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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  October 20, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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goods manufacturers association and usa football be in a record. >> so done. >> with that i yield back for gus b. i thank the senator and call upon senator udall who has been huge in putting together all of this. >> thank you chairman rockefeller and thank you for that nice comment. i very much appreciate you holding this hearing today. i would like to say a few words and ask my full statement be put in record the record and mr. chairman, i greatly appreciate your efforts to promote grain research and is chairman of the subcommittee your close attention to consumer protection issues.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: the senator from kentucky, i find it a tragedy that we are operating here in the senate by introducing an 868-page bill with 48 hours to read it, approximately 1,000 pages worth of amendments to this bill with virtually no time to read or think about the
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amendments. i think it's precisely what's wrong with this body that we would try to rush things through. i've been here since january and there have been no hearings on no child left behind. i have had no hearings that involve teachers, no hearings that involve superintendents, no hearings that involve principals. i think this is an affront to the process. as i go around my state and i talk to teachers, i've yet to meet one teacher who's in favor of no child left behind. they abhor it. they hate all the stuff we are telling them what to do from washington. they want more local control. i'm one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control. there's no provision in the constitution for the federal government to be involved period. this was part of the republican platform for nearly 30 years, that we didn't believe in federal control. we wanted to leave local control.i met with six teachersy
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from madear county. they like teaching kids who have difficulty learning and have to be fought in a different fashion in order to get through to these kids. but they showed me a cute little boy, 15 years old, who has a three-word vocabulary. he's tested in world geography and the teacher is told that she's a bad teacher because the child, who has a three-world vocabulary, did poorly on testing. this is insane, and it needs to be discussed in a rational fashion. we need to have teachers involved in the process, for goodness's sakes. principals, superintendents. i have a letter here from the american association of school administrators, the national association of elementary school principals, the national education association, the national school boards association, and the national association of secondary school principals, and they say "we hope that in getting this important work of getting policy
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right we will not be pushed to the side in a race against the clock." i feel pushed aside. 868-page bill and 48 hours to read it. it is wrong. all i am asking for is a hearing to listen to teachers. should we not listen to the teachers? a hearing to listen to the superintendents. a hearing to listen to the principals. let them read the bill and find out what's in the bill. i am not going to accept what nancy pelosi said, "you can about it after the fact." that's the process here. 868 pages? when are we going to read it? after they pass it. who's been involved in crafting this legislation? i'm on athe committee. nobody asked me, nobody consulted with me, and i think that's the same with most of the people on the committee. the letter from this group also says, "we note that the proposed law is still heavily reliant on the idea of testing every child, every year through one single
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high-stakes assessment. there are many problems. i would be in favor of getting righted of "no child left behind"." no teachers are for t i'd like to see a survey of teachers. i would like it have the teachers do a survey of their population that says, who's in favor of "no child left behind" before we act? i would like teachers to propose amendments to my office to fix "no child left behind" if we're not going to scrap it. i would like to hear from the superintendents. what do you think of this 868-page bill we got on monday? what do you think of this bill and how can we make it better? we will not have time to hear from them because we're struggling to get through the 868 pages and another 1,000 pages of amendments. this process is rotten from the top to the bottom, and what i would ask for is that we have a hearing. let's invite teachers to washington, let's invite superintendents, let's invite principals to washington. let's find out what they think of "no child left behind" before we rush through an 86-page bill that no one -- an 868-page bill
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that no one mass had time to read. this is what's wrong with washington. this is the type of arrogance about the way washington works that is really making us unpopular in the public's ievment i say fix "no child left behind," repeal it or fix it. but at least give us time read the bill and i object to this unanimous consent. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the gentleman is recognized. mr. harkin: mr. president, i'll sorry that the senator from kentucky is objecting to our meeting. i say to my friend from kentucky, the one thing that i believe that both senator enzi and i did -- and other members of our committee on both sides of the aisle did -- to get this bill to where it is was to put aside ideology, to put aside ideology, to do what's best for our kids. i believe the "help" committee on both sides of the aisle -- senator enzi and i, on both sides -- have done everything i
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ible to move the bill in a considerate, logical legislative manner. we started on this last year. i say to my friend from kentucky, we had 10 hearings last year -- 10 good, long hearings. we had siewptz, we had teachers -- we had superintendents, we had teachers, we had principals, we had a broad input from across america into what they wanted in a reauthorization bill. now, i'm sorry the senator wasn't here last year, but the senate is a continuing body. does that mean that every two years we have to start all over from scratch every time? so we had all our hearings last year. and that was cleared again with senator enzi and i. let's get the hearings out of the road and then this year we could focus on putting the bill together. so we had our hearings. i say to my friend, we brought in teachers, principals,
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superintendents from all over america. and then starting in january, we began a time-honored process whereby the chairman and ranking member started working on putting the bill together with our professional staff. that's why we have professional staff. senator alexander was in involved in that, other senators were brought in, senator bennet, senator franken, others on the republican side were brought in on that. i would say this, mr. president: the senator from kentucky had every day since he was sworn in in january to come to me or to go to senator enzi and say, i'm on the committee. here's what i would like in the bill. and that would have been considered. other senators did that. i see two of them sitting here right now who came and said, here's what i'd like to have in
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the bill. well, i sat down with senator enzi, we discussed it, some "yes," some "no," some modifications, work it out through the process, as we went through. now, i don't know if the senator from kentucky ever went to see senator enzi about what he wanted in the bism i know he didn't come see me. our doors are open. there was no secret that we were meeting. meeting about this. we started in january. everybody in our committee -- the staffs all knew that. so that is the legislative process. and when it's all done, we want to put together a bipartisan bill. that's what we did. i say to my friend from kentucky, it wasn't filed 48 hours ago. it was filed a weekal yesterday -- tuesday that bill was filed, it was put online. i put that bill online. so would had a whole week to look at it. and, quite frankly, what
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happened is we got a feedback. i say to my friend, we put the bill online, we got feedback, and as a result of that we made some final changes. that is the legislative process. and so senator enzi and i worked together on a managers' amendment to incorporate some of the objections that came in during the week to make the bill even more bipartisan. and we filed that managers' amendment on monday morning at 10:00. but that wasn't the whole bill. i put the bhoal bill online a week ago -- i put the whole bill online a week ago use it day. it was just the managers' amendment, a fine-tuning of it before we met in markup. so i say that the senator from kentucky had every opportunity to let us know what he wanted in that bill, and i never saw him. i never saw him.
