tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 11, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
>> clearly, the epa and state of colorado identified the risk of a blowout. this is built up as a result of cave-ins and water build-up. that's the reason why we were up at that moment. what we know is the internal review concluded this was identified up front, the work plan incorporated these careful measures. the experts of epa and the state of colorado looked at the site conditions, looked at seeps, flows, and concluded that there were a low-pressure situation. >> what went wrong? if you knew there was a danger and you made the conscious decision to proceed, something went terribly wrong. why did you proceed if you knew dangs were so great or did you fo negligent fashion because clearly you didn't want this spill to occur. >> sure. none of us wanted the spill to occur.
we were there to avoid the blow-out. so, what we were doing there was doing investigative work. per the work plan -- the plan was to carefully reduce the build-up from the cave mine in and then -- >> i understand what you might have had planned. again, something went terribly wrong. it seems to me you did not heed the dangers or you did not act to prevent the spill from occurring in an adequate passion or the spill would not have occurred. do you feel anyone was negligent at all? >> again, at this moment, what we have an internal review. we're awaiting the internal review done by the department of interior as well as the inspector general. we'll await the please of all of those to make that assessment. >> and to date has anyone been held accountable or not? >> well, we've held ourselves
accountable. most immediately we worked with the state and low communities to address the response. we've been working in a unified way, collecting data, communicating that data to local stakeholders so they can make a decision. >> that's all well and good but a tragic spill occurred. it looks like to many of us no one was held accountable. there had to be negligence otherwise a spill wouldn't have occurred. yet the epa doesn't claim negligence or want to take any responsibility. that's a disappointment i have to tell you. i have one more question. do you think that this toxic spill was inevitable? if you can answer yes or no, that would be good. do you think the toxic spill was inevitable? >> i guess i'm not really qualified from an assessment stand point on that mine to
answer that question. certainly, there was buildup that would have gone somewhere at some point but i don't know if it would have resulted in a blowup. >> okay. dr. williamson? >> i would ultimately like to rely on more detail evaluations. i it was, in fact, holding back quite a lot of water at this point and there are other locations within the district that i'm aware of that act as opportunities for releasing pressure. so, it remains to be seen. it would have to be forecast with a little more certainly, i think. >> thank you all. and the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> how did epa come to be involved with waste water
leakage? >> it began when the american tunnel got plugged. this is a permit issued by the state of colorado, that resulted in water increasing, and then the gold king mine. subsequently water seeps went into cement creek and animus river. they asked the epa to get involved in the flow of animus river as well as the cave-ins at gold king mine. >> no, i've heard the installation of the last bulk head at the american tunnel in 2002 may have been a superseding cause. to the blowout on august 5th. can you please describe the history of the closure and the plug-in of the american tunnel and what its relationship might be to august 5th blow-out at the gold king mine? >> yeah. epa was not directly involved in
that decision. what we know from the internal review that was conducted was that a permit was issued by the state of colorado to sunnyside mine that plugged the mine. and as dr. williamson noted, once you plug a mine, you will have water backup. what we do know is water backed up the bonina mine, which leaked out to water releases and to animus river. >> thank you. mr. brooking, thank you for your testimony and your characterization of the technical spotlight facing your constituents and others for decades, if not longer. while i understand that the
mining played an important role in economic development of the western unitehnmtes, the impacts of abandoned mines are difficult to ignore. you note in your written testimony that mine blowouts like the one on august 5th are not uncommon, putting this most recent release in context, could you describe some of the past challenges your region has had to deal with as a result of mining activities? >> certainly. we have since the 1880s downstream grappled with related pollution in the animus river acid mine drainage because in 1880 the mins dumped this directly in the river. bit 1890s the animus river that ran through the durango was deer -- ran gray and turbid, it was quoting the herald from the 1890s, nearly every day due to
millings dumped into the river. back in 1890, our town was covered with gray, turbid river. it was not the clear river we have today. in 1902, durango shifted its primary water source, potable water source, from the animus, tributary comes from another watershetd that has less mining activity. so as far as ago as 1902 we changed our primary water source. we still use in the summertime the animus river for the -- that goes through our treatment facility and it's -- meet water quality standards after being treated but its primarily only used in the summertime for irrigation of a number of the fields and lawns and so forth. our water retirement increases four-fold in the summertime.
farmers north of durango farmers threated to sue the mining companies, took legal action against the mine because the tailings were clog their ditches. similarly to what the navajo nation is experiencing today. the mine blowouts like the 1975, a huge tailing pond busted, sending 50,000 tons of tailings into the animus, turning it the color of aluminum paint. this was prior to my arrival in durango, and people were still talking about this release. if you can imagine, you pick a color. it didn't show up on tv as bright as orange, technicolor orange, but we had the same thing happen in 1975. 1978, there was a huge burst of tens of millions of gallons of water and sludge came down our river. this time it was black, all the way to farmington. so pick your color, these are 24 different types of minerals that have impacted our river, our watershed, throwing all the way through durango, into new mexico, into arizona and
ultimately into the colorado river. the gold king mine was draining anywhere from 200 to 500 gallons per minute prior to the blowout. so there was -- you know, if you can envision this mountain as, you know, a giant gee logic whack-a-mole. you plug one and you build up the pressure of water. these are tunnels and vertical columns. they fill up with water naturally. and when these people are exploring the opportunity to release that somehow, and contain it, there was an accident. and so that is estimated at 60 feet of water that created that 3 million gallon release. it happened to be orange that day because of the orange oxide. that's probably the least health critical element. the color did bring national
attention to this issue. we've had black. we've had gray. we've had all kinds of colors. last year in the spring there was a release of more than, a greater release than was experienced in the gold king, but it happened during the spring runoff in 2014. came down our very same river. we didn't even know it. navajos didn't know it. nobody knew it, because it happened to be in the normal turbid brown color of spring runoff and it came through our town. that's what happens. and that's what we have to deal with. >> mayor, thank you for that response. we let you go a little bit over time, but that was interesting. let me recognize the gentleman from louisiana, mr. loudermilk, for his questions. >> as i was listening to the statements and answers to questions here today, i kind of heard a common theme as i've read the reports of this event is that it's not important for us to find out who's to blame right now but other than to
clean up the spill. it's understandable. but, it seems to be when the government is at fault, they're not very anxious to figure out who's at fault, but if it's somebody else we're more than willing to point the blame, even while the disaster and cleanup is going on. let me bring attention to 2010, the deep water horizon spill in the gulf of mexico. disastrous. it cost many people their jobs. many businesses went under because of this. even while we were attempting to clean it up, the government didn't hesitate to go ahead and point fingers as to who was to blame. in fact, the former epa administrator, lisa jackson, and secretary of homeland security then janet napolitano sent a scathing letter to bp, saying they must be more transparent with what happened. dr. benn, has, in your opinion, the epa been transparent with what's gone on so far? >> thank you for that question.
