406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room

James M. Inhofe

Senator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:

Kristina Baum – 202.224.6176

Donelle Harder – 202.224.1282

Inhofe Statement for Oversight Hearing: Examining the President’s budget request for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at the hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing: Examining the President’s budget request for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” Witnesses included The Honorable Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator. 

As Prepared for Delivery: 

"Administrator McCarthy, thank you for appearing this morning. 

The President’s $8.6 billion proposal to fund the EPA represents a $452 million increase from last year’s enacted levels but sacrifices core responsibilities in the pursuit of new regulations.

EPA proposes cutting $333 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund which provides grants and loans for wastewater treatment and pollution control.  EPA is three years behind in reporting to Congress on wastewater and storm water needs.  However, it doesn’t stop EPA for pursing its new waters of the US rule which EPA cannot ensure us doesn’t expand its authority over isolated ponds, storm sewer systems, water reuse systems, roadside ditches, rock quarries, farm activities, and even backyard creeks.

The President’s budget proposes a 66% cut to the Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant Program which Senator Carper and I work to fund each year.  Voluntary diesel engine retrofits through matching funds are a cost effective way of reducing diesel engine pollution which EPA estimates causes 15,000 premature deaths each year. 

EPA consistently misses its statutory deadline for proposing and finalizing renewable volume obligations (RVO) for refiners creating significant uncertainty and volatility buying and selling Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which are the credits used as proof of compliance with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).    

The President’s budget cuts Superfund Homeland Security Preparedness and Response while he is out saying that terrorism is less of a threat to the American people than climate change.  In fact, EPA also intends to pursue a legislative proposal for an additional $4 billion in mandatory spending for EPA to enforce its climate change regulations which 32 states oppose and will result in double digit electricity price increases in 43 states.  Mandatory spending would mean that EPA would hand out money with no Congressional oversight.  The President requests $3.5 million for 20 new attorneys because, “each EPA action is expected to be challenged in court, which will require skilled and experienced attorneys specialized in the Clean Air Act to devote significant resources to defense of these actions.”  These attorneys would defend a climate change rule which, according to EPA’s own consistent testimony, will not affect climate change.   

In fact, the Clean Power Plan would reduce CO2 concentrations by less than a percent, reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit, and reduce sea level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper.  If we would like to point to our international agreement with China as proof that global concentrations will change, it’s important to keep in mind that China emits 800 million tons of CO2 per month while the Clean Power Plan reduce 550 million tons per year.

In November, EPA proposed lowering the ozone standard when the current standard is not implemented in 40% of the country.  Manufacturers won’t be able to expand and with a non-attainment designation, federally-supported highway and transit projects, both new capacity and in-progress projects, will be halted.  This only increases cost of existing expansions, complicates the ability to quickly respond to congestion, and reduce states’ competitiveness for additional expansion opportunities. 

The members of this Committee and I are looking forward to questioning EPA’s priorities and regulatory agenda." 

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