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he never came to me. i'm on the floor all the time. my door is open. my staff is available. my professional staff is available. and, if the senator from kentucky had segment wanted in the bill and it wasn't -- had something he wanted in the bill and it wasn't included, he has the right to offer an amendment of i wanted this committee to operate in an open manner, in a manner in which we have operated in the past legislatively. the senator didn't have something in the bill that he wanted in, he has the right to offer an amendment and to debate it and get a vote on it in our committee. and the senator has filed 74 amendments. we had 144 amendments filed. under our rules it had to be filed 49 hours before. the senator from kentucky offered 74 amendments. well, now the senator from
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kentucky is objecting to our even meeting to consider his own amendments. please, someone explain the logic of that to the senator from iowa. he's got the amendments. the process is open. he can offer amendments. get them debated. get them voted on. but the senator from kentucky is objecting to us meeting in order to even consider his amendments. secondly, i heard the senator again on the floor today and earlier when we met earlier this morning in committee to start our process of mark up the bill, said he wanted to do with "no child left behind." -- he wanted to do away with "no child left behind." that's exactly what this bill does. it gets rid of "no child left behind" and some of the narrow prescriptions and proscriptions in the bill and does in fact return a lot to local control, and we build a partnership, a partnership with the federal government and state and local governments.
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a better partnership than what we've had in the past. and i think that's why we have a good, bipartisan bill. again, i -- the senator from kentucky and i probably have different views on this. i understand that. that's why we have a senate. that's why we have debates. that's why we have committee meetings and markups. if i were writing the bill, i would write a completely different bill than the senator from kentucky would write. he would write one completely different than mine. that's why we meet in committeees. that's why we harm these things out over a long process. you don't just shout the door and say, it's my -- you don't just shut the door and say, it's my way or no way. i'm the chairman, i'm willing to listen to his amendments and have him offer them. but how can we hear his amendments, consider his amendments if the senator won't even allow us to meet under the rules of the senate? i have no logical explanation for that.
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well, there's a lot more i could say, mr. president, but this is just -- this is just illogical. that's all i can say. it's just illogical. i see the senator from colorado on his feet. i would yield to the senator from colorado for any questions he might have. mr. bennet: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. mr. bennet: mr. president, thank you. and i have never done this in the two and a half years that i have been in the senate. i haven't been here a long time, and i've spent a lot of time complaining about the way this place works. but i had to come to the floor to implore the senator from kentucky to reconsider his objection. and i do it not because i have a perspective on this as a united states senator. i do it because i had the honor of serving as the superintendent of schools of denver for four years of my life and have dedicated years of my life, but
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more importantly, seen the dedication of the people that are working in our schools. the senator speaks of the tragedy of this process. i'll stem cell what you a -- i'll tell you what a tragedy is. the tragedy is that only nine of 100 children livering in poverty in this country in 2011 can expect to get a college degree. that's a tragedy. the fact that when i became superintendent in the denver public schools, on the 10th grade math test there were 33 african-american students proficient on that test and 61 latino students proficient on that tevment a test, mr. president, that if we're honest with ourselves -- which we're not -- measures a junior high school standard of mathematicamathmatter proficie . that's a tragedy. it is a tragedy that there are people working in our schools right now at 11:15 in colorado
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doing the best they can to serve our kids and we think a two-hour meet something too long. that's a tragedy. i wouldn't have drafted the bill exactly the way it's been drafted. the chairman knows that. he and i even have disagreements about some of the things in this bill. but finally, after two and a half years, there's a bipartisan piece of legislation in front of the committee that's having the benefit of the work of the senators that are there, and we're told that meeting for two hours is too long. the senator has every right to make his objection under the senate rules, which the president has observed may need some updating. but i think if you ask yourself why is it that we have a 12% approval rating that's going down, it's because of this kind of thing. i actually looked forward to hearing the senator from
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kentucky's amendments. i wanted to know what they were. as the chairman mentioned, there are 146 amendments that have been offered. i have some that i've offered. only three or four. the senator from kentucky has 74 of the 140 amendments. notice two hours we met today, we considered three amendments, i think -- ored on threevment we were debating a -- or vietnamedr voted on three. if we're going to do in this two-hour increments, my math -- i am proficient in math, thank goodness. my smaght that it would make -- my math is that it would take 60 days to do this in two-hour increments. you know why people are fed up with this place? is because they don't think the debate we're having is about them. they think the debate we're
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having is about us. and you know what? they're right about that. they're right about that. the teachers all across my state, all across the district that i have worked in want us to lift this burden from them. in my view, the biggest federal overreach ever in domestic policy. and that's what this bill does, not for ideological reasons, but to help respond to the voices of our teachers, respond to the voices of our superintendent, respond to the voices of our parents who are sick and tired of the almost comical, but to them painful measures of annual, yearly progress. the idea that we're going to label all of our schools failing by 2014 because we have a completely madeup accountability system in washington, d.c. this bill does away with that t.