well, as far as the farmers and the ranchers are concerned, they hadn't really been as transparent. >> okay. thank you. mr. stanislaus, i appreciate you saying, summarize, eventually we're going to get to what the issue is. but why are we only being transparent when this committee goes forward and demands answers? why is not the epa coming more aggressively right now and coming out with what was the cause, and what are we going to do to fix the situation. when are we going to see the transparency that this government demands a private industry or individuals when they're clearly at fault? >> well, thank you, congressman. we believe we've been as transparent as we possibly could. our initial focus was absolutely to collect the data and provide data in the hands of local
communities of the states and tribes to make decisions. subsequent to that, we posted about 2500 pages of documents, documents regarding the work plan, documents regarding the request proposal, documents regarding community meetings held with stakeholders, and we will continue to do so. with respect to holding ourselves accountable, you know, we first began with immediately and as aggressively as possible to conduct a response in a unified way of making sure that the state and local government and tribes are part of the unified command. clearly, we are only part of the way through. we've done internal review. because i was very interested, what lessons learned relate to other sites around the country? and what lessons learned in terms of what transpired there? but that's only part of the puzzle. >> have you been more transparent than bp was? >> have i been more transparent -- i think we've been very transparent, but having been involved in the bp
spill as well, we in fact pushed transparency there. i believe we executed the same level of transparency here. >> ultimately, who's going to be held responsible for this? >> that is exactly where we are in the process of examining. we've done an internal review. we have two other independent reviews, and we will see the culmination of that regarding what were the preparation and facts going into that event, how was that executed, and we're going to look at all of that. >> do you agree you should be held to the same standards that you hold everyone else to? >> absolutely. >> you agree to that? >> absolutely. >> after the deep horizon spill, president obama appeared on the "today" show in 2010 and stated, had mr. hayward, the president and ceo of bp, had been working for him, he would have already been fired because of his role in the spill. do you think we should hold the same standards?
gina mccarthy, should we have called for her to be fired? if definitely the epa is responsible for this spill? >> well, i think we all want a factor in the process. so we've done one step of the investigation. we await the independent review, and i think all the members, all the public, have also called for independent reviews. we're going to see the culmination of that in a roughly -- the department of interior's doing a study in 60 dadz. i don't recall exactly when the inspector general will be completing -- i'm responsible for the clean-up of contaminated sites around the country. i more than anyone elsement to make sure that we're doing the right thing. so we're going to await that information. >> i appreciate that. all i'm asking for is that the hypocrisy of this government that it -- that the government hold itself to the same standards that it holds the american people to. that's what i think we must
demand as we go forward. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i don't remember president obama waiting for an independent review, given the comments you just said. the gentle woman from oregon is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there's absolutely no question that what happened in colorado is tragic. and i want to thank the witnesses for being here to help us learn more about how it happened, if and when it could have been prevented, and talk about the lessons learned. we also have to keep in mind that there are inherent environmental dangers from metal mining operations and that there are thousands of inactive mines around the country that are consistently leaking toxic wastewater full of heavy metals into streams, creeks and rivers. so we need the environmental protection agency to review mining operations to make sure they do not endanger crucial watersheds, and i also want to talk about the need to be
proactive here and mention pebble mine in alaska. epa watershed assessment found that pebble mine would likely have an irreversible negative impact on the local watershed and salmon fisheries. congressman mcdermott and i led a group of our washington and oregon colleagues asking epa to protect bristol bay. fisheries in that region provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars annually to the economies. not only of alaska but also oregon, washington and the entire northwest. and the potential damage from a massive mine operation is a serious threat, and i hope that the lessons learned in colorado are considered in that ongoing process. but back to colorado. mr. stanislaus, you said in your testimony that based on 2009 to 2014 flow data, the average annual water discharge from gold king mean and the three nearby mines reached approximately 330
million gallons per year. and the epa and the state of colorado and partners have been taking action to address that issue. so, can you talk about the ongoing -- those ongoing discharges and the work that was being done there? and in your response, please discuss whether additional resources would have made a difference, and also would a superfund designation or listing of the gold king mean have affected the resources and the approach available for clean-up and remediation? and i do want to save time for one more question. >> sure. so most recently, the animus stakeholder group and the state of colorado asked for epa's assistance, from a technical and fundamental expertise. that's what brought us to the gold king mine. but there was a preexisting condition there was a group who identified congresswoman, the multiple sources into the river that
degrade the water call with, in fact, 10 miles above the animus river is degraded and fish health is severely compromised. so just last week at the request of local communities, i traveled to silverton to have a community meeting about whether a sup superfund would address this situation. and i presented that to be eligible for superfund resources, they have to be listed on the national priority list and we're going to engage the local community regarding that. >> i want to ask you to follow up on that, mayor. i represent a district in oregon and really understand the importance of preserving natural resources, and that's especially important to our tourism industry, which i know you share those concerns as well. so can you talk about how this recent release, which, of course, we all watched on television, some of you up close firsthand, how has it been treated in the media? can you talk about what the coverage has done to your local economy and also the superfund designation. i know that's a discussion
that's been ongoing in your community. >> surely. i might add that ms. gina mccarthy was in durango, took full responsibility for epa's role in this event, she was at a plastic table and a metal folding chair closer than the chairman and myself sitting together and she took full responsibility. i did get a phone call the thursday after the event from shawn mcgrath, the epa director asking from the city's perspective if we need any assistance at all from this event. by the way, we were notified within an hour and a half at city hall of the release. the event happened at about 10:58. and we were notified at 1:39 in the afternoon. and that allowed us to shut down our pump stations, protect our potable water supply. >> can i ask you who notified you? >> the colorado department of health, public health and
environment, cdphe is the appropriate protocol from epa to notify the state health department. they notify downstream parties, which we were notified within an hour and a half. >> can you briefly address the effect on tourism? >> as you might imagine, i found myself in a barrage of cameras, everybody from al jazeera to fox news channel, holding press conferences, et cetera, infinitely showing the orange plume. still on screen? i can tell you that orange plume no longer exists in durango. it lasted for a day and a half until it moved on to our friends downstream, navajo nation. but we immediately -- >> mayor brooking, we've again run out of time and appreciate your response. we now go to the gentleman from louisiana, mr. abraham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, first, let me
express my, i guess, awe at the secretary of the epa not being here. we all know in this room had it been an individual business, that business would have been vilified way, way before this. so be i find it somewhat unconscionable that ms. mccarthy chose not to be present at this hearing. saying that, you said in your testimony that your experts at the epa underestimated the water pressure. now i'm not a hydrologist, but i can certainly estimate water pressure pretty easily with equipment. i've done it on my farm many, many times. i guess the question is, if they underestimated this, have they underestimated water pressure at other mines?
i'm talking to you, mr. stanislaus. >> so just to be clear, i mean, i am here because my responsibility is emergency response -- >> i understand you're the cleanup line. you're fourth in the lineup as far as batters are concerned, and really, you shouldn't even be here, because it shouldn't have happened in the first place. you wouldn't even have a role in this. so my question to you is, your experts at epa, you have said in your testimony, underestimated the water pressure. >> well, no -- >> have they done this in other places? >> so, the pressure was not estimated. you know, the review report concluded is that when they got onto the site -- they identified the potential for blowout conditions. when they got onto the site -- >> let me interrupt, excuse me, sir. would you and mr. stanislaus, if you knew there was a potential of potential blowout, was there a mitigation plan in place for this potential disaster?
