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VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives

Statement of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
before the
VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee
of the
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

May 9, 2001

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you to discuss President Bush’s fiscal year 2002 budget request for the EPA.

With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer a brief opening statement and then submit a longer statement for the record.

I am pleased to report that the President’s budget provides the funding necessary for the EPA to carry out its mission effectively and efficiently in the next fiscal year. The FY 2002 request of $7.3 billion is a $56 million increase over last year’s request.

The President’s budget request for EPA reflects a commitment to building and strengthening partnerships across America – partnerships we need to achieve our goal of making America’s air cleaner, our water purer, and our land better protected. The budget encourages the development of innovative environmental programs and embraces the expertise and experience of state, local, and tribal governments, while providing them with greater flexibility with which to pursue our shared goals. America’s states and tribes receive $3.3 billion in this proposed budget, $500 million more than was requested by the previous Administration.

Included in these funds is a $25 million grant program for state enforcement programs. Each year, the states perform about 95 percent of the Nation’s environmental compliance inspections and take about 90 percent of the enforcement actions. This program will allow the states to enhance their enforcement efforts in ways that will increase accountability for results and will provide flexibility to address unique needs.

The President’s proposed budget also includes $25 million to improve the states’ environmental information systems. By helping states and the EPA exchange information electronically, we will improve accuracy and provide for better decision making.

For the continued cleanup of toxic waste sites, the President’s budget requests $1.3 billion for Superfund. This will allow us to continue to work to address the cleanup of the 1,200 sites that remain on the Federal National Priority List, while also supporting the Department of Defense’s effort to clean up sites that were part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.

I am also pleased to report that the proposed budget increases funding for the brownfields program by $5 million above last year’s enacted budget, to $98 million. This program will provide additional support for the State Voluntary Cleanup Programs and the Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot program. It is an excellent illustration of a successful partnership between the federal government and the states.

With respect to America’s water infrastructure, the President’s budget proposal includes $2.1 billion in grants to states to ensure that every American community enjoys safe and clean water. The Administration’s proposal of $1.3 billion in wastewater infrastructure grants to the states includes $450 million in a new program to help communities address Combined Sewer Overflows and Sanitary Sewer Overflows. Also included is $850 million for continued capitalization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Overall, the President’s request for water infrastructure is $500 million greater than last year’s request.

In this budget proposal, we have sought to strike the appropriate balance between the need for infrastructure funding – both for the Clean Water SRF and for the new grant program – and the exercise of judicious fiscal restraint. Our proposal of $850 million for the Clean Water SRF and $450 million for the Wet Weather Act achieves these goals – important goals which the Administration certainly shares with the Congress.

The President’s budget also fully maintains support for EPA’s core water quality programs – programs that help the states manage water quality programs and addresses nonpoint source pollution. We will be working with the states to develop TMDL standards for their most impaired waters, as well as to provide technical assistance in the adoption and implementation of new drinking water standards. We also maintain support for the development of beach monitoring and notification programs by state and local governments.

With respect to drinking water, the President’s budget proposes to maintain capitalization of the drinking water State Revolving Fund at the current level of $823 million. The President’s budget will continue to provide states with the flexibility to transfer funds between their clean water and drinking water State Revolving Funds, helping them address their most critical needs.

I am also pleased that the President’s budget request maintains current funding for EPA’s clean air program. This will allow us to build on the progress we have made since the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990. It will also allow us to strengthen our relationships with our state, tribal, and local partners, by providing $220 million to help them carry our their Clean Air act responsibilities.

Despite the progress that has been made, much remains to be done. More than 150 millions tons of air pollution were released into the air in the United States in 1999. More than 62 million of our fellow Americans lived in counties where monitored data showed unhealthy air for one or more of the six common pollutants.

By using EPA’s authority to set standards that will clean the air and protect public health – authority recently affirmed by the Supreme Court – we will continue to work with the states to reduce transported emissions of smog producing pollutants and we will seek to expand the existing nine-state, market-based allowance trading system to additional states.

With respect to global climate change, the Administration is requesting $145 million in FY 2002 to strengthen our partnerships with business, organizations and consumers to achieve voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

These efforts are expected to result in an annual reduction of more than 73 million metric tons of carbon equivalent, reduce energy consumption by more than 85 billion kilowatt hours which will save consumers more than $10 billion in energy costs – and help develop a new generation of efficient, cleaner cars and trucks.

As businesses and individuals purchase new vehicles and equipment over the coming decade, we want to do all we can to ensure that these purchasers have smarter, cleaner, more efficient options available to them. Therefore, this budget supports our voluntary efforts to promote the development of such equipment and vehicles.

As important as the air we breathe, is the safety of the food we eat. The President’s proposed budget supports the important work of using the strongest science to ensure that industrial chemicals and pesticides meet today’s food safety standards. Both our pesticides and chemical programs seek to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that the products used to protect against insects and other threats to crops are safe, not just to the food we eat, but to the environment as well.

In all of the work we do at EPA, I am committed to ensuring that the policies we set are based on the best scientific information available. To help ensure the availability of solid scientific analysis, the President’s budget supports a strong and rigorous research program, including a proposed $535 million for the Office of Research and Development – a $5 million increase over last year’s budget request.

In addition, the President’s budget proposal includes $110 million for the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. This program gives EPA access to the best environmental scientists and engineers from outside the Agency, so that we can always be assured we are relying on the strongest science available.

Taken together, the President’s budget helps communities across America address their most pressing environmental priorities. It provides the funds – and sets the priorities – my Agency needs to meet its mission of protecting our environment and safeguarding the public health. It is this Administration’s first instalment on our pledge to leave America’s air cleaner, water purer, and land better protected than we found it.

I would be happy, now, to take any questions you may have.