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doesn't do it in exactly the way that i would want to do it, left to my own devices, but it does it in a way that can get bipartisan support in the united states senate. so, and i mean this broadly. i'm not saying this in this case. when people see the political games that are being played here, when they see people that are unwilling to work together, and they are killing themselves to deliver for our kids, i'm not sure there's anything more backhanded we can do. so i would beg the senator from kentucky to let us have the hearing of, the committee meeting. let us consider his amendments and all the rest. today's conversation was one of the first -- i regret to say
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this -- one of the first substantive conversations that i have had in a committee hearing since i have been here. and i thank the chairman and i thank the ranking member for creating a context where that could happen. let's have the conversation. i'd be happy to meet 24 hours a day to talk about this subject with the senator from kentucky. 24 hours a day every day. because if you care about the widening gap between rich and poor in this country, you cannot sustain anything remotely approaching our -- a senator: will the senator yield for a question? mr. bennet: i will in one second. anything remotely approaching our claim to be a land of opportunity when 9 out of 100
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children born in poverty can graduate with a college degree, when 91 out of 100 children who are unfortunate enough to be born poor are con straepbd to the march -- constrained to the margin of our democracy and the margin of our economy. just to be clear about it, there are 100 seats in the united states senate. when i walk in this room, i think about what if the 100 people that were here were children living in poverty in the united states? here's how many would have a college degree that. chair, that chair, that chair, that chair, these four chairs and this one. that's it. the rest of this chamber would be occupied by people that didn't have the benefit of a college degree. mr. paul: will the senator yield for a question? mr. harkin: i believe i have the floor. mr. bennet: mr. president. mr. paul: i'm asking to yield for a question. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa has the floor. mr. harkin: again, i recognize the senator wants to, let's do
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this in a logical, again, orderly manner. people want to be here to speak, i think the senator from colorado made some good points. i was yielding to him for a question. i would yield if the senator from minnesota has a question. then the senator from kentucky has every right to speak. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: under the current structure, how long before a member on this side can be recognized? the presiding officer: a senator cannot be recognized until the floor is relinquished. mr. burr: i thank the chair and i yield back. mr. harkin: i would yield to the senator from minnesota for a question. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me to ask a question. i just really want to know,
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because i've only been here two-plus years, but it seems to me that actually -- and from my perspective. this is my perspective -- that this committee has worked in a pretty functional way. it took a long time. we started having hearings on this -- how long ago was it? about a year and a half? mr. harkin: my friend from minnesota, it started at least a year and a half ago. maybe a year and three quarters ago. mr. franken: okay. during this whole period i talked with you. i have asked to see the ranking member and meet with him in his office to hell him what i want -- to tell him what i wanted to see in this bill. i agree with the senator from
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kentucky, who talked about there's just one test at the end of the year, and the kids don't -- the teachers don't get to see the results until the kids are out the door. i think that's terrible. and i'm offering an amendment that the ranking member referred to today. and i have gone all around my state since i've been a committee member and talked to teachers about how to -- what they want to see to fix this or to get rid of "no child left behind" and replace it with something that makes sense. that's exactly what we're doing. isn't this the normal order of things? that's my question. i went to senator alexander and met with him in his office to explain what i wanted in this. and my staff has been meeting
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with every other member -- not every other member's staff but every other member's staff who seems to be engaged in this on both sides of the aisle, with your staff, with the committee staff, with staff from senator enzi's office, i keep hearing whose staff they're talking to about this amendment or that amendment or this piece that's going to be in the managers' bill. i mean, i think i have spent more time on this bill than on any other bill in my time here, and nothing has stopped me from being engaged in it. and i don't think there's anything that has stopped anyone in our committee from going back
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over the transcripts of the many, many hearings we had. and i do that often. so my question is: is this -- am i wrong here or hasn't this been conducted in a way that's actually as these things go, pretty functional for any member who wants to be engaged in the process? and i think what it does -- i think there's a responsibility on the behalf of committee members. and isn't there a responsibility on the behalf of committee members to be active in the committee, to come to hearings, to be engaged in the process, to approach the chair, to approach the ranking member? isn't that part of our responsibility? mr. harkin: i say to my friend from minnesota, that i think's
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right, if you want to be engaged in the process of legislation, then, like i said, the senator from minnesota has talked to me many times about what he wants in the bill as well as the senator from colorado and people on the republican side have talked to me about what should be in the bill, what shouldn't be in the bill. that is the process. and i would say to my friend from minnesota that i've been chairman twice before -- not of this committee but of the agriculture committee -- when we did major agricultural bills. one was in 2001 and the other one was in 2007. both times i worked with the ranking members, basically the same kind of process. and we got bipartisan bills through that were signed by president bush both times, 2001 and in 2007. and this is the process we used. and we let amendments be offered. we opened up. no one on the committee ever
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raised an objection to our meeting during the senate session. and we got our jobs done. that's the way we've always done. that's the legislative, as i said, considerate, logical legislative process i say to my friend from minnesota. that's the way we've always conducted it. what it does, it allows members, senators who are interested, as the senator from minnesota has been so keenly interested in this indication bill, to give them -- in this education bill, to give them time, to go to phaoerbgs to go to the -- to go to me, to go to the ranking member. i say to my friend from minnesota, i'm sure we didn't put in everything he wanted in the bill, but i think the senator has the right to offer the amendments in committee. mr. franken: i really want to thank the ranking member for his -- we talk on the phone about this.
