The last eight years at the EPA have been disappointing, to say the least.
Global warming, for example, is the most serious environmental threat we face. Beyond doing nothing at the federal level, the current EPA prevented states from taking action at the local level.
When California, New Jersey and 15 other states fought to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, Johnson’s EPA sided with industry and denied the routine waiver that would have allowed states to regulate those emissions.
The current EPA also failed to adequately fund and run the Superfund program, which cleans up toxic waste sites in our communities.
During the 1990s, the EPA averaged more than 80 Superfund site cleanups per year. But in 2008, only 30 sites were cleaned up.
New Jersey has more Superfund sites than any state in the country. This EPA has left those sites to decay—and allowed toxins to seep into the neighborhoods where our children live, learn and play.
That is the EPA’s legacy over the last eight years: a legacy of disappointment, missed opportunities and secrecy, where officials refused to even appear before this Committee.
It is time for a new beginning.
It is time to leave behind the mistakes of the past and focus on the challenges of the present – and future.
It is time to usher in a better and brighter future, for this agency, for our environment – and for the health of generations to come.
Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutley are the right leaders to forge that change.
As I said in my introduction, Lisa Jackson has the energy, expertise and experience we need to revitalize the EPA.
And Nancy Sutley has a career of experience to draw on as she advises President-elect Obama on environmental policy.
Once these nominees are confirmed, I look forward to working with them.
And on this Committee, I look forward to passing legislation to protect our environment—and the health of our children—for generations to come.
Thank you, Madame Chairman.
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