Senator James Inhofe, Chairman
Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands Private Property, and Nuclear Safety
Oversight Hearing Regarding the Proposed Ozone
and Particulate Matter Revised Standards
April 29, 1997

The hearing will now come to order.

Today's hearing will focus on the impacts of the EPA's proposed changes to the NAAQS standards for ozone and particulate matter. This hearing follows previous hearings in which we examined the science issues, the implications to the States and local governments, the risk issues, and the implementation process.

Throughout this entire process we have heard allegations through the media, other Congressional hearings and the testimony of some witnesses before this subcommittee that the Administration has systematically misrepresented the facts behind their proposal. The EPA has suppressed dissenting views within the Administration. They have placed themselves above the law in regards to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and the Unfunded Mandates. They have engaged in a pattern of misrepresenting the science and the impacts of their proposed regulations.

I have conducted these hearings as a forum to discover the truth and bring to light all of the information behind the proposals. I have not focused on the abuses of the Administration because the underlying science, risk and impacts of the proposals are the most important issues and I have tried to avoid being sidetracked.

However, at last Thursday's hearing I asked Mary Nichols, the Assistant Administrator for Air at the EPA a very simple and direct question. Whether the EPA's Regulatory Impact Analysis shows that the costs of the Ozone proposal outweighs the benefits. She said no. This is incorrect, she is misrepresenting her own analysis. This is yet another example of the EPA trying to mislead the American public by not being direct with the facts.

The EPA's Regulatory Impact Analysis for ozone clearly shows that the costs outweigh the benefits. The costs of local control strategies outweigh the benefits anywhere from $1.1 billion dollars to $6.2 billion dollars, depending upon the exceedences allowed. The costs for regional control strategies (which may not be feasible under the current law) outweigh the benefits anywhere from zero to $2.4 billion dollars. These figures come straight from the EPA's document, and the costs are only for partial attainment. Under their cost estimates, the country does not even attain the proposed standards. Elsewhere in the document they acknowledge a number of costs that they don't even calculate and they make a number of assumption such as:

- They assume in the baseline, full implementation of the current law, without counting those costs, but counting the benefits.

- They assume a Regional NOx strategy for the country which includes an emissions cap for utilities, without including those costs.

- They assume a national low emission vehicle, without counting the costs of such a program.

- In a number of areas, they stop calculating the costs at 75% attainment.

Even without adding up these hidden costs, the EPA's documents still show that the costs outweigh the benefits, yet an Assistant Administrator from the EPA sat in this room last week and told me the exact opposite. They are trying to mislead this Committee and they are misleading the American people.

In addition, since these figures were published the Agency has gone back and readjusted the benefits, decreasing all of the endpoints by 25%. So while the original costs outweighed the benefits, the current numbers outweigh the benefits even more.

As a final insult to the process, the President's own Council of Economic Advisors has estimated the costs for the ozone proposal at $60 Billion dollars, a ten-fold increase over EPA's highest number of $6 Billion. It is time for the EPA to level with the public.

Public policy decisions should be conducted in an open and unbiased manner. The EPA has hidden behind a court order and data that is not available to the public. In addition they have hidden the real costs and dissenting viewpoints of other government Agencies.

Now I hope today we can turn to the important issues regarding the impact of these proposals. We have a very full hearing with fourteen witnesses who approach the impacts from many different viewpoints.

I look forward to their testimony.