It was very clear that the CASAC scientists themselves did not agree on the standards proposed and they certainly did not agree that everything the EPA has done is in accordance with the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee or CASAC.
Mr. Chairman, I must admit that in some ways I am amazed that we are still debating some of the issues we are today. Since the science hearing, it has come out that several government agencies have opposed these standards, with, to my knowledge, no response from EPA. I have heard from hundreds of constituents, not just industry officials, strongly opposed to the standards.
I have seen editorials and articles from papers all over the nation outlining weaknesses and opposition to the proposal. All of this has gone on in the last two months, yet we have heard very little from the EPA. There has been no good faith effort on the part of EPA to address these concerns.
I find this situation disturbing, especially the lack of response to the agencies opposing the standard. Instead we have heard Administrator Browner claim that they have the science and justification for the standards. Unfortunately this science is considered invalid or weak in many respects.
In Arkansas, the EPA has become one of the most despised agencies in the federal government. Perhaps with the exception of April, they are looked upon with the same disdain as the IRS. When I speak with constituents, I hear comments such as heavy handed and arrogant. I really can see why. It seems this level of disrespect goes well beyond the average Arkansan with a problem.
Recently I found out that some of the comments made by Dr. Joel Schwartz in the first hearings were not true. Dr. Schwartz testified that the United States is behind the rest of the world in clean air standards. Now, we come to find out this is simply not the case. Dr. Schwartz came here testified in front of this subcommittee and misled us.
This greatly troubles me, and should concern every Senator on this committee, and every Senator in the United State's Senate. Dr. Schwarz' studies are the primary studies the EPA has used to set the PM standard, yet these studies have not been made public. We are relying on the unchecked research of someone who was not forthcoming to this subcommittee. This concerns me greatly. I feel Dr. Schwartz owes this committee an explanation.
In the first hearing, I submitted a question to Mr. McClellan regarding the possibility that, under certain circumstances, even if all man-made Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were eliminated, would it be possible for some regions of the country would find themselves out of attainment. Mr. McClellan responded that this is true.
So, basically, under the current Clean Air Act, some areas could do everything possible to eliminate man-made VOCs and still be out of attainment. The EPA has determined that for these areas, NOX must be regulated.
Although this is a legitimate possibility, the problem is that for this to happen, we might have to reopen the Clean Air Act, because, as I understand the current clean air act, the EPA does not have the authority to regulate NOX. In order for NOX to be regulated by the EPA, the Clean Air Act must be amended to give the EPA this authority.
I think this is something that must be completely considered before we continue on this path, the possibility of reopening the Clean Air Act should not be the goal of anyone on this committee or in the Administration.
Mr. Chairman, there are so many unanswered questions on these standards, I am really surprised there has been no attempt on the EPA's part to come to the table and discuss these issues. Thank you for the opportunity to continue these hearings and I look forward to the possibility that there can be some sort of resolution to the objections to the standards in the near future.