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we've talked over dinner about this bill. i want to thank senator alexander. i asked to come to his office, and we spent a very, very substantive session talking exactly about how i saw this, what was wrong with "no child left behind" and how we could get essentially get rid of it and solve what it is that every teacher hates about it and what principals hate about it and what superintendents hate about it. and senator alexander and i had some disagreements on things, but, man, i think we agreed on 80% of this, and i think i had an 80% agreement -- that's senator enzi's rule. he has this 80% rule, which is
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that we agree on 80% and we focus on the 20%. i have a 64% rule, which is that 80% of the time we agree on 80%. and you see senator bennet laugh because he is proficient at math. mr. harkin: i didn't know if the senator from kentucky wanted me to yield to him for a question to get involved in the colloquy or not, or the senator from north carolina. i don't know if the senator from kentucky wanted me to yield for a question or a colloquy. i'd be glad to do that. mr. paul: yes, mr. president, i do have a question. several members on the committee have said they would be happy to have meetings 24 hours a day. why don't we have a hearing on the bill? why don't we invite teachers, superintendents and principals? there's been no hearing since the last election. there is no reason why we can't. the other question you have and you need to answer is what do you say to the national association of elementary school
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principals, the national education association, the national school boards association and the national association of secondary school principals who say let's don't get pushed aside in this race against the clock? i'm not opposed to much of what is going to happen with the bill. i think "no child left behind" has many errors and we can fix some of them. what i'm opposed to is the process of giving us an 868-page bill yesterday and saying take it or leave it. we need more time to read the bill. we need these organizations who are very interested in education and is their livelihood to come in and make comment on this bill. that would be an open hearings process. so anything else to me is disingenuous. mr. harkin: i say to my friend from kentucky -- and i will yield the floor very soon. i say to my friend from kentucky that -- i will say it again, we put this bill online a week ago tuesday. some of the mail that you're
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talking about, the letters came in after that because they read the bill. epbgt primary -- i think the primary objections in all those letters had to do with teacher evaluations and how, what we're going to do in the bill on teacher evaluations. well, that's what we fix in the managers' amendment that we laid down monday morning. i am told -- i haven't seen it but i am told that the national education association, for example, has withdrawn from that letter because of the fix we made. and that's why you put the bill online. i said that earlier. we put it online, a lot of objections came in, we modified it in a managers' amendment to move forward on that bill. that's exactly how we do it. and i say to my friend from kentucky that we have had a whole week. again, my friend has filed 74
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amendments to the bill. how can you file 74 amendments if you haven't read the bill? i mean, it seems to me if you file 74 amendments, you must have read the bill. i assume that last week, the senator must have read the bill and then filed 74 amendments on the bill. you can't have it both ways. you can't say i didn't read the bill, but here's 74 amendments. that doesn't kind of hold together logically. so again, i will just close on this note. the senator from california is absolutely right. we're here talking about process and who's up, who's down, all of this kind of stuff. there are teachers out in america that are grappling with kids now that are under this burden of no child left behind and these a.y.p.'s, knowing that no matter how much they progress their kids in one year, they are
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still failing, and this bill relieves them of that, takes that yoke off of them. every one of us has heard when we go back to our states, from teachers, from parents, from administrators that this no child left behind is not good. it's got to be changed, it's got to be fixed, and that's what our bill does. yet how are we going to change it, how are we going to fix it if we're not even allowed to meet? so again, i hope the senator from kentucky again would allow us to move forward in this process and allow us to go ahead and have our amendment processed. i say to my friend he has another shot at this bill on the floor. so we have the committee and we're going to come to the floor and amendments will be offered on the floor. that's the legislative process. no one person gets to dictate what's in this bill, not one person. not me, not senator enzi, not the senator from kentucky.