>> the blowout potential as was identified following the issuance of the task order and some initial site work, again, represented there was 6 foot of water behind that bulk head, i'm sorry, not bulk head, the collapsed tunnel. the intent, then, of the work plan was essentially to come in, using that top 4 foot of open space between the water level and -- >> did you have a mitigation plan in place for this potential blowout? because you knew it was a potential thing to happen. we all have mitigation plans in life for certain instances that can happen. and this is what the definition of a mitigation plan actually is. did you have one in your company? >> we had a management plan to, again, use a probe, much as dr. williamson had suggested, to insert into the well -- or into the mine and start pumping water. mitigation plan. if it started to blow, you all were just going to start pumping
water out? >> i guess we're -- i'm not sure -- you're using mitigation. i'm using management plan. you're looking for a contingency plan? >> yes. let's agree on that word. if it happened, what is your immediate first step, and did that happen? >> again, the blowout occurred during the initial -- we had not started our site work. we were not prepared to enter the -- >> that answered the question. you weren't there, okay. and mayor brooking, you said that the epa, the good news that day was that the epa was actually there when it happened and i would use the analogy in medicine that a surgeon working on a lung slices the heart open and we are happy that surgeon just happened to be there because he sliced the heart open. again, it just is beyond pale that we're at this point we we have to have this hearing because nobody -- like the chairman said, there is totally
lack of transparency, and i think a lack of forth rightfulness here. mr. stanislaus, has epa actuated the money cost to the environmental impact of this spill? >> at this moment, we've expended about $8 million of direct response cost. >> how about referring to mr. benn, as far as the navajos, what he's asking for. have you factored that cost into your figures? >> well, we have begun to pay response cost by those who have asked local governments. we're going to do that separately. we're going to be working through that process and completing the process within six months. >> nau, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you mr. abraham, the gentleman from colorado is recognized for his questions. >> okay. thank you.
i'd like to welcome my fellow coloradans to wc$#ngton, d.c., gentlemen, thank you for your testimony, all of you, thank you for your testimony today. part of this is i feel like, you know, we're in the early stages of litigation, and i -- the chairman, i think, may be a frustrated lit garrett wanting to figure out who was negligent, who wasn't negligent, who's responsible for this, what happened. i preeshgt the fact that the epa got the department of health in colorado quickly, who got to durango quickly to share this. there apparently was some breakdown in communication getting to the navajo nation. so, in all of this, a court is going to figure out exactly what happened, why it happened, when it happened, should it have happened, dr. williamson, but i'd like to ask some other
questions because i think, dr. benn, you suggested some things that the epa should consider in the short term and in the long term. thoeshgsfy recall correctly -- one is, help you with some monitoring devices to keep an eye on things. help the farmers and the ranchers who may have been impacted. am i right about that? >> yes, sir. >> are those conversation ongoing with the epa at this point or are you guys in litigation or where are you? >> right now we're still in discussion. >> so there is some conversation going on between the navajo nation and the united states of america through its epa? >> there's only discussion among us as a nation right now. >> yes. oh, within your -- within your own nation. you're not talking to the epa? >> yes, sir. >> okay. i asked that badly. so, is the nation speaking to the epa about potential ways the
epa and the united states could help the nation? >> as i explained to the usepa at one point, the whole situation can't be talked all at once. that there's three parts. the there's the spill, the reaction to the spill and the coordination, the collaboration with epa. we're actually in that stage right now. i'm not -- i think that they are working with us, but to a certain degree. >> okay. let's -- if i could, i would like to have a couple of slides. the first slide showing exactly where this gold king mine is. can we put that up on the board? no, the other one. sorry. that one. yes, thank you. so, mayor brooking,
dr. williamson, can you describe the area where this gold king mine is and approximately how many mines are in the silverton complex, which i think range at least in the hundreds if not into the thousands? dr. williamson? >> in response to your first point, the terrain is mountainous, for sure, southwestern colorado. it's a mining district. it's fairly dispersed and widespread. and there are multiple historic operations in the area. an exact number, i couldn't really tell you. >> and approximately when did the mining start in this area? >> perhaps 130 years ago, give or take. >> mayor, do you know how many mines are up in that district, in the complex above durango? >> in my written testimony i have a diagram of the mines. there's hundreds of mines in and
aren't the -- that particular basin as well as in -- that's just cement creek. then there is also, as mentioned before, mineral creek and the other side of the mountain is the animus river primary tributary. they all field into the animus river as they come through durango. but in that basin, there's -- there's virtually -- in all there's over 5,000 mine shafts at its tunnels and prospects in the upper animus drainage. >> in colorado, we have many more than just in this area. i actually represented an engineer companying years ago in another troubled mine with a big release that the epa got in. we built some new treatment facilities and the like. can we go to that other picture that was up there, where exactly this gold king mine is and the terrain right there? the other one. there we go.
so, in preparing for this, there had been a slow leakage, if you will, and a couple hundred gallons per minute as opposed to 3 million gallons in a short period. but over time there's a lot of -- a lot of liquid released from this mine. mayor, i think you said 300 million gallons per year or something like that. >> that's right. >> just for illustrative purposes, 3 million gallons, which was released in that august 5th and august 6th time frame versus 300 million gallons per year. so, we have a lot of work to be done with a lot of mines in the state of colorado. and my question is, if the epa
or some federal agency doesn't help with this, who does? mr. stanislaus? >> so, we're called to address superfund mining sites around the country. that's only a small subset of mines. we get involved and dot work we've been doing on this and other mines around the country. there are -- clearly -- just in colorado there are 23 neu mines just in colorado. and hundreds of thousands of mines around the country. and that responsibility is split between other federal agencies and states. >> mr. greeny -- >> thank you. your time has expired. now, the gentleman from ohio, mr. johnson is recognized for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ki get the first slide, please? mr. stanislaus, this is the public website where epa has been releasing information about the gold king mine spill, including videos captured by epa contractors that show the
blowout as it happens. according to the website, and i want to you look over on the far right-hand side there, epa removed profanity contained in the audio of the videos and obscured visible license plates for privacy purposes, and then it ends with this, epa did not edit the videos in any other way. so, first question for you, mr. stanislaus, is the statement i just read from epa's website accurate? >> it is accurate. >> okay, great. do you have any reason to believe it would not be accurate? >> i do not. >> okay. here is video footage of the early stages of the gold king mine blowout that was obtained by the science committee. let's have video number one. >> we're getting really high. think he should go close it out? what do we do now?
