(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
I would like to start by thanking Administrator Lisa Jackson for appearing before the Committee today to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Every year, this Committee holds a hearing to examine the President's budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. During the previous Administration, there was rarely any good news in the EPA budget. The Bush Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget represented a 26% decline in resources over the prior eight years.
I am pleased to see that this EPA budget represents a fresh, new commitment to safeguarding public health, including the health of our children, curbing the carbon pollution that causes global warming, and creating clean energy jobs.
The investments in this EPA budget signal the high priority placed on the health of the environment and the American people by the Obama Administration.
Our states and cities are faced with an unprecedented need to invest in drinking water plants and wastewater treatment facilities. These systems help to ensure that our families can safely turn on the tap when they get up to go to work in the morning, and come home in the evening, and they keep our lakes and rivers clean for fishing and swimming.
EPA estimates that our nation has more than $200 billion in investment needs just for wastewater infrastructure. By 2019, our drinking water infrastructure needs could top $100 billion.
This budget would provide $3.9 billion for drinking and wastewater infrastructure -- an increase of more than $2.3 billion. This money is more than a down payment on protecting public health; it will also put people to work in their communities rebuilding the crucial infrastructure that keeps our families healthy.
I look forward to our business meeting later this week where we plan to move forward to reauthorize and update the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Revolving Funds. I am very pleased that we have introduced a bipartisan bill that reflects our agreement on the importance of this issue.
This budget also represents a strong commitment to ensuring compliance with our country's public health and environmental laws. It would provide $600 million to EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to help ensure that industry has the information it needs to fully comply with environmental laws, and to hold polluters accountable when they violate the law.
The President's budget also takes important steps needed to begin to address global warming. It would provide funds to:
· Increase funding for the Energy Star program, which promotes the use of energy efficient technologies;
· Implement a national inventory of large sources of greenhouse gas emissions;
· Analyze issues related to a cap and trade system for controlling the carbon pollution that causes global warming; and
· Develop vehicle emissions reductions technologies to address carbon pollution and help US car manufacturers who adopt such technologies become more competitive.
While President Obama's EPA budget is a historic improvement over the budgets of the past eight years, it is not perfect - there are areas that I have concerns about. I support the budget's proposed increases in funds to clean up the nation's most heavily contaminated toxic waste sites.
I would, however, like to better understand why the projected number of completed Superfund cleanups is down despite the overall increase in the program's budget, and why diesel emissions reduction efforts - which are helping to protect children from asthma and other respiratory diseases in California and across the nation -- have been cut.
I also am concerned that the needs of state and local air officials do not appear to be adequately reflected in the budget.
At the end of the day, this budget begins the hard work of restoring America's confidence in the Environmental Protection Agency. It would make our families healthier and our communities safer, and it would create jobs as we invest in our infrastructure and a cleaner environment. I strongly believe in the values reflected in this budget, and I believe the American people do, too.
I look forward to hearing from Administrator Jackson on the EPA proposed budget today.