Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR)
Opening Statement before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's
Subcommittee on Clean Air, Private Property and Nuclear Safety
February 5, 1997

Thank you Mr. Chairman. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the scientific basis behind the EPA's recent proposal to further regulate particulates and ozone. I am not a scientist and this is one of the most complicated issues with which I have ever dealt so this hearing is particularly important to my understanding, as well as the understanding of my colleagues I imagine.

I am pleased that we have the opportunity to hear from Dr. George Wolff and Dr. Morton Lippmann the current and former Chairmen of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. respectively. I trust that your expertise in the issues and your knowledge of the process will prove extremely beneficial to all the members of the committee, as well as the citizens of the United States. as we all try to understand the complicated issues we are about to discuss.

While I do not claim to understand all the intricacies of the scientific research, which has been made available to me, I have learned a great deal and I hope to have some issues explained in detail, before I make any judgments on the science and the regulations which are proposed. I want to reiterate that I am withholding judgment until I more fully understand the science and perhaps understand the reasoning EPA used to determine their proposal.

One concern I have is the fact that there is no scientific evidence that supports a threshold level for regulation of ozone. We do not know at what point ozone is at a safe level. In addition, as I understand it, there are natural phenomena, which could raise ozone levels above even the current levels for attainment and well above the proposed standards. If this is the case, it seems possible that certain areas of the country could never be in compliance with the Clean Air Act. Considering the sanctions EPA has at its disposal, this seems to be a daunting possibility.

Perhaps my greatest concern however is the lack of data that exists on PM 2.5. EPA is recommending that particulate matter be regulated at a level that we have not even measured. As understand the science, there are not enough monitors in the United States that measure PM 2.5 to justify setting such a stringent standard. Not only can we not measure it but there is no evidence what types of PM 2.5 may be the culprit for health problems. My fear is that we could conceivably regulate particulates that are not even the real problem.

As I mentioned I have not yet decided on a position on the regulations and [feel very strongly that these questions need to be adequately answered before I can make a decision. Mr. Chairman, thank you for having this hearing. I think it shows great insight on your part to convene a hearing on the science issues early on so we can completely understand these proposed regulations.