Statement of Senator James M. Jeffords
EPA Nominations Hearing Each of you has been nominated to assume a leadership position at the Environmental Protection Agency. The Agency’s mission - protecting the environment - is becoming more and more important and more and more challenging as this country continues to grow and competing pressures are put on the nation’s resources. In the positions that you have been nominated to fill, you will need to weigh these pressures and make decisions that will impact the health and safety of our environment and our citizens. It is no secret that I have been deeply disappointed by many of the decisions and policies of the Bush Administration when it comes to the environment. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the White House has a short-sighted view on many of the issues affecting our air, our water and our land. As each of you are looking toward assuming these new challenges, I want you to know that there is a major challenge that I have been faced with in dealing with your agency, and that challenge is access to information. It is our duty to inquire from time-to-time about the Agency’s conduct of its mission, the Agency’s expenditure of funds, and the Agency’s implementation of statutes in its purview, including the development of regulations under those statues. You may know that I have been requesting information from EPA, dating back to 2001, on Clean Air Act regulations and many other programs within the Agency’s scope. After numerous discussions about this request and others, promises were made that the information would be forthcoming. I’m still waiting. I probably sound like a broken record, but every EPA nominee that has come before this Committee since I rejoined the Committee in 2001 has said they would work with us toward fulfilling the information requests, and I’m still waiting. It is my hope that each of you will help me and others on this Committee fulfill our obligations to the American people for complete information regarding the health and safety of our environment. I am tired of waiting. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.