Opening Statement of Senator Wayne Allard
Environment & Public Works Committee Hearing
on Environmental Audits
October 30, 1997

Thank you Mr. Chairman. This is an appropriate and timely topic for a committee hearing. The issue of environmental audits has been at issue in the State of Colorado for some time now, with the Environmental Protection Agency attempting to force state agencies to act as mirror image of themselves instead of allowing states to try innovative compliance methods. It's always disappointing when the federal bureaucracies fall back on a command and control approach to problems when they feel intimidated by innovation.

What is more disappointing is that EPA's rhetoric fails to match their efforts in the area of federal facilities. If the EPA were to pursue federal agencies who are responsible for some contamination at a research institute at the Colorado School of Mines as vigorously as they pursue states who are trying to increase compliance with environmental laws, we would all be better off. Unfortunately, EPA appears to be more interested in controlling states than helping to clean up the environment.

To address EPA's policy towards innovative compliance policies we have an excellent group of witnesses, but I'm particularly pleased that we have Trish Bangert who is the Director of Legal Policy in the Colorado Attorney General's office. She has been in the forefront of the debate on environmental audits nationwide and unlike other states, she has been key in assuring that what Colorado's elected legislature has determined is best for the state, isn't overturned by unelected Washington bureaucrats. It was Trish who in hearing before this Committee last June identified the hypocrisy of the EPA with respect to its treatment of states versus the federal government when she said, "I cannot help but mention that EPA's fine sentiments about protecting the environment extend only to private parties, and, seemingly not to the federal government." It is ironic that the states EPA doesn't trust are begging the EPA to do their job against the federal government.

I commend the Chairman for calling this hearing, and look forward to all the witnesses, but would like to particularly welcome the witness from my state.