†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER S. BOND
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† EPW HEARING ON FY 2003 EPA BUDGET
†††††††††††††††††††† Wednesday, February 13, 2002, 9:30 am, SD-406
Thank you Mr. Chairman.† It is a delight to have Administrator Christie Todd Whitman here before us.† Iíve known her for 40 years.† Iím sure she thinks the past year felt like 40 years, but weíre happy to see that she survived and is doing well.
This wartime budget request shows the Presidentís, and Administrator Whitmanís, strong commitment to the environment. In the face of the war, homeland security needs, and the recession, many departments and agencies face deep cuts.† †This administrationís commitment to the environment shielded EPA from deep cuts.†
The Bush administration is proposing the highest request for EPA operating programs ever.† That means record funds for day-to-day activities like setting health standards, conducting inspections and enforcement, and monitoring the quality of the environment.
We know that our environment and health can be used as weapons against us.† We must protect the drinking water in our communities from terrorist attacks.† The administration provides $124 million in homeland security funding for EPA.
This Administration is sending nearly $3.5 billion to the states to improve and implement strong state environmental programs.† EPA proposes doubling to $200 million funds to cleanup Brownfields.† EPA will provide more grant funds for watershed restoration and additional enforcement assistance.
At the same time, our communities face an overwhelming need for clean water and drinking water funding.† Private estimates place the gap between available water funds and the needs in our towns and cities at $300 billion per year.† EPAís Gap Analysis will soon confirm the need for additional spending on clean water infrastructure.†
However, the last administration supported only $2 billion per year in revolving water funds.† We must do better than this.† I will support efforts to increase substantially authorization levels for water infrastructure funding.† You will also hear from me in another committee on funding for this point.
While we are talking about improving water quality, I would also like to mention my Fishable Waters Act.† The bill will provide mechanisms for local stakeholders to undertake projects that make local waters more fishable and swim-able.† I appreciate the administrationís work to review this bill and look forward to resolving non-point source funding issues necessary to move this bill forward.
I am also pleased with the administrationís proposal to increase funding for research on the safety of genetically improved crops.† Biotechnology is allowing us to feed billions of people around the world.† Advances will allow us to produce more renewable fuels and crops less dependent on pesticides.† I am confidant that the more we know about genetically improved crops the more we will welcome them into our lives.
Thank you again for appearing before this committee and I look forward to working with you further on funding for EPA.