“Last year alone, EPA saved Americans $1.5 billion through deregulatory actions. In the challenging economic times ahead, reducing excessive regulatory burdens to promote and reinvigorate our economy has never been more important.”
Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a hearing titled “Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on witness testimony click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I’d like to welcome the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Honorable Andrew Wheeler, to the committee today.
“Today’s hearing is an opportunity to hear about EPA’s good work and a chance for committee members to ask questions.
“The Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the communities where our families live.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has worked hard to provide the public with updated information on which disinfectants and cleaning products can be safely used to kill the virus.
“In addition, EPA has made grant funding available to states and tribes to help low-income and minority communities address the coronavirus.
“EPA has also provided thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to aid emergency and health professionals during the pandemic.
“And EPA issued timely guidance to states and businesses about how it will enforce environmental laws when social distancing affects normal activities.
“I look forward to hearing more about the agency’s work to combat the virus during today’s hearing.
“In addition to its work on the virus, the agency has pursued policies to protect the environment, while supporting the economy.
“EPA has replaced punishing regulations that harmed the coal industry, farmers and ranchers, and many small businesses in my home state of Wyoming and across the country.
“In 2017, the Department of Commerce asked manufacturers which federal government agency generated the greatest regulatory burdens.
“The answer was clear – it was EPA.
“At the top of the list were the Waters of the U.S. rule and Clean Air Act rules.
“This year, the Trump administration replaced the Obama administration’s illegal Waters of the U.S. rule.
“Under the old rule, ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes would have fallen under Washington’s control.
“The replacement Waters of the U.S. rule, known as the ‘Navigable Waters Protection rule,’ is supported by states, as well as farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.
“Last year, the EPA finalized the Affordable Clean Energy rule as a common sense replacement to the over-reaching Clean Power Plan.
“The new rule follows the law and will enable the U.S. to continue to lower emissions.
“Under the current administration, EPA has saved over $5 billion in regulatory costs.
“Last year alone, EPA saved Americans an estimated $1.5 billion through deregulatory actions.
“In the challenging economic times ahead, reducing excessive regulatory burdens to promote and reinvigorate our economy has never been more important.
“At the same time, EPA has refocused its mission on the basics of environmental protection and lowering pollution levels.
“This important work protects our nation’s air, land and water.
“EPA financing has allowed billions in loans to upgrade aging infrastructure to move forward.
“These investments ensure Americans have clean water for drinking and for recreation.
“Over the past three years, the EPA has helped finance more than $8 billion worth of infrastructure projects under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program alone.
“In his written testimony today, Administrator Wheeler estimates these projects can create more than 16,000 jobs.
“EPA has also made real progress in cleaning up some of our nation’s most contaminated sites.
“Last year, EPA completed its work on all or part of 27 Superfund sites on the National Priorities List.
“That’s the most since 2007.
“Under EPA’s Brownfield and Land Revitalization Program, the agency has focused on cleaning up land in economically distressed communities, particularly those located in Opportunity Zones.
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created Opportunity Zones as a way to spur economic development in the communities that need it most.
“I am pleased EPA is taking actions to carry out its core mission of protecting public health and the environment, while supporting economic growth.
“We can – and must – do both.”