>> well, the next video is the exact same footage that epa posted on its website, but the last few seconds of the audio has been removed to prevent the viewers from hearing the team on the ground saying, what do we do now? let's have the second video. >> get out of here? >> huh? >> get out of here? >> we're digging really high. is he going to go close it out? >> so, you said you had no reason to believe that the epa has -- epa's website had been
altered. i've just given you reason. the video is there. why did the epa edit out the audio of the team on the ground saying, what do we do now? >> i don't. epa provided its -- >> okay, that's good enough. after seeing both videos, do you think epa's website is misleading to the american public? >> i can't tell at this moment -- >> what do you mean you can't tell? you just saw two videos. one that had it, one that didn't. one that was clear and open. one that was posted by the epa. how can you not tell? >> i would need to compare -- sghu just got a comparison, mr. stanislaus. >> all the circumstances beyond the two videos and what the various staff and epa -- >> the epa apparently had an on-scene coordinator on the ground during the spill, is that correct? do you have any idea, is the epa
on-scene coordinator the one in the video who says, what do we do now? >> i don't know that information at this moment. >> okay. epa did not release videos of the incident for over a month after this spill. a month. how long did epa know about video footage of the incident before it disclosed the video to congress and the american people? do you have any idea? >> yeah. my understanding is the video was provided as soon as possible. >> a month? >> i don't know exactly when epa obtained access to the video and the time period. we can get back to you regarding the time frame. >> okay. mr. stanislaus, this is another video of the spill after the toxic water was moving more rapidly. let's go to video number three. >> so, if the epa had known the
answer to the question in the previous video, what do we do now, is it possible the epa's response would have been better and prevented the water from escaping the mine so quickly? could they have stopped this rush that we just saw? >> well, all i know at this moment is what is contained in the internal review. and what the internal review concluded that the risk of a blowout was identified as possible by both the state of colorado, epa, that was discussed with the animus stake holder -- >> i appreciate that. hold onto that statement right there. so, given that the risk was identified, epa had every reason to believe that a blowout was possible. was the epa prepared to properly respond to an environmental event of this magnitude? >> well, again -- >> that's an easy answer because we've got 3 million gallons of toxic water that ran into the
river. >> sure. >> were they adequately prepared? >> because of that risk -- >> yes or no. >> i need to answer that question. because of that risk, they put in place specific plans -- >> but they didn't execute their plans. >> if i can separate. so, in the work planning, so the whole point was to carefully remove the rock buildup and then remove the water, this part of the investigation phase, the investigation team also concluded that the emergency response component of the plan did not include the worst case scenario of a blowout. that's something i committed to going forward to make sure that happens. >> according to news reports, the epa failed to notify local officials, including the navajo nation for 24 hours after the spill. they did not have a plan to deal with an environmental event of this magnitude and, clearly, what do we do now, that question, they didn't have an answer to. mr. chairman, i got lots more that i could talk about, but my time has expired. >> thank you, mr. johnson.
the gentleman from virginia, mr. byers, recognized for his question. >> thank you, chairman. with respect and in the spirit of fairness, i would like to say i object to the per joeshtive and accusative title of the hearing. i think it's been very clear from the testimony today that the epa was very far from being the first mover in the release of the heavy metal wastewater. it's an untenable stretch to say the epa is solely responsible for this spill. it makes no sense to compare deep water horizon to this spill. there's tens of thousands, perhaps millions of difference in order of size and impact. the epa was only at the site because it was concerned about the decade's-long problem of contaminated wastewater release. and blaming the epa is like blaming firefighters for the forest fire. 3 million began lons were released on august 5th. 3 million gallons are released every week, year in and year
out. i'm very concerned about what dr. benn's testified to, impact on the navajo nation. all the gray releases and black releases and others that mayor brooky talked about about. on the call for accountability, we've already heard the epa -- there's 2500 pages up on the internet and i've yet to hear assistance from mr. stanislaus with all the transparency. we want to hold people responsible, but it seems to me they're doing their best to come forward. two years ago peter butler, coordinator of the animus river stakeholders group appeared in a video that highlighted the history of the mines in that region. i would like to ask that video be shown now. >> i'm peter butler with the animus river stakeholders group, one of the co-coordinators. er with here at the redden vanit
mine in upper cement creek. the red mine back in about 2000 only put out 15, 17 gallons a minute of acid line drainage which was not very heavily metal-laden. now we have a drainage of around 300 gallons a minute. it's loaded with metals. you can see it coming down the dump pile here in front of us. back in 1996 a bulkhead was put in the american tunnel and then later in about 2002 there were two more bulkheads put in the american tunls farther out. it was all part of aan agreement between the mining company and the state of colorado regulators. and at the time that raised the water table and it's believed that because there's a higher water table, that's why we have all this drainage now coming out of red and vanita.
unflowed drainage, goes down to the animus. we can track and see the increase in metal loading from this site and three others all the way down to bakers bridge. >> how many miles away, do you think? >> probably about 45, 50 miles downstream. >> do you think it's had any affect on the aquatic life in the animus? >> clearly, this is the biggest amount of water, the biggest flow. the foresights have clearly impacted animus canyon. we've done fish surveys and bug analysis down in the canyon from cascade creek up to elk park. clearly, there's been a major decline in the number of species and the amount of species of both the mack ral investigator brats. they used to drain 1600 gallons a minute. it was access to sunnyside mine, the largest mine in the silverton area. that the mining company stopped
mining in 1991. and they were treating that 1600 gallons a minute and doing a good job of it up until this consent decree, they entered into a consent decree whereas they were allowed to put bulk heads into the american tunnel and then did a number of other mrojs throughout the animus basin to reduce metals to offset any seeps or springs that might pop out because of the bulkheading of the tunnel. back in 2002 they had fulfilled the agreements of the consent decree and the state signed off on it. after that, probably around 2003, 2004, we started seeing a lot more drainage coming out of some of these mines here in upper cement creek. the four main mines weave seen drainage increases -- well, we've always -- there's always some residual out of the american tunnel. and then there's also increased drainage coming out of the red and vanita, gold king number
seven and the local mine. all together, the increase in drainage varies a little bit, the time of year, but it's about 600 to 800 gallons per minute of acid line drainage, untreated. that's probably the largest amount of untreated acid mine drainaged in state of colorado at this time. anywhere else that has that much drainage has a treatment plant on it. we're undergoing efforts to figure out a solution to try -- cooperative solution to try to mitigate and reduce the amount ofs coming out of these drainages. this area could potentially be a superfund site. the epa thinks it's got the criteria but there's not a lot of local support for a superfund site. therefore, we're doing this collaborative process rather than going regulatory process at this time. >> chairman, thank you for letting me go a few seconds over.
>> now you don't have time for questions. that's the problem. >> i would just point out that video was done in 2013, two years before the epa spill. >> epa had plenty of notice of the dangers of mine spillage. i thank the gentleman for pointing that out. do you have a question? we're acknowledge you for another 30 seconds? okay. thank you. the gentle lady from virginia, ms. come stock. apologize. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have with me a copy of the action work plan. on the title environmental restoration. who prepared this document? >> that is traditionally prepared by our response manager assigned to the project. >> so how many layers of approval did this document go through? >> that document would be basically a collaborated effort
from the on-scene coordinator from epa and response manager. the osc, the on-scene coordinator would traditionally sign off on it as accepted. >> so, somebody from your company signed off on it and somebody from the epa signed off? >> the response manager from our company as well as u.s. ep aon-scene coordinator. >> were professional employees, hydrologist, used in preparation of this work plan? >> no. that would be any data -- we work off the data that is provided to us within the task order as well as any other data that's provided by the federal on-scene coordinator at time of the task order. we're not an engineering firm. data is provided to us by the agency. >> this is clearly top engineer work. who was qualified to order this plan? >> the engineer component would have been the actual structural design and installation of the entranceway to the mine as well as the -- the completion of the
tunnel work. that would have been subcontracted to a specialized subcontractor who was already on contract and ready for us to initiate the work. >> so, a professional engineer subcontractor prepared -- >> no, no. we prepared that plan, and then there was a subcontractor to us who would -- who came in subsequent to that plan to do the engineering design and installation of the restoration work after that plan was submitted. >> so, were there engineering design documents, drawings or specifications? >> i don't know the answer to that as far as the actual construction phase of that. i don't know. >> so, were you involved in this project? >> no. not directly, no. >> would it not be normal practice if somebody's out doing the work that they would have the plans and specifications? >> the work plan -- again, it's more of a timing issue, i
belief. that plan would have been turned in, say, 30 days or so, 60 days, and it depends on what the federal osc wants. the way our contractors work, we're given a set of technical directions and we define an operational approach to meet that technical direction. so, that was a plan saying, here's how we're going to get there. it mentioned we're going to hire a competent contractor to do that work but it doesn't define who because that work hasn't been procured yet. >> it doesn't say anything about hiring someone for professional services. it talks about subcontractors. this document was provided for transparency purposes on the epa website. and it's got -- it list three attachments that weren't included in the document, which i think would be pertinent to the document. the first one is the cost estimate.
