Senator Tim Hutchinson's
Opening Statement
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
February 12, 1997

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am, once again extremely pleased to have this hearing today. The more I understand about this issue, the more I realize there is to learn.

Last week at the science hearing, I learned how much difference in opinion there is even among the CASAC scientists, regarding the findings of CASAC and what should be done about those findings.

It is obvious how difficult and complex these issues are to understand, but the fact that there was such division among the scientists was very surprising. One of the points you continuously stressed in your testimony during the Arizona court case was the need for time to do studies so that you could make "scientifically sound" decisions for PM-2.5.

I completely agree and I am sure there is nobody in the United States who doesn't want these studies to be based on sound scientific principles. If we are going to implement these standards, it is important to understand the science behind the problem so we can eliminate the problem.

Unfortunately, based on the fact that there is very little data on PM- 2.5, it does not seem that your decision is based on science that is scientifically sound. It seems that your decision was based more on pressure to make a decision than on sound scientific principles. I look forward to your response on this issue.

Regarding ozone, I am alarmed by a couple studies that indicate that there is a possibility that, even if we eliminate all man-made Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), some areas of the country could never be in attainment.

Another concern I have is the fact that there is no scientific evidence that supports a threshold level for regulation of ozone. In other words, we do not know if there is any level, including the naturally occurring background level, that ozone is safe.

I am concerned with the fact that I have heard claims that ozone causes asthma, yet we heard from Dr. Thurston and others last week that this is not the case. Ozone simply does not cause asthma, yet these scare tactics have sent fear throughout the United States.

I am interested in the truth behind the problem of air pollution. I want to know that we are doing the right thing that will save lives, yet there seems to be little in the science that supports these standards. Sure, there are scientists that will support these standards but there are scientists, even scientists on CASAC, the committee EPA appoints to study ozone that will dispute these claims.

We need to know all the facts before making such a huge decision. I know we all are interested in learning all the facts in the science, as well as the facts in the decision. For these reasons I look forward to this hearing.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.