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no one person gets to dictate it. we're all working together collaboratively in a bipartisan fashion i think we can shape an
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here in spirit and very much an supporting our interest and our effort on the brownfields opportunity. so i thank you, witnesses, for being here. and senator here as well. i welcome everyone to today's oversight hearing. we're going to focus on obviously on environmental
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protection agency's brownfields program. brownfields are blighted properties that have been a drag on local economies because of contamination or the mere perception of contamination. often these are abandoned industrial sites where parents don't want their kids to play, and few businesses will take the chance to locate in one of these, with one of these sites. now, the epa started its brownfields program more than a decade ago to transfer, transform these community eyesores into community assets. since then epa has cleared up more than 600 brownfields in communities across our country, putting more than 20,000 acres back to productive use. much of that is urban, but also
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in rural areas as well. when you think about that kind of opportunity to have property available for community use, it's a wonderful gain. these cleanups have created more than 72,000 jobs, attracted more than $17 billion in private investment. once brownfields are rehabilitated they often spark neighborhood revitalization, boost property value, and make communities more attractive places to live, work and do business. in my home state of new jersey, elizabeth, a city in our state, used a federal brownfields grant to help transform abandoned industrial and a new affordable housing. in trenton, new jersey, our state capital, our fish are using brownfields funding to clean up a site where lead asset
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batteries were once made and stored. the property is safe and usable. hudson county, one of our more crowded counties, is using brownfields funding to attract new investments, that's what we'll hear when we're joined by betty spinelli, hudson county's economic development chief. she'll tell us about these new investments. successful projects like these demonstrate why we should reauthorize the brownfields program and invest more in it. congress first authorized the brownfields program in 2002, while the authorization ended four years later, congress has continued to fund it because we recognize that it's good for ongoing business. success. it's time to reauthorize the program because we still have a lot of work to do, and a lot of opportunity to gain.
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there are 450,000 brownfield sites across this country and the communities where these are located need help to reclaim them. and we also should take this opportunity to strengthen the brownfields law. for example, some have suggested that the law should explicitly allow ep, to award assessment and cleanup grants at the same time which conceivably could streamline the process and make sure that the resources reach communities faster. in addition, non-profit organizations want to compete for a wider variety of brownfield grants. and i believe that we've got to do more to encourage renewable energy on brownfields. it just makes sense to put new solar or wind facilities on properties unused properties, blighted, that they might have been, rather than open space or
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sensitive lands. so, i believe both parties can find the common ground that we need to reauthorization and improve the brownfields program. the program is a proven success, and a magnate for community investment and we should not hesitate to renew it. and i look forward to moving this issue forward in this congress beginning with today's hearing and i'm pleased to be here with a good friend, different perspective. my area is much more open and expansive than senator inhofe. here we are, senator inhofe. >> thank you. this will be a shock to a lot of you. i hate to do it at this time of
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the morning. but frank lautenberg and i don't always agree. in this area i think we do agree. except for one thing. you said a minute ago on what they should be doing with property that comes back. i think that should be left to the cities and the states to make a determination as to what's best for them. but i think this is one of the programs, and i've been critical of the epa, one that i think has worked well, the brownsfields program is an example of a program that epa add ministers which does increase economic opportunities. there are many more opportunities for improvement. i'm pleased with the reforms we passed in 2002. that was the small business liability relief and brownsfield revitalization act. however, more needs to be done on the liability. for example, under current law if a city or municipality has acquired a brownfields property
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prior to 2002, they are ineligible to apply for brownfields grant unless they have performed, quote, all appropriate inquiry, unquote. this means that properties that a city has acquired through no action of their own prior to 2002, are ineligible to apply to the brownfields program unless they are able to prove that they have provided, quote, all appropriate inquiry, unquote, into the previous owner's use of the property. this cannot be done in many cases. the end result is that a number of these properties that are sit stagnant and vacant because cities are unable to demonstrate that they have performed all appropriate inquiries and thus they are unable to apply to the brownfields program. we should allow these cities and local governments to be eligible to apply for the program and not require them to prove that they performed all appropriate inquiry providing -- provided
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that they did not cause or contribute the contamination. in other words f this happened through no cause of their own they should be able to do this. by providing this liability relief we would bring a number of these vacant and stagnant properties into meaningful use. this would create needed jobs and a new stream of revenue for local governments already short on revenue. given our current economic situation this is not the time to push for an authorization increase for the brownfields program. we need to do more with less, one example to decrease the amount of funding that goes toward administrative costs. and redirect those funds to be spent on the ground. although the epa made a conscious effort to balancing rural and urban needs with the program, smaller communities, that's what we have in oklahoma, smaller communities, and very rural areas, are still in need
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of better access to this program. this is an area i'd like to work to improve. finally i would like to extend a warm welcome to, on the second panel, one of our witnesses is the mayor of oklahoma city, nick kornet. he has done an incredible job and has a great story on how the brownfield program can and does good work. oklahoma city has been particularly successful in using that program to improve their community and increase economic opportunities for the citizens. i'm not the only one impressed with the mayor's work. he was awarded the u.s. epa phoenix award for oklahoma city's work with the dell center project, a former landfill that has since revitalized and now employs a number of oklahomaens. also welcome aaron schiff, the brownsfield programs manager for idaho. i think about what's happened in oklahoma city, i was mayor of tulsa, at that time i think most