what was the total cost of this project? >> i do not have that information. i can certainly get it for you. >> and then the schedule wasn't included. do you know the time frame of the schedule? schedule? >> i believe the schedule, the safety plan and the costs were the three attachments. and my understanding was we did turn those over. minus the cost was redacted for confidentiality reasons. >> i think that's pertinent to the issue in that my question is was there adequate cost, inadequate time allowed to do this job properly? >> there was certainly the cost and schedule provided to do the project as was originally understood, yes. >> why would that be redacted out of the document? >> the cost itself was unit cost. it was part of our contract. and that was confidential business information that was redacted. >> and also not included in the document is the sought health
and safety plan. was there a sought health and safety plan? >> yes, it is. again, it's my understanding it was released. i don't understand why you didn't have access to it. >> okay. so we're really not sure about how much design engineering was done on this project. and if the people who approved the work plan were qualified to approve that. because there was obviously a lack of planning that went into this because of the spill that occurred. but mr. stanislaus, is this common practice? >> is what common practice? >> to prepare these plans without professional services? >> well, clearly there's a whole sequence of beginning with the request for proposal which identified the specific circumstance and risk that then goes into a work plan that then goes into a construction plan and execution plan. you know, what the review team
found was the expertise both of the state of colorado, epa and the contractor, the right expertise, mining expertise, was in place. they had a plan to execute that. and the review of report goes through that report how the plan was executed. >> most laws -- most states have laws that say you can't do this type of work without a professional in charge of the work. so does epa exempt following state laws on professional services for these top projects? >> well, all the appropriate professionals for this job -- our review team found that the expertise for doing a job like that was in place on this project team, both epa and state of colorado. >> and the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california, mr. takano is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to get back to
proportionalty. 3 million gallons in one and a half days was visible as orange oxide in the water four miles adjacent to this mine, but 300 million gallons i understand, flow of waste that wasn't visible. that was not captured individual. that's why we have this visual to make this comparison. so as a matter of proportionalty i find it curious that the committee is focusing on this and spending hours and hours and hours of time trying to figure out -- in the wrong venue. it should be a court of law figuring out liability. and we're jumping to conclusions in this. and even the title of this hearing is jumping to a conclusion, which you know is misleading. when we should be talking about this. and in the spirit of that i would like to yield more time, my time, to the gentleman from colorado to continue his
questioning. >> thank you, mr. takano. if the committee would allow me to go forward? >> absolutely. would mr. takano yield for just a minute or a couple seconds. i can't wait to use the gentleman's arguments the next time a private company dumps millions of gallons of toxic water into a pure river. and thank you for yielding. and the gentleman from colorado will be recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. so i think congressman buyer, congressman takano have really hit on the key point here. which is as dr. williamson said, we've got thousands of mines in colorado. many abandoned, many properly closed. with all sorts of issues. and at some point we've got to address them. we've had you know, lakes collapse into mine shafts causing huge releases down the
river and into the san juan and navajo nation. so let's just go back to basics here. so the epa started working on this at least with the stakeholder group and with its professionals in 2014, did it not, mr. stanislaus? >> yeah, slightly before 2014 sfwl so you work with affected individuals to try to figure out what to do to minimize that 300 million gallons that was being released into a river that runs right through the heart of durango and into the navajo nation, is that right? >> that's correct. >> in so doing you contracted with the private sector to do the construction and remediation work that the professionals felt was appropriate, did you not? >> that's correct. with epa also signed. >> and one of those contractors was you, mr. grainy, and your
company, true? >> that's correct. >> in listening to your testimony you've done some 1,300 similar kinds of tasks for the epa, and i think your testimony was 10,000 for other agencies and the private sector. >> that's correct. >> the kind of work you do can be dangerous, isn't that true? >> that's also correct. >> and it can be complex. >> that's correct. >> how would you describe all of the tunnels that you're dealing with in this silverton complex or the silverton mining district when you were working on the gold king mine? >> oh, obviously very complex. >> and so the chairman started off his statement saying, well, would a prudent person undertake this? well, one prudent person probably not. but when 300 million gallons a year are coming in to a beautiful river where into a
city that prides itself on being very outdoors and very health conscious, should the united states and should the state of colorado even though it may not be prudent try to undertake to fix something like that, mr. gre greeney, what would you say? >> we address many, many task orders on behalf of the u.s. epa. and all of them have, you know, a basis for each one. >> and, dr. williamson, in your experience does the epa, does the division of mine land reclamation in colorado do other agencies try to undertake to mitigate against a constant release like this 300 million gallons? >> excuse me. yes, sir, in my experience they do try to offset the sustained discharges. >> and at some point my guess is you've been called as an expert witness in a trial or you've
advised in the past. and hopefully all the things you've worked on have gone well, but this is complex and dangerous kind of work, is itzj not? >> i would agree that it is, yes. >> okay. i thank mr. takano for giving me time. i thank all of you for being here. there's no real bad guy. we're trying to fix something that's been a hundred years in the making. and we've got a lot of these in colorado. and we need some help with treatment plants in silverton, they need it on the navajo nation, this is a responsibility we have as a nation. thank you. >> thank you. the gentleman from michigan is recognized for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to address these to mr. stanislaus. i wanted to ask you what lessons that you and the epa have learned from this incident, this experience? >> sure. so far, you know, we've identified that we need to
enhance a notification process within local state and local governments. i issued a memo in that regard to look at local and state communities in an event like this which potentially has broad impact. the review team also identified that there are a number of things we could do and operationalize going forward. looking at investigating with the private sector potential remote sensing tools to identify pressurized situation where it's technically and from a safety perspective is really difficult to put a drill pad like was in this location. incorporating worse case scenarios in emergency response planning. so those are some of those. and some of that's contained in the internal review document. but it's an ongoing lesson learned. we learn lessons from the thousands of sites that we get engaged in around the country. >> and in terms of overall cost of this, someone had mentioned maybe 8 million is what has been
spent so far. is that accurate? >> that is right. it's $8 million response cause so far. >> and you anticipate additional costs beyond that? >> yeah, i mean certainly some additional costs. i don't know what that is. there will be ongoing monitoring continuing to work with stakeholders on continuing that monitoring and other kinds of elements to accommodate the stakeholders requests. >> and how do you -- where do you get the funds for that? is that from other programs that maybe are lesser priority that you would shift within the epa budget? or where would you get that funding? >> well, the budget and all the federal budget is fairly regimented. we have a fixed part of resources for kind of emergency response and removals. and what we do is really prioritized. clearly there are priorities that come up and need to respond to emergencies and prioritize as we go forward.
it's a tight budget and we've had declining resources over the years. >> sure it would come out of the super fund budget projects that -- lesser priorities would kind of go to the bottom of that list. and you would move that to this? >> well, yeah. i mean, we have a pot of -- >> you can watch the rest of this hearing at c-span's video library online any time as we take you live to the pentagon on this 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks for a remembrance ceremony for department of employees who were killed. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the presentation of colors, the playing of our national anthem performed by the united states air force band and thein vocation delivered by major general paul hurly, chief of army chaplains.
