Statement of Senator Jon S. Corzine
Committee on Environment and Public Works
May 15, 2001
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.† I want to join my colleagues in welcoming Governor Whitman to our committee.†
Mr. Chairman, there are commendable aspects of the EPA FY 2003 request.† Brownfields funding is more than doubled to fund the expanded programs authorized by the passage of bipartisan brownfields legislation last year.† I know that my predecessor, Senator Lautenberg would be pleased.† And I know that New Jersey communities will be revitalized as a result.†
But viewed in total, Mr. Chairman, I think this budget is simply inadequate to meet the environmental goals of our growing nation.† The FY 2003 request is approximately 4 percent below the level enacted for FY 2002.† When you consider inflation of 2 to 3 percent, this amounts to a real cut of approximately 6 percent.† We need to do better.
There are also some disturbing policy choices embedded in the budget.† Once again, the budget contains a proposal to fund state enforcement by cutting federal enforcement.† This yearís proposal would cut approximately 100 EPA enforcement personnel.† But federal enforcement is more important now than ever.† If anything, the increased counter-terrorism demands placed on federal enforcement personnel government wide mean that more rather than fewer EPA attorneys will be needed to stay even on environmental enforcement.†
The budget funds the Superfund program at a strong level, but the target of 40 cleanups completed in 2003 is down sharply from previous years.† In fact, the FY 2002 budget targeted 65 cleanups.†† This is a concern for my state, where the program is still extremely important.† New Jersey has 111 sites on Superfundís National Priorities List and 5 more are currently proposed for addition to the list.† So we need to keep this important program moving.†
I also want to take this opportunity to make several policy observations.† First, I hope that the Governor will take seriously the concerns that have been raised by the Attorneys General of New Jersey and other Northeast states about the pending revisions to the New Source Review program.† The people of New Jersey are depending on the protections afforded by this program to help them breathe easier.
I also have to comment on another issue that is important to people in New Jersey, and I believe all across this country -- the threat of a terrorist attack on an industrial facility intended to release dangerous chemicals.† I have introduced a bill to address this problem, and I want the Administratorís commitment to working with me towards a solution that will protect our communities from this threat.†
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.†† ††