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people would look at it and say tulsa actually did a better job than oklahoma city. these are the two largest cities in oklahoma. but starting back i guess it was kirk humphrys, then ron and then nick kornet have come through and put this program together. you go through the oklahoma city area right now, mr. chairman, you are looking down at brick town, the use of the waterway in there. and a lot of this is tied to this program. so, i congratulate oklahoma city on the great work they have done, and i hope that we'll pay particular attention to mick kornet when he makes his presentation. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much. mr. lloyd, we look forward to hearing from you. mr. lloyd is the director of the brownfields program for environmental protection, for the environmental protection
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agency, and in this role mr. lloyd oversees epa's efforts to review applications, issue brownfield grants to communities, states and nonprofit organizations so. mr. lloyd, we welcome you and you may begin your testimony now please. >> thank you, good morning, mr. chairman and members of the committee. my name is david lloyd, as was said, i'm the director of epa's office of brownfields and land revitalization in the office of solid waste and emergency response. i'm here to talk about the brownfield program and i would like to thank members of this committee and the subcommittee for their long term bipartisan support of the epa brownfields program. as you know and has been said, brownfields are all around us really in the smallest towns and in the largest cities. empty warehouses, abandoned deteriorating factories, vacant gas stations and junk filled lots, often in town and city
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center locations. both in small and large cities. and they are visible. but they are and have the efficiency and benefit of often being located near existing infrastructure such as road access, power and other utilities. epa's brownfields program can provide resources for the assessment, cleanup, technical assistance and job training that can ep move these properties to productive use. since the program's "inception" in 1995, as senator noted, we have continued to provide tools and have been able to help in the assessment, fund the assessment of 17,500 properties, made over 24,000 acres ready for reuse, more than 72,000 jobs for cleanup and redevelopment and leveraged more than $17.5 billion in economic development, working with communities, states, tribes and other federal agencies we think the program
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has really become a coordinated national effort that is community-based, looking at the needs of the communities and not the desires of the federal program. in addition to the grant programs we conduct targeted brownfield assessments and fund those through contracts with small and large businesses and interagency agreements. these single property assessments really help communities particularly smaller and rural communities to look at their sites and figure out what the next path forward a. good example is the ma riddian creamery in idaho. epa funded a targeted assessment and we're following that, the property was redeveloped, has 100,000 square foot facility used as the new municipal contract. epa began a pilot program that provides research and technical assistance support for brownfield's area wide planning. brownfields area wide planning
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looks at individual brownfields sites or collections of sites and helps the community decide what is needed to get those properties cleaned and back into reuse. they might be a neighborhood, a commercial corridor, a downtown district or a greenway but they help them develop clean-up and reuse strategiesment we had 23 recipients including several small rural communities that received this funding. some examples, would include a project, a large project ongoing in tulsa, oklahoma which we'll focus on 59 sites but will benefit -- >> let me, without losing his time ask him to repeat what he said. i was distracted. >> i was describing a program that we put in place last year using our existing authority, called brownfields areawide planning. what we're doing is funding -- we'll be moving forward, we're funding, we selected 23 communities of many sizes, rural
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and urban, to help them plan around either a group of brownfield sites or one large brownfield site and look not at just cleaning up that site but looking at the connectivity to what infrastructure is needed, business planning, economic planning, to help revitalize that whole area. so, for example, we have a project in tulsa, oklahoma, that is looking at 69 brownfields sites in the northern part of that city. and really, they are touching a wide range. ran son, west virginia, kalispell, montana, newark, new jersey, and also tribal lands. we have a project on the reservation in washington state to name a few. as other wngss will point out that are on the second panel, states and tribes are critically important partners and at the forefront of brownfields cleanup and redevelopment. the majority of cleanups are supervised and overseen by state
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response programs. since 2006, nearly 44,000 properties have enrolled in state and tribal response programs and more than 549,000 acres made ready for reuse through those programs. additionally t state and tribal response programs provide assistance. in 2012 epa is going to continue to focus on streamlining our grant application process, strengthening our state and grants a were referenced, providing broader assistance and expanding land revitalization across the programs. in closing, really our continued success will require collaboration among all levels of government. the government sector and non-governmental organizations. epa will implement the program to protect human health and the environment. enhanced public participation needed to build saef and sustainable communities through public and private partnerships
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and demonstrate environmental cleanup can be accomplished in a way that promotes economic redevelopment. i'm happy to answer questions. >> thank you, mr. lloyd. i ask question about renewable energy products. those cited on brownfield locations can spur community development, and while cleaning up pollution and reducing our dependence on other fuels. as we consider reauthorizing the brownfields law, what might we do to better encourage using contaminated lands for clean energy production? >> first i would note, i think you -- you mentioned there's nothing in the current statute that would prohibit that end use and in fact, we actively
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encourage renewable energy on brownfields and other contaminated lands as a positive reuse. there is an initiative that the office of solid waste is leading called the repower initiative. essentially that provides funding to and technical assistance to projects to help them see how renewable energy can be used and many of those are brownfields. a great example, technical assistance we provided to help a community develop solar arrays on a landfill and do that in a way that not only is protective but will produce the energy results. i think generally, as i've said in different forms, we like the community to decide what they need at a brownfield site, and it new try to direct them toward any specific end use. i think what we can do, senator, to help expand this area that you've expressed interest in and i think is a positive area s