♪ >> color guard march. >> almighty and eternal god, as we gather, we ask you to be with us. to keep us mindful of the sacrifices of our military, our civilians and our families. guide us toward a future of hope grounded in your promises of peace. comfort our brothers and sisters who have shed the tears of loss.
give wisdom to our leaders whom you have called to prepare and protect those who are sent into harm's way. remove from our hearts any despair. crush the darkness of fear and doubt. and fill our hearts and minds with the knowledge and love of your grace. light our paths toward freedom. harden or resolve for the good and just. and guard our families, our military and our nation. in your name, we pray. amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, mr. michael rhodes. >> it's my privilege to be able to welcome you here to today's pentagon community 9/11 observance. to each and every one of you gathered here today as well as those who are joining us in
spirit everywhere that this is broadcast around the world, i want to thank you. thank you for coming together as we remember and honor those who were lost here 14 years ago today. i'm honored to be here today with our 25th secretary of defense the honorable ashton carter. and general paul selva. both will be providing remarks shortly. everyone here today is very special. you're part of the pentagon family. we have a common focus, a collective mission. and as a family we execute that. that said, it's a family that's part of an even larger community. local first responder organizations were among the first on the scene 14 years ago. and some are here again today. with us representing our outside partners deputy chief penn from the arlington county police department, chief joseph from the arlington county fire department, mr. jack brown from the arlington county office of emergency management.
and chief russell miller from joint base meyer henderson hall fire department. thank you gentlemen for joining us today. [ applause ] right over there part of the first wedge of the pentagon that was renovated. d.o.d. personnel had recently moved back into those offices 14 years ago. in fact, not everyone had even been relocated back in there. and then on this day in 2001, 125 of our co-workers and 59 passengers and crew of american airlines flight 77 perished. they ranged in ages from 3 to 71. they were colleagues, friends, relatives. and they were fellow citizens. and today we reflect on that tragic september morning. but we also embrace the journey of healing and progress that has taken us to where we are today. while it was a painful time, it
also showed our strength. the actions of those here on the pentagon and of our brave community partners, they were heroic. the unbelievable resilience of our people was reflected in those who stayed through the night and those who reported for duty the next day even though the building was still burning. and the outpouring of compassion, support and service across this nation was felt by all. as we rebuilt this uniquely shaped headquarters building that we all work in, we appropriately also included inside the building an american -- america's heroes memorial. it's at the point where the plane hit our building. and just outside the walls there of course we partnered with the pentagon memorial fund and we built our pentagon memorial. it's a very special place for all of us where one can remember, reflect and renew the spirit. so while it's been 14 years since that tragic attack on our nation, we still feel the absence of those we lost, and the dedication and devotion of
friends and fellow citizens who lost their lives that day and those who've sacrificed since. they will never be forgotten. but that's one of the reasons we gather today, to remember the sacrifices made by our colleagues and friends, to reflect on all who responded in so many ways that day and in the days that followed. and i submit to renew our commitment to serve. so thank you once again for gathering today to come together and to hear our distinguished speakers. and with that it's my pleasure to introduce the vice chairman of the joint chiefs general paul selva. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. before i begin i want to compliment all of you that are standing in the shade for the wisdom of having done so. secretary carter, mr. rhodes, friends, distinguished guests, good afternoon. it's actually difficult for me
to believe that 14 years have passed since that fated airliner plunged into the western walls of this very building. yet the image of smoke streaming from this building is still vivid in all of our memories. but the building stands for all of us as a symbol of strength and community. all of us remember where we were on that morning. it joins us all. in an instant 184 lives were lost, 55 military and 70 pentagon civilians. and another 106 passengers. they were our colleagues. they were our friends. they were our family. one local firefighter who responded to the pentagon that day said in a note not too long ago, i was extremely proud of our military that day.
those heroes went back into the flames and disaster and remained to help those who could not help themselves. he went onto say the bravery and fortitude of that day still resonates within that hallowed building. and so as i reflected on that i thought it would be interesting to you said how this building came to be. and as many of you might expect it was a relatively short notice tasker on a thursday afternoon that landed on the desk of a brigadier general 1941. and he said to his staff, ladies and gentlemen, by monday morning i need a design for a building that will house 40,000 workers and be the home to our war department. and they delivered the plans for this building. 74 years ago on this very day ground was broken for the pentagon. and 16 months later people were moving in and going to work.
that's important because that team built this symbol. you continue to deliver on that spirit every single day. i'm going to depart from my prepared comments and tell you a short story that happened to me this morning. when i got up to deliver my comments at the pentagon memorial, i was captivated by a young man about six rows back who couldn't stop himself from crying. so i hugged him after the ceremony. and i said, young man, you're the person i was talking about. you're the resilience and hope of this nation. you are the reason i do what i do. his mother thanked me for my service. and the young man took my hand and said to me, general, if you do nothing else, please leave this world better than you found it because i will do everything i can to do the same.
his spirit is reflected in every single one of you. every one of you who have dedicated your lives to defending freedom and liberty anywhere it's challenged. every one of who you have made the choice to serve, military or civilian, thank you for that service and dedication. thank you for being part of this community. it's my privilege at this point to introduce to you our secretary of defense honorable dr. ashton carter. sir. [ applause ] >> general selva, mr. rhodes, distinguished guests, visitors from outside the department, friends and neighbors, ladies and gentlemen, on few other occasions do we see more clearly that the pentagon is more than a
bureaucracy or a building or even a proud and noble institution. in this courtyard today you see also that we're a community. and not just any. we are connected by a unique and solemn mission, to defend our nation, to carry forward its values and sometimes as we remember today to sacrifice for them. we're gathered here to honor 184 mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, service members and civilians who like thousands in new york and pennsylvania perished in a horrific and cowardly attack. but today we remember far more than how these men and women were taken from us. most of all we remember and honor what they gave to us. through their example of service
and leadership, through their friendship and through their dedication to this nation and to its defense. on my office desk sits a piece of indiana limestone, collected in the rubble in the days after 9/ 9/11. which reminds me every day of their memory. it's a small piece of the pentagon passed down to me by each of my predecessors who has served secretary of defense since september 11th, 2001. and beneath it reads this simple inscription. to honor the 184 people whose lives were lost, their families and all those who sacrificed that we may live in freedom we will never forget. the weight of those words, of this obligation, is part of what motivates me every day. it's part of what gives meaning to all of our work together.
