Mr. Chairman and fellow members of the Committee, I would like to state the reason why my democratic colleagues on the Committee and I asked for a postponement of today’s consideration of Governor Mike Leavitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. As is Senate custom, Committee members expect full responses to their questions prior to casting a vote in Committee so that they may evaluate the qualifications of the individual who has been nominated, to date this has not happened. Our review of these responses reveals that they are incomplete in numerous respects. We are hopeful that with additional time the Committee can fulfill its responsibility to fully evaluate the responses provided by Governor Leavitt and to obtain the information we deem missing in the responses that we have received. I also feel that with the additional time, the Agency will be able to provide the outstanding information requests that we have been working on obtaining since early 2001. The American public needs answers. The Bush Administration is weakening the Clean Air Act, it is weakening the Clean Water Act and it is not cleaning-up Superfund sites. We have a right to know why. These are life and death issues. We look forward to working with you to obtain this information and to bring this matter to a vote in Committee. ----------------------------- Key Problems With EPA's Answers to Hearing Questions and Information Requests * White House Intervention Stops Information Flow: In answer to a Committee information request that has been pending since December 2001 on the New Source Review rule, EPA now asserts that it will not provide certain documents to Senator Jeffords because he is no longer the Chairman of the Committee (he was Chairman when he sent this request). This is an unprecedented reason for refusing to answer a Congressional request and one that we have just learned is a White House position that will be taken by all agencies. * Governor Leavitt’s Own Knowledge Is Not Revealed: Governor Leavitt was asked, based upon his own knowledge of environmental issues, what he believes are the top five environmental health risks faced by the American public. He answered that he would hear what scientists and experts advise on this question, rather than providing the Committee a sense of his own knowledge and priorities. * Key Environmental Issues Are Not Addressed: On issues that have not only been extensively covered in the press but also the subject of considerable focus at the Agency and in Utah, Governor Leavitt claimed to have no knowledge. Examples are the New Source Review rule, attainment deadlines for the 8-hour ozone standards, and the issue of whether the EPA should have the ability to ban MTBE. On the other hand, Governor Leavitt does have enough information to repeatedly support the President's Clear Skies Initiative. * Key Environmental Issues to Minority Members Are Not Addressed: On issues of importance to Minority members of the Committee of which he was informed prior to the hearing, such as the combined sewer overflow investigation in Portland, Oregon and the Libby, Montana asbestos contamination situation, Governor Leavitt claims no knowledge. On the other hand, he answered a question and committed to resolve the Tar Creek matter (in a Majority Member's state).