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continue our technical assistance, i think strengthen it. and i think really, we have to provide the kind of technical assistance to communities that help them solve some of the more complicated problems relatable to renewable energy. it is in some parts of the country still a challenge to find connectivity to the grid. that's where we could shep by robust technical assistance on projects. >> because i don't know what -- how you measure the amount of contamination existing in a place like that. is there an easier mark if it's going to be used for non-direct personal human use, if it's an energy site? >> well, i think as i understand your question, i think i mean,
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this is one of the reasons i think contaminated sites in many instance do lend themselveses so well to renewable energy uses because they can be protected from direct contact by large numbers of people and still be providing a productive benefit for the community or broader. >> funding for the brownfields program has stayed roughly flat since the program was first authorized. are we turning away proposals that have merit as a result of lack of funding each year? can you give any indication at all how many you have to say no to as a result of the limited funds? >> well, first of all i would reiterate what i said earlier that i think the funding that we are able to provide and looks like in the near future will be able to provide is still going to do the things we want to do in terms of supporting state and
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tribal programs, helping communities clean and redevelop these sites. the program is very popular and i think part of the reason is because it really is a program where communities are sort of in charge what if they are doing. so, it is somewhat over subscribed. we have rougherly between 700 and 800 applications each year for our grant funding, and we typically award between 200 and 300 grants depending on the types of applications we get and our specific funding level. we are continually thinking of ways we can get resources out to communities that either aren't able to apply or aren't successful in applying. >> the estimates are there are 400 -- you said this in your comments, 450,000 brownfield sites across the country, the
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number is hard to conceive of. yet since the program's "inception," 1995, only 17,500 sites have been assessed. what can we do to change the law to help epa make properties safe and productive more quickly? >> i think, one, that figure 17,500, is -- would be assessments that were completed, completed entirely with epa funding. i think you know, looking and i reference the state and tribal response numbers, there's vastly more assessment and cleanup activity going on both at a state level as well. but i think that really, we're looking at ways that we might make our grants more efficient to make it faster both in the process by which we assess and evaluate grant applications, then also the process by which
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we get the money out there. that's a priority of my administrators that we move the money out as quickly as possible. we do have plan there is to help do that. >> i'm going to ask senator inhofe for his questions. but we'll keep the record open and send our requests to you in writing and ask that you give us a response. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm trying to think of ways that we might be able to, without expanding the funding for the program, get more from it. and we've talked about -- i mentioned this in my opening statement. i know that each year there is a conference called the brownsfield conference. it costs some in excess of $2 million. i don't understand why -- first of all, it's a good conference and i'm all for it and it's well
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attended, very popular. i support it. but i'm thinking that we, since a lot of the stuff you're doing is partnership type of thing that we ought to be able to maybe have that program underwritten in the private sector. have you thought about that? >> yes, senator. in a couple of ways. first, we -- the program a few years ago moved away from the annual conference to an 18-month conference. >> year and a half. >> now we are going to move to every two-year conference, that's one thing we think will help. secondly, we recognize also that while it's an extremely valuable training conference. we need to spread the cost of that more efficiently so we are looking at, for example, i think a modest reasonable fee structure that will still give the ability of nonprofits and community groups to participate. but will spread the cost more
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appropriately and also we are in the process of we will recompete the grant that we used to provide our content management, look at how conference vendors and companies that come into advertise there at the conference that they pay a fair share. we understand your concern and we are also under pressure to make sure we reduce expenses. >> i think it's a good idea but let me volunteer something i'm willing to do. during the planning stage of your next conference, i'd be willing to go to the private sector and list people who are willing to come in and to promote this. i believe we can get the entire conferences paid for in the private seconder. i'll be glad to assist. the only other thing i mentioned in my opening statement in terms of the percentage of the program is funded, that goes to administration, i understand
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about $24 million does out of a total -- i hope my figures are right, 165, which is about one-sixth of the total amount. i think that's a little too high in terms of percentage allocated for administration. do you have thoughts on that? >> well, yes. your numbers are basically correct. approximately correct. one reason that administrative cost is higher, just the machinery of accepting that many grant applications, not just in our assessment revolving loan fund but job training grant and other competition there is is fair amount of labor. we do that with assistance from a contract support. so a good part of the cost goes to things like that. but, we also are looking at you know, we recognize, too, the need to reduce that because every penny we spend on administrative costs is one less dollar or penny that goes to a
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community directly. for example, the data that we collect is critically important. our grantees are truly partners in that in that all of our data t data i read off in my opening statement comes from grantees reporting their progress. so we have a system in place that data base that collects that directly which is not the typical way to get data but it's worked well. but we are really looking and have looked and continue to look at ways to make that as inexpensive as possible. >> i appreciate that, in this day where we're talking about billions and tril lions this is nothing. i understand that. i've seen in oklahoma, for example, which you're going to hear from the mayor, some of the great things. it doesn't cost much money, i figured if we could squeeze and get one more project. i know mr. lloyd that you want to do that and we'll look forward to working with you on that. >> thank you.