for some in this courtyard today this sense of obligation to always honor and remember is what inspired you to serve as it did thousands of young americans in the years after 9/11. more than a decade later this generation of patriots has grown older and wiser. in fact, i can see it in the crowd today. you're fast becoming the leaders of this department and of our military, of the finest fighting force the world has ever known. for you and for all of us today we are here not only to remember those who died on 9/11, but also the friends, family members and colleagues who went to war in the years that followed. all of them. today and all days we remember those who returned from those wars with scars seen and unseen, as well as the heroes who did
not return who gave their last full measure of devotion to this nation. we often speak of the greatest generation, the americans who vanquished fascism in europe and defeated imperial japan during the middle of the last century. and we should always remember what they did for us and for the world they left us, but never for a moment should we forget our own greatest generation. the men and women who in our own time served, sacrificed and voluntarily answered our country's call in kandahar, fallujah and so many forbidding corners of the world. they served with honor, courage, excellence. each of our lives, the life of this nation is richer because of all their example. earlier this morning general selva and i had an opportunity
to speak with family members who lost loved ones at the pentagon on september 11th, as he related. you know, try as we must we can never know what those people have endured. but after 14 years we do know this, those who attempt to inspire fear or terror will find no satisfaction and no success in threatening the united states. instead, we come back, we come back from tragedy stronger and more united. no matter where they have harmed our service members or civilians, whether at the world trade center or the pentagon, whether at embassies in beirut or kenya or tanzania, the u.s.s. cole, the terrorists who sought to harm our people will find no safe haven. no matter how long it takes, terrorists will not escape the long arm and the hard fist of
american justice. we will find you. and whether your name is -- or osama bin laden, the result will be the same. for those who lost their lives to terrorism at the pentagon and for all of those who have given their lives to our country in the days since, there's no memorial grand enough, no tribute great enough to honor those who sacrificed so much for so many. we cannot remember those heroes or their families on just one day. as the inscription reads on the piece of pentagon that sits on my desk, that we may live in freedom we will never forget. these words are not simply written in stone, they're inscribed in our hearts and carved in our will. they describe a solemn obligation which binds us
together. so within this community we will never forget. we will always remember. and we will continue to honor the memory of those we have lost with the work we accomplish together. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the playing of "america the beautiful" by the united states air force band. ♪ ♪
defense secretary ashton carter also laid a wreath earlier today at the pentagon commemorating the 9/11 attacks 14 years ago. this photo from the associated press. you can watch the earlier ceremony, the remembrance for employees and the reading of the names of those who died at ground zero new york city later today throughout our schedule. former new york city mayor rudy giuliani and the current new york city police and fire commissioners testified on the lessons learned from the attacks and the country's current readiness to prevent and respond to terrorism. rudy giuliani was mayor of new york city at the time of the
attacks. this is the field hearing at the national september 11 memorial and museum in new york city. the committee on homeland security will come to order. before we begin i'd like to introduce joe daniels, the president and ceo of the 9/11 memorial and museum. joe. >> good morning. thank you, chairman mccaul, and
thank you to all the committee members for being here this morning and choosing to hold this field hearing at this location. this is the very first time we are hosting such an event at the national september 11th memorial and museum. and i on behalf of the organization, our board of directors and the hundreds of thousands of people who worked to make this place a reality, thank you for your support. and perhaps more importantly, your steadfast commitment by the members of this committee in working to secure the safety of our nation, which is especially profound given our current location at the very foundations where the towers once stood. i gave some of you the honor of giving some of you a tour of the space last night. i think we can all agree that this site holds great importance with regards to the topics that will be discussed this morning. i'd also like to thank some of our partner organizations who are here in attendance including
tuesday's children, the 9/11 tribute center along with representatives from the september 11th education trust and the 9/11 health watch. it is of course fitting and appropriate to acknowledge that in just a few days the memorial will host once again the solemn ceremony marking the anniversary of the attacks, this year the 14th anniversary. this anniversary is of course significant for all of us, for the entire nation, but particularly for the victims' families as well as the first responders, the recovery workers, survivors and all others impacted by the attacks including those who are still dealing with the lingering and devastating health effects so many years later. on the tenth anniversary, just four years ago this week, we opened the memorial and since then we've welcomed over 21 million visitors from every state in the country and 175 countries around the world.
making this one of the most visited historical sites in our country. and just last year we opened this museum with a dedication ceremony here in this foundation hall and have seen a tremendous outpouring of positive feedback. in just over a year we've welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors to the museum. in addition to the general public we've had visitors from across the political, cultural and military spectrum. but for every visit, from prince william and the duchess of cambridge and various heads of state, the most meaningful visits have been from the nearly 75,000 active military and veterans including three recent medal of honor winners, the former u.s. army chief of staff ray odierno along with several four stars from his team and last september we had the entire corps of west point cadets on the 9/11 memorial. later this month and in this very room where we're sitting
right now we will host one of the most important and beloved figures in the world, pope francis will lead a multireligious meeting for peace speaking about the idea of what unites us being stronger than what divides. and for a group of religious leaders will be with him that represent all of the world's major religions. this memorial and museum not only serves as a place for people from all walks of life to visit and pay their respects, but also as a place where future generations will learn about what happened that day, what led up to that day and the increasingly complex state of world affairs. let's not forget that children now entering high school were born after 9-11-2001. and for them we risk that 9/11 is simply a historical task.
educators bring their students every single year to learn the full history of 9/11. that's why i would like to thank chairman mccaul, representatives king and jackson lee for already being co-sponsors of the bill hr 3036, the national 9/11 memorial at the world trade center act. which would designate the aboveground beautiful memorial as a true national memorial. those beautiful pools will ensure that this place is here to preserve the memory of those who were killed and will make sure that we fulfill our obligation to educate future generations. i would very, very much encourage from the bottom of my heart that all members of this committee, this incredibly important committee, support hr-3036 as this is a momentous opportunity to take the lead in preserving the memory of one of the most important events in the entire history of the united
states. this memorial has truly become not only the location to remember and educate, but is the physical embodiment of the unity, the coming together that was so prevalent in the aftermath of the attacks. thank you for your time here today and for your continued support. >> well, thank you, joe. and on behalf of the committee let me thank you for your dedication, your service to the victims and their families. let us never forget and may it never happen again. and i was inspired at our dinner last night to hear from you and your efforts. i'm proud to be a co-sponsor of the legislation that you talked about. again, thank you for being here. >> thank you, chairman. >> i think it's fitting that this committee be the first committee to convene at the 9/11 museum. this committee was formed in response to the tragic events of 9/11. this is a historic event to have
the committee on homeland security have this hearing in this museum at this time this week. i'd like to thank the 9/11 memorial museum for letting us hold the hearing today. i'd also like to thank mayor rudy giuliani and the other witnesses for taking the time to join us and for their service to this great city and to our country. this morning we are meeting on hallowed ground consecrated by the loss of thousands of innocent americans and by the valor and sacrifice of those who worked to save their lives. in the wake of 9/11, we were told to never forget. and we did not. in their honor we vowed never again. our memories of the heroism we witnessed gave our nation -- we
are still engaged in that struggle that we have entered a new phase. the viral speed of violent extremism has allowed our enemies to spread globally and has brought the war back to our doorsteps. but we will not bow down to terror. so we have come here today to draw on the lessons we learned after 9/11 to assess how we can make our country more secure and to honor the memory of those we lost by re-dedicating ourselves to victory in this long war. we've made progress since 9/11, which was the largest attack in world history. our first responders are better equipped, our intelligence professionals are connecting the dots and our border authorities are keeping terrorists from stepping foot on our soil. but our enemies have come a long way. gone are the days of bin laden
when extremists relied on couriers and caves to hatch their plots. today east' today's terrorists are openly recruiting online, across borders and at broadband speed. radical groups like isis have enlisted citizens from over 100 countries to join their terrorist army in syria. islamic terror outpost has spread throughout the region and beyond. this includes iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror, which has extended its reach. and the results are alarming. last year was the deadliest year on record for global terrorism. and terrorists still have their sights set on the west. in fact, in the past 18 months isis alone has inspired or directed nearly 60 plots or attacks against western countries including america. authorities have also arrested
an average of almost one american per week on terrorism charges. we are in unchartered territory even at its height al qaeda never reached this kind of operational tempo. yet in an age of peer-to-peer terrorism and cyber jihad, extremists can inspire new recruits online. tweet marching orders and wait for fanatics to act. their followers can also travel easily to join them overseas where they are trained to wage war. but even though our adversaries evolve, the battle test of principles we learned from 9/11 are still relevant. first, we must remain vigilant. the 9/11 commission found a government-wide failure of imagination contributed to the surprise attack. so we must prepare for the worst and stay a step ahead of the threat. we must also take the fight to the enemy before they can attack
us here at home. and we can do this by eliminating terrorist sanctuaries overseas. condoleezza rice noted wisely, if we learned anything from september the 11th, it is that we cannot wait while dangers gather. in 2004, the 9/11 commission made the same point with an ominous prediction when they said, quote, if for example iraq becomes a failed state, they wrote, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against americans at home. and if we are paying insufficient attention to afghanistan, its countryside could once again offer refuge to al qaeda or its successor. the lesson is clear. we must not let power vacuums develop in new places like libya or in old safe havens like afghanistan. terrorists must be kept on the
run, or else they will build larger armies and have the freedom to plot against us in relative safety. 9/11 also taught us that in the long-term we must counter the ideology at the core of islamist terror, because when left unchecked it can spread to all corners of the globe in the same way communism and fascism led to decades of destruction. i hope we will have a chance to examine these principles today and how to follow them in a new age of terror. but i also hope we can explore what the resolve of our 9/11 heroes can teach us about prevailing against those who seek to do america harm. on that day we saw the face of evil as terrorists sought to attack our economic, military and political centers of power. but we also saw the true heart of america as ordinary men and women showed uncommon courage.
