Marc Morano 202-224-5762
Matt Dempsey 202-224-9797

Opening Statement of Senator James Inhofe

Environment and Public Works Business Meeting

Thursday, July 31, 2008

 Senator Boxer, there are a number of important items on today’s agenda and I think it is important that the Committee act today. In particular I am please that after a two year delay we are marking up Senator Thune’s E-Manifest Bill.  He began working on this legislation last Congress when he was the Superfund Subcommittee Chairman.

While I was concerned about moving the bills involving perchlorate and TCE without the benefit of the responses from the oversight hearing we held last May, I am pleased that those responses are now in and I understand Madam Chairman that you got personally involved and I appreciate that.  That doesn’t mean however, that I support the Bills.

I am however concerned about moving the two bills involving environmental justice.  We just found out over the weekend that these bills would be on the agenda and at least on our side there are many questions about the impacts.  While we had a general hearing on the issues last summer, it was before Senator Clinton’s bill was introduced and as a Committee we have not examined what the impacts of that bill would be.  It deserves a legislative hearing.

I am disappointed that we are not also considering reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration today. EDA’s programs are set to expire September 30, and I am very concerned that we are quickly running out of time to reauthorize them. Especially during these times of economic uncertainty, we cannot allow authorization of such successful economic development tools to lapse.  I introduced a simple reauthorization bill earlier this month and I had hoped it would be marked up today.  I understand the majority plans a hearing in September prior to a bill introduction and markup and I fear that there is just not enough time to accomplish that.

Finally, while I appreciate Senator Reid’s Small Community Drinking Water Funding Act being on the agenda today I am frustrated that my small water systems bills were not also included.  While I have been requesting those bills to be marked up for several months now, I did not receive policy reasons for their exclusion.  I hope in the future we can work closer together on the meeting agendas and it would help to learn of your concerns on our legislation so that we can try and work out a compromise, prior to noticing markups.