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>> now thank you, mr. lloyd. i welcome our second panel, we'll hear now from a range of experts who have significant experience with the brownfields program. they include mayor mick kornet of oklahoma city, betty spinelli from my state, my home state, executive director of hudson county economic development corporation. in new jersey plxt aaron scheff, brownfields program manager for the idaho department of environmental quality. and evans paul is the executive director of the national brownfields coalition. and mary buchholz,ment of the environmental consulting -- environmental consulting solutions. and she previously worked at epa
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to help establish the groundfield program and now works in the private sector identifying the way to use renewable energy on brouwnfield. we welcome all of you. i would ask senator inhofe if he has a special welcoming word for mayor kornet. >> first of all, i think i stated that in my opening statement. but i would say that he's done a miraculous job. let me clarify something i said. oklahoma city, any objective person would look at oklahoma city and say you know, they really have done great things. as mick knows i used to use an airport, sorry that they closed, called downtown airport. and on my final approach i
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always went over that area of brick town and the waterway there and the ball park. i looked down. i've watched that develop and it's been amazing. i defy, i don't think there is any city in america that's done a better job. a lot is due to our witness sitting before us. i mentioned two of his predecessors also involved in that. i think that we or that he and oklahoma city provided an example what if we should strive for. he has done a great job. with that i'm delighted to have him as our witness before this committee. >> senator, appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today. i'm the mayor of oklahoma city and trustee for the conference of mayors. i'm pleased to be here to discuss the impact that brownfields redevelopment had on the city. we've been very successful in being able to use a lot of the epa programs including the revolving loan fund, assessment grants and epas to provide
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assistance. these programs have all helped us to leverage additional funding, create jobs and made a lot of improvements. i'm going to highlight a few of the examples. first of all oklahoma city has had a successful and recognized brownfields program where the recipient of two phoenix awards and national renewal award. our relationship with the epa program began in 2003 with a $225,000 cluster grant which was used to evaluate reuse. our early program involvement was with a hotel. this is a preservation effort that has been really a poster child of the regionnal andnalnal program. we used the brownfields loan funds in the president of $717,000 to clean up the asbestos which eliminate add barrier in making the numbers work and reopening that hotel. clean-up was completed in 2005. the restoration completed in february 2007, and this week it's celebrating its 100th anniversary as a property in oklahoma city. keep in mind for 20 years it was
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shuttered until we got the epa money. that restored hotel celebrating the centennial this week, serves as a mottle for successful public private corporation. 22 million of which were public funds. the resoxing funds offer low interest loans to qualifying property owners, this has been very helpful in our gap financing, the traditional lenders won't risk funding. oklahoma city filed three grants that have been helpful and supplemental funding for more than $6 million. these funds have leveraged about 4.5 million in private funds for every federal dollar spent. the city funded the dow center in the north part of oklahoma city, the loan total 1.7 million, we expect the private leverage to be 8.25 million. that was built in 1926 but had been vacant since the early 1 0 1990s. it was purchased in '96.
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it had asbestos issues. once the abatement was completed the building is now being redeveloped. the cleanup created 40 temporary jobs. and expected another 16.5 construction jobs. we've dawn project at community college, the grant was $200,000. we expect the total of local dollars to be nearly a million. ccc purchased that in december 2008 and is renovating it to host the capitol hill center. that center will provide a quality educational experience to the city's his span in community. that created 26 temporary jeremy bondermans. we've used assessment funds. since 2006 we've been awarded five $200,000 grants w these funds we performed about 60 assessments. these are often well leveraged.
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some of the assessments have been for properties acquired for major public projects paid through through bonds and sales tax measures. we've had some acquisition properties, we had a fire station open in the brick town area. as well as sites involving the good will company and also the u.s. postal service. others supported nonprofits, such as educational buildings a faith-based charity organization and a hospital. i'd like to speak about the national impact of brownfields. the laws had a positive impact. in a survey by the conference of mayers 84% of the cities that responded said they redeveloped a brownfield site and 150 reported that their sites have been redeveloped and 187,000 jobs created. every survey the top three impediments were the same. a lack of funds t need for environmental assistance and liability issues.
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i've also bringing ways we can improve the program. the brownfields law and program has a proven track record of leveraging investment and improving the environment. there is additional work we'd like done f.gao estimates there are about 40 to 600,000 brownfield sites in the u.s. the challenge that communities face, a lot of the easier sites have been developed. and the economic condition is challenging. we believe there are minor changes that would help allow additional redevelopment in economic growth that would be realiz realized. we like to see full funding, see the creation after multipurpose grant. we'd like to see the cleanup grant amounts increased and like to clarify the eligibility required 2002. i hope in some of the question and answer period we can get into that. i'd like to thank the committee for allowing me to testify.
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we believe that brown fields is a -- we believe it cleans up the environment, pro business, pro community, and i thank you for the opportunity to speak about the reauthorization opportunities. >> thanks very much, mayor. now we'll hear from this betty spinelli. the executive director of hudson county economic development corporation. and has seen some awards for projects that she's managed in hudson county. her program was awarded the new jersey department of environmental protection's first environmental excellence award. we congratulate you for that and welcome you here. and await your testimony. >> thank you, senator. thank you for the opportunity to come and speak today about the brownfields program. in hudson county, there are 600 -- over 600,000 people
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1846.6 square miles. with over 1,000 brownfield known contaminated sites on our local epa website, that gives us 21 sites per square mile. there's a brownfield site for everyone that lives in hudson county. the tragedy is we're always learning more and more about sites every day. it's not like there is a definitive number that we can just go clean up and walk away and say job well done. it's as we discover them we must take care ever them. in hudson county we were lucky enough to receive the first grant in 1998. and we had the opportunity at that time, being a not for profit and not a municipality to good out to the municipalities and offer our help to clean up sites at a time when people were not speaking about brownfields. we put together a work force group. that group is still together
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today and still working toward brownfield clean-ups, including bankers, developers, educators, individuals who are just interested in brownfields, and it's open to the public. we get every kind of person from every walk of life who wants to find out more about brownfield funding, sites and how to pastor the challenges that are brownfields. we have mastered it to some degree. not as well as some other towns but to the point that in harrison, new jersey, we put up a hotel which was one of the first hotels in the stagecoach days, a hampton inn and suites. at the same time there was no other development going on in the town of harrison. since then there has been a 257 redevelopment area ever harrison, new jersey where many old factories laid abandoned for years. now


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