Sen. James M. Inhofe
February 20, 2002
Madam Administrator, thank you for coming before this committee to discuss EPA's FY03 Budget. While there are a number of issues that I find both positive and negative, regarding the proposed budget, I am going to limit my remarks to three items:
(1) Tar Creek: I have discussed this issue with you on a number of occasions. During the question and answer portion of this hearing, I want to discuss the impact this budget will have on the worst Superfund site in the United States - Tar Creek in Northeastern Oklahoma. I look forward to working with the EPA and other agencies to make significant progress on this matter in the coming year.
(2) Environmental Education: As many people know, I have worked for years on trying to improve EPA's Environmental Education Program through the John H. Chaffee Environmental Education Act. Sen. Clinton and I introduced a bill, which the Administration supported. Now, in an apparent change in policy, the program has been zeroed out of EPA and, at least in theory, been shifted to the National Science Foundation. While I have mixed feelings about this proposed move, I want to discuss whether or not the basic environmental education program will remain intact.
(3) Brownfields Petroleum Program: According to EPA’s figures, there are over 200,000 sites contaminated primarily from petroleum. This is roughly half of the approximately 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. During this Committee’s markup of the Brownfields legislation, I had concerns that Congress was neglecting the 200,000 + petroleum contaminated brownfields sites in this country. As a result of an amendment, which I authored, I am proud to say today that help is on the way for these sites. The Inhofe Amendment, which was part of the Brownfields bill recently signed into law by the President, will take a major step towards cleaning up the petroleum-contaminated sites and putting them back into productive use. I am interested in hearing how EPA plans to get this program up and running this year.
Again, I thank you for appearing today and I look forward to working with you this year on these and other issues.