first responders and pedestrians rushed in to burning buildings and stormed cockpits to save one another. there were americans with children, families. but they did not hesitate because they knew the people inside these buildings and with them on those airplanes had families too. driven by common humanity, they knowingly put their lives in the hands of god. and their bravery has rightly earned them a certain measure of immortality. he did not know it at the time, but when todd beamer said, let's roll, to his fellow passengers, he was leading them and us to the first victory in the war against islamist terror. and the day after we were still reeling, but our nation came together. we were americans first. and even though we were
uncertain about what the future held, we were united in our resilience to tragedy and in our resolve to deliver justice. the column behind us here today is a final piece of debris removed from the world trade center site. and those who cleared the rubble inscribed it with the names, stories and photos of people who perished, as well as symbols of patriotism. so it is fitting that this last piece of the lower towers wreckage now stands here as a permanent symbol of remembrance and resilience. we are a country that did not invite aggression from dark corners of the globe, but when it came to our shores, confidence and hope, not fear, rose from those ashes. i want to thank everyone for being here today on this solemn occasion. i want to thank the witnesses
and the chair now recognizes the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank new yorkers in particular for allowing us to hold this hearing here. every siam i come to this place i'm always overwhelmed. mostly because i had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in my earlier career here in the twin tower buildings. in fact, my former husband's office was here. and because i was in the financial industry, we had plenty of friends at canter fitzgerald. so every triime i come here i remember all those innocent people who were taken on that day. i want to thank our panelists for being here today. i want to -- i want to say that i'm very proud of new yorkers and americans because seeing
this here today reminds me of just how resilient we are. how resilient everything i know in the time that i've spent in this city new yorkers are. and it is really a testament to our ability to never forget, but to understand that the future is what we look forward to as americans. so since 9/11 we have changed our policing and we've changed the way that we engage our communities in order to prevent terrorist attacks. and this committee has been on the forefront of trying to understand that and to help locals in particular because we know that you are the first responders. i believe that law enforcement has become a great community facilitator engaging in all
facets of the cities that they patrol. and i see that they do it at a time, mr. chairman, when we are cutting back on the federal funds that we send to the local jurisdictions. in fact, it's been a little alarming to me that the congress has cut back on the funds. for example, in 2011 congress reduced the funding to only $1.9 billion to our local agencies. and as a result of that 32 cities were eliminated from the uwasee program for example. in the following year we appropriated only $1.35 billion to these appropriate programs. we increased it a little bit and then brought it back down again. and because of sequestration we are looking again at cuts to our local law enforcement agencies.
for all the work that they have taken on ever in particular since 9/11, i'm also interested -- i'd like to hear from the locals about how that budget uncertainty, the amount of money that we put forward, does with respect to their programs and what you're really trying to do to ensure that a 9/11 or a boston bombing doesn't happen. and beyond dealing with that, i would like to hear about what you are doing with your local communities including for example i represent the largest -- the second largest arab american community in our nation back in orange county, california. and i think that it's critical that we don't profile, that we don't unduly harass and that we don't detain individuals simply because of how they look or what their religion is. so i would like to hear from you
in particular, commissioner branton, on how the new york police department engages communities such as muslim americans. especially after it was revealed that plain clothed detectives went into muslim neighborhoods to spy on that specific community. at least according to to your "new york times." i understand that the nypd dropped that program, but i'd like to hear about how you're rebuilding that relationship and that trust with the community that we need to have on our side to help us with respect to local terrorism plots. and i look forward to hearing from both panels. and i want to thank again the chairman for holding the hearing. i think that we have come a long way since 9/11. and that we still have a ways to go. but again, i am always amazed at the resiliency of our people and
at the resiliency of new yorkers. and i look forward to the testimony. thank you. and i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member. other members opening statements may be submitted for the record. pleased to have two distinguished panels of witnesses here before us today. the first, former mayor of new york, mayor rudy giuliani will testify on the first panel. and the second will consistent of mr. william bratton, commissioner of the new york police department, and mr. dani daniel -- and mr. lee ielpi, president of september 11th families associations. and finally mr. gregory thomas present of the national organization of black law enforcement executives and senior executive for law enforcement operation in the office of kings county district attorney. let me first introduce the mayor. and if you would have a seat at the table.
mayor rudy giuliani serves as a partner at bryce well and giuliani. previously served two terms as new york city's mayor from 1994 to 2001 and led the city during and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. i can't think of a more important witness to be here today than you, sir. and we thank you for your service both before, but particularly after 9/11 where you brought such a tragedy brought this country together, sir. and it's with great honor that we have you. and i now yield to you for your testimony. >> mr. chairman, it's a great honor for me to be here. i thank the committee for holding the hearing here. as you said, there could be no more appropriate place. this is not just a museum.
this is sacred ground. there are people buried here who were never recovered. so this is a very, very special place not just to me but i think to everyone. when i looked at the wall behind y you, i think of the days and weeks in which we worry that that wall wouldn't hold and this whole place would be flooded. we expended a great deal of time, energy and money in trying to prevent that. and then probably most of all i think of all the caskets and people that were carried out here with american flags draped on them in great solemn procession. and i think of father judge who was the first body that we found here september 11 who was brought to st. peters church.
and remember his last words to me about eight minutes before he died, which was god bless us. so maybe we should begin that way with god blessing us. this museum is many, many things. and you will hear how one of the most important missions of this museum is so that people never forget. and that is truly the case. they should not. because we do have a tendency to repeat the mistakes of history. we've done that in the 20th century several times in de-arming after each war and then facing another war that we weren't prepared for. hopefully we won't make those mistakes again. and the reminder of what happened here will remind us of the fact that we face a very
difficult foe. the first point i would like to make is the point that i made very shortly after september 11, and that is that the islamic terrorist war against us did not begin on september 11, 2001. i'll remind you this very place was attacked in 1993, again by islamic terrorists who were taught their terrorism in a mosque in union city, