Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Full Committee hearing entitled, "Environmental Protection Agency Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Hearing."
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 2:30 pm
Administrator Jackson, it is always good to see you. I suspect these are tough times at EPA, for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is the nation's massive deficits and debt. If we want to eliminate them, federal agencies must make meaningful fiscal sacrifices-and EPA is no exception.
But Administrator Jackson-and I say this with all due respect-instead of sacrifice, I'm afraid EPA's budget submission is yet another fiscal bait and switch.
We've seen this before, going back to the Bush Administration: EPA proposes significant cuts that appear fiscally responsible-but in truth they are cuts EPA knows Congress will readily restore.
By my calculations, 83% of EPA's proposed cuts come from three water programs with strong bipartisan support in Congress, including $947 million from State Revolving Funds (SRF). These cuts total $1.1 billion. EPA's overall cuts for FY 2012 amount to $1.3 billion. So it's not hard to see the math here.
You can bet these cuts will be restored, because many of my colleagues believe these are worthwhile programs. For example, the SRF supports our nation's infrastructure-an area where the federal government has a crucial role to play.
Administrator, I call on you to help us find cuts that are more responsible-and more politically realistic. I can think of many programs that don't deserve funding. Item number one-and this should be no surprise-is EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory regime.
I must say, however, that, due to existing GHG regulations, this is more complicated than it seems. The problem is that EPA, states, and regulated entities have legal obligations stemming from existing GHG regulations. We have to ensure, therefore, that our cuts don't have unintended consequences.
The best way to eliminate EPA's carbon regime is through an authorization bill. That's why I released the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 with Rep. Fred Upton. This bill puts Congress in charge of deciding our nation's climate change policy, not EPA bureaucrats. And it will keep our focus on reducing real pollution, ensure people have jobs, and allow our economy to grow.
If we want to make strides in improving public health, we won't do it by regulating carbon dioxide. It's not a pollutant-despite what EPA says. When it comes to real pollution, such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, EPA's budget falls short. For example, it eliminates funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, or DERA. This is a program with bipartisan support-from me, Chairman Boxer, Sen. Carper, and others-that we passed last year. It would help reduce real pollutants, but EPA has decided to spend elsewhere. This is irresponsible and, if followed, bad for public health.
Administrator, I've said this before: though we disagree, I appreciate your leadership at the agency. You have tough decisions ahead on ozone, on PM dust, on Boiler MACT, on Utility MACT, on hydraulic fracturing, and on greenhouse gases. We will likely disagree on what you decide. But you have always been honest and straightforward with me. I look forward to continuing our relationship through the 112th Congress.