considered the organization. can you commit you will he did this committee's direction on the organization, closures, and staffing? admin. pruitt: yes. there has been discussion with across theregions country about status, the labs. the previous administration began a process to eradicate regional labs across the country. i have reversed that. they make a substantial difference in state implementation plans, inner quality and water quality. when we talk about isrganization, that important. we are trying to get accountability in these areas as much as anything. sen. udall: shifting quickly to agriculture worker protection,
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children and farmworkers continue to be exposed to dangerous pesticides. do you know how many children under the age of 18 work in agriculture in this country? admin. pruitt: i do not know. sen. udall: about 500,000 children work in agriculture. right now, you are rewriting a rule that protects those children from pesticide exposure. can we see public health and safety precautions taking a corporatewhile friends and donors get special attention. was it appropriate to include a supportive statements from dow chemical in your 2017-20, right under the subheading, "chemicals and pesticides"? admin. pruitt: we are evaluating
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that. are 30-plus states that have age requirements. we are considering, should there be more deference given to those states. the worker protection standard age requirements are important. we are trying to figure out the best way to achieve that. as far as the dow reference, the public affairs office put that together. why they would include that, i would inquire. i can provide information as to why that was included. sen. udall: the additional point is how many supportive statements do you have from agriculture workers or health professionals in the record on that issue? admin. pruitt: any changes we make to a protection standard, there are comments made to increase or decrease that.
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it is not just an age requirement issue, it is a representation issue we are addressing. there are multiple issues we are speaking to. representedyou have during her testimony, a number of times you would answer our questions and letters. we hope you will do that on a timely basis. thank you, madame chair. murkowski: administrator, you have given a good portion of your day to us. there have been questions and requests for information directed to you this morning. we would anticipate you be responsive to that. if members have questions for openecord, it will be held so they can submit those questions. your prompt response is appreciated. with us you for being
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today and the level of cooperation you have committed to. thank you very much, and with that, the committee stands adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> thursday, live coverage on the house on c-span when they convene at the 10:00 a.m. for general speeches, and more work on the farm bill. on tuesday, -- on c-span2, congressional leaders speak out a legislative conference. at 9:30 a.m., the senate returns to debate a budget bill
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sponsored by senator rand paul. at 10 a.m., the national institute of health budget, the leader of the small business administration at the national press club. "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues. thursday morning, the former u.s. ambassador to russia will be with us to discuss his new book. and the "wall street journal," reporter talks about the trade policy for the trump administration. the alabama republican congressman talks about the future of the robert mueller investigation on its one-year anniversary. journal," liveon at 7 a.m. eastern thursday morning. join the discussion.
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>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service i america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. house began, the debate on the farm bill, which sets subsidies and nutrition programs. here is part of the house debate on the bill, it is 15 minutes. mr. peterson: i yield 1 1/2 minutes to ms. blunt rochester.


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