WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight held the hearing, “Oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Program.” Below is the opening statement of Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, submitted for the record:
“Thank you, Chairman Rounds and Ranking Member Harris, for holding this hearing today. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your continuing leadership of this subcommittee and the important oversight work it does. Ranking Member Harris, I want to congratulate you on your new role, and I know your experience as a former Attorney General for the State of California will benefit all of our understanding of the legal and remediation challenges that states face as they clean up contaminated sites.
“EPA’s Superfund program is vitally important to my home state of Delaware, as I am sure it is important to most members. Delaware is a small state, but we have 21 sites on the National Priorities List and one proposed in Newark just this week. Like all of you, I want to see those sites cleaned up as quickly as possible.
“We also want to make sure they’re done right. That means ensuring that remediation actions will permanently protect the public against exposure to toxic and hazardous materials. It means making sure that the communities in which these sites are located have a seat at the table and a say in how cleanups get done. It means making sure that the financial resources needed to do these cleanups are available to communities. And, finally, it means that decision-making with regard to cleanups are driven by science and public health considerations, not political considerations. I hope that the clean up priorities I’ve just outlined are ones that members on both sides, and that the Administration, would also agree.
“Mr. Chairman, I hope that in the near future we will have the opportunity, either at the subcommittee or perhaps even at the full committee, to hear from EPA officials directly about the Superfund program. It is important that we understand how the Administration plans to accelerate cleanups without cutting corners or shutting out community input. I hope our witnesses today will speak to all these things, and I look forward to hearing their testimonies, and thank them all for their willingness to be here today and share their perspectives.”