Friday, July 8, 2011

The Week Ahead

The Senate EPW Committee will hold a hearing entitled, "Oversight Hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Unregulated Drinking Water Contaminants Program."

TUESDAY, JULY 12 at 10:00 AM
Room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building

All hearings are open to the public and streamed live on the EPW website: http://www.epw.senate.gov/.

Outrage of the Year: EPA Sending Tax Dollars to China

Link to Inhofe Video: Outrage of the Year - EPA Sending Money to China

 "Outrage of the Year" - that is what Senator Inhofe is calling the distribution of tax dollars to China by the Obama Administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to promote its climate change agenda.  This information comes from a report released by Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  

Link to Upton Report: EPA's Foreign Grant Program

Link to list of EPA's Foreign Grants  

"As the White House calls Congressional leaders to a meeting to address our nation's debt and spending crisis, a report recently released by Congressman Fred Upton shows that the Obama EPA has been spending millions of taxpayer dollars in places like China - a country we already owe 1.2 trillion - to promote its liberal climate change agenda," Senator Inhofe said.  "This is truly the outrage of the year.

"When I became Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2003, I made it a priority to provide greater oversight over how EPA spends our tax dollars. By 2004, EPA was required to implement a new competition policy for awarding funds and maintain a Grants Award Database so that taxpayers could view EPA's spending information online.

"Chairman Upton's report makes use of this database: it shows that EPA has awarded $718,000 to China's EPA to assist with control of air emissions, $700,000 to Thailand to collect methane from pig farms and $150,000 to Interpol for climate change programs.  Since 2009, $27 million in taxpayer dollars has been sent to foreign countries."

Video Transcript:

When I became Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January 2003, I laid out a number of goals.  As the committee which oversees the work of the Environmental Protection Agency, I made it clear that we would regularly conduct oversight of EPA regulation, to ensure EPA was not wasting our tax dollars.

One of the ways I identified that we were going to ensure EPA was a good steward of taxpayer dollars was in the way EPA awards grants to a variety of recipients because EPA was awarding millions of dollars to extremist environmental organizations.  These are the same organizations who regularly sued the EPA and were awarded attorneys fees.  On one hand they were suing EPA and getting taxpayer money.  On the other hand they were getting grants from EPA.  The situation needed exposed.  And I exposed it.

Of EPA's approximately $10 billion annual budget, did you know that it awards about half of that every single year in grants?  EPA awards grants to recipients such as state, local, tribal governments, non-profit organizations, foreign recipients, and educational institutions to brainwash our kids.

On March 3, 2004, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held its first oversight hearing into grants management at the EPA.

I said at that hearing, "I want to announce to all of you today that this Committee is going to take this oversight responsibility seriously in regards to grants management.  I am going to make a personal commitment that it is going to change this time.  We are going to have accountability."

The Committee heard testimony from the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Through investigations, reports, and hearings, I discovered big problems.

The problems included a general lack of oversight of the grantees, a lack of oversight of the Agency personnel, a lack of any measurement of environmental results, and a lack of competition in awarding grants.

In fact, at the March 2004 hearing before my Committee, the EPA Inspector General testified about an audit conducted of one discretionary grant recipient, a non-profit organization that received a total of almost $5 million in five grants.  EPA's oversight was so bad that the Inspector General's audit concluded with the finding that federal grant dollars were making their way to liberal lobbying organizations.  Let me read to you the short conclusion of the OIG's report from her testimony, "Therefore, although EPA funds were awarded to a 501(c)(3) organization, in actuality, a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization performed the work and ultimately received the funds. This arrangement clearly violates the Lobbying Disclosure Act prohibition on a 501(c)(4) organization which engages in lobbying from receiving Federal funds."

In other words, unelected bureaucrats were using our tax dollars for lobbying.

So we started changing things, we forced EPA to implement a new competition policy for awarding funds.

One of the major changes that continues to exist to this day is new transparency.  I forced the EPA to start the Grants Award Database which is still featured on EPA's website.  It used to be more prominently featured on EPA's main page.  Now, you have to look for it further.  However, it's still there.  It provides you with a database of all EPA grants for the past number of years and it updated many times each year.  This allows the general public to see what EPA is awarding with their taxpayer dollars.

In the House, Chairman Upton recently provided a list of grant awards on EPA Grant Award Database to foreign governments.  Let me provide a couple of examples:

 - EPA awarded $700,000 to Thailand to collect methane from pig farms.

 - EPA awarded $150,000 to Interpol (an international police agency) for climate change programs

Chairman Upton found another $27 million in examples.

Why is this important today?  As you know, I was the guy who stopped the Senate from passing global warming cap and trade legislation.  It took 10 years.

