June 10,1997

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll cut right to the chase.

Twenty-five years ago, this committee made a profound decision. It established national standards for clean water, clean air, and other forms of environmental protection.

And measured by the improvements we see in our air and water, this policy has been a huge success.

But unless national environmental standards are backed up by a national enforcement policy, it's national in name only. Compliance can vary widely. And companies that play by the rules will be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to companies in other states that break the law and get away with it.

So I believe that it is critically important to maintain a strong federal enforcement backstop.

That said, we have to remember that our objective is not enforcement for it's own sake. Our objective is m lianc improve the environment.

So I remain interested in further steps that we can take to help companies understand and comply with the law, especially small businesses that can't afford lawyers, consultants, and audits.

I also am interested in trying to improve the balance between federal and state compliance efforts, so that we focus our resources and use them as efficiently and effectively as possible.

It looks like we have good, balanced panels of witnesses and I look forward to hearing from them.