Environmental Audit
Statement of Senator Bob Smith
Oct. 30, 1997

I am pleased to attend this hearing regarding the legal privilege issues associated with environmental audits. This issue provides a useful opportunity to see whether common sense can be part of our environmental laws. I look forward to hearing what the witnesses will have to say on this matter.

I believe the Senate should seriously consider environmental audit legislation for a variety of reasons. In general, I believe it has the potential to encourage companies to act pro-actively to do the right thing with regard to the environment.

Environmental audits will encourage companies to search out and correct problems and not be afraid of doing so. Many states have come to the conclusion that industry needs to be provided with more incentives to encourage environmental innovation, not merely more penalties for non-compliance. Increasingly, I think some in Congress are coming to the same conclusion.

My home State of New Hampshire has an audit law that was strongly supported in the state legislature. In just the last few years, 24 states have enacted environmental audit laws, and recent experience with these statutes has demonstrated that positive results are already being accomplished in meeting our common goal of protecting human health and the environment.

I believe that the Congressionally enacted protection of state environmental laws may be necessary to stop the chilling effect caused by needless and destructive meddling from inside-the-beltway bureaucrats. Unfortunately, some people still think they know more just because they work in Washington. Hopefully, today's hearing will shed some light on this important matter. Thank you.