Now you also know that President Obama is trying to pass, through EPA regulations, what he couldn't pass legislatively.  That would be a $300-400 billion tax increase.

But, what you don't know is that the Obama EPA is sending out grants to countries to implement cap and trade that he couldn't get done in this country.

Are you ready for this...The Outrage of the Year:

 - EPA awarded $718,000 to China's EPA to assist with control of air emissions. Keep in mind that this is the same China we already owe $1.2 trillion.

 - We are sending your tax dollars to China to promote the liberal climate agenda that he couldn't pass here at home.

And now some of our Republicans running for the Presidential Nomination are getting wobbly on the global warming issue.  I believe the global warming issue will be one of the major issues - if not the major issue - in determining who will be the Republican nominee for President.

In the meantime, during our fiscal crisis, the Obama EPA is sending our tax dollars to China.  It's not believable, but it's true.

Outrage of the Year?  Yea!

Inhofe: Obama EPAs Transport Rule Latest Impediment to Job Growth

Senator Inhofe commented Thursday on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) release of its final Transport Rule.

"EPA's finalized Transport Rule, announced today, is the latest major impediment to economic growth put forth by this Administration," Senator Inhofe said. "This rule along with ‘Utility MACT' could force the retirement of 30 to 100 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants, raise the price of electricity by as much as 23 percent, and cause 1.4 million job losses by 2020.

"True environmental progress will not come from these costly, heavy-handed regulations that harm the very people EPA claims to protect; real progress on clean air is best achieved through common sense multi-pollutant legislation that streamlines the Clean Air Act's many redundant and overlapping mandates.  This is something that I have and will continue to support. 

"The bottom line is that reducing emissions does not have to be this expensive-the Obama EPA just wants it to be.  On both sides of the aisle we support efforts to reduce real pollution, but we should be doing it in a way that protects workers from losing their jobs, families from skyrocketing electricity prices, and businesses from unachievable requirements.

"It is little consolation that Oklahoma is not included in today's final rule.  By separate notice, EPA has proposed to include the state in the program in the near future.   As Ranking Member of the EPW Committee I will be keeping a close eye on this process." 

In the News...E&E News: Inhofe questions EPA science behind new standards

E&E News 

Inhofe questions EPA science behind new standards

Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter

July 6, 2011

Link to Letter 

Link to Article  

The top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is seeking to use a recent National Academy of Sciences review of formaldehyde to raise questions about U.S. EPA's scientific basis for new air quality standards due out this summer.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) linked NAS criticisms of the scientific methodologies used by EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) in evaluating formaldehyde to the process the agency is using to update the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) this month.

"The same scientific defects noted in the formaldehyde assessment are also present in EPA's evaluations of the science used to establish and revise [NAAQS], including the ongoing reconsideration of the ozone standard," wrote Inhofe, along with Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).

In April, NAS issued a long-awaited review of EPA's draft formaldehyde assessment. NAS questioned some of EPA's assertions about whether formaldehyde is a carcinogen, although it said EPA supported its conclusion that formaldehyde causes cancer in the nose and throat. In particular, however, the report criticized the methodologies by which EPA prepared the assessment (Greenwire, April 8).

Inhofe and Vitter claimed in their letter that EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment within the Office of Research and Development provides the scientific footing for both IRIS and NAAQS assessments.

"One should therefore expect that scientific defects observed in EPA's IRIS program would be observed in EPA's NAAQS program," they wrote.

Many Republicans and some Democrats have urged EPA to put off issuing the revised air quality standards this month. Agency scientists have said recent data suggests a stronger link between ozone air conditions and breathing problems, heart attacks and death. Last year, the Obama administration proposed stricter standards but has yet to formally issue a rule.

The new standards, which are expected to be between 60 and 70 parts per billion for ground-level ozone, would likely force companies to spend significant amounts of money to cut down on their emissions. EPA estimated the proposal would cost $19 million to $90 million by 2020, much of which would fall on businesses.

In June, about 100 lawmakers sent EPA an letter urging the agency to put off issuing the new standards until 2013 (E&ENews PM, June 23).

Inhofe and Vitter argue in their 10-page letter that EPA does not adequately explain which scientific studies it chooses to include in its assessments and which it opts to disregard.

"In assessing the evidence on the health effects of ozone," they wrote, "EPA has discounted or ignored studies reporting no significant association between current levels of ozone and asthma exacerbation."

An EPA spokesman said the agency is reviewing the letter.

The senators also criticize EPA for inadequately explaining how it weighs multiple studies that come to different conclusions in its assessments.

"EPA has not only discounted equal numbers of studies showing no association, but has at times discounted multiple no-effect studies to rely instead on single studies showing an effect," the senators wrote, referring to air quality standards.

Click here to read Inhofe and Vitter's letter to EPA.