U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Hearing Statements
Date:   03/10/2004
 
Statement of Senator Craig Thomas
EPA Budget for FY2005 Hearing

I am concerned about the decrease in 319 program funding. I see that there is an increase to states for monitoring programs of $20 million yet a decrease in 319 funding by $29 million. This is a concern. The primary source of funding for addressing impaired/threatened (section 303(d) listed waters) is the 319 program.

A percentage of 319 funds can be used for monitoring - the remainder for planning and implementation. Given that in Wyoming, not only does the state have a monitoring network, the local Districts are the primary entities addressing impaired/threatened waters. These funds are integral to these efforts.

To decrease the funding for implementation to address the impaired waters and for which a portion can be used for monitoring activities and target an additional $20 million to state monitoring - does not make sense.

Different states, as is the case with different local Districts, are in different phases. I agree that increased and better scientific data is an issue, certainly it was in Wyoming. However, there is more flexibility in the 319 program to allow states/local governments to focus on their priorities. Once the data is collected and a waterbody has been determined to be "impaired" then the focus should be on addressing the impairment and conducting followup monitoring to determine if improvements are being made. Decreasing the 319 funds will stifle this approach.

Could you comment on this?