Opening Statement of Senator James Inhofe
Senate Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing
Oversight Hearing on EPA’s Efforts to Protect Children’s Health
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Today we will again examine the adequacy of EPA’s regulatory process by hearing testimony regarding whether the Agency appropriately considers children’s health concerns. As a father and grandfather, protecting the health and well-being of children is of great personal importance to me. That is precisely why I believe that EPA’s risk-based regulatory process and science-based review are the best ways to ensure that human health – particularly the health of children – is protected in a way that also protects the way of life enjoyed by the American family.
This morning, we will hear from the official who directs the science of EPA’s regulatory process, as well as from a representative of the agency tasked with critiquing EPA’s success. We will also hear from stakeholders with their own views about how best to protect the health of our nation’s children. I believe in the integrity of EPA’s scientific process, and particularly in the Agency’s ability to evaluate risk and formulate regulations that properly mitigate those risks.
Whether the concern is air, water, chemicals, or other environmental factors, assessment of risk-based on validated science must rule the day. Uncertainty, fear, and precaution are not based in science, and actually prevent us from enjoying the benefits of technology and innovation.
I do believe that it is important for EPA to seek out and consider the advice of non-governmental experts and public opinion. However, the ultimate responsibility to implement the law falls squarely on the Agency’s doorstep. EPA is barraged with formal and informal advice from a variety of sources; it is their duty to sort through that information and seek balance among the many competing perspectives. It is no secret that I have certainly disagreed with some of the Agency’s actions and decisions. However, at the end of the day, I firmly believe that EPA holds the preeminent expertise in evaluating the risks posed to human health from environmental exposures. That expertise makes EPA most qualified to establish how best to protect the health of every man, women and child.
I look forward to hearing from each of the witnesses, and I thank you for taking the time to be here and share your perspectives on protecting children – born and unborn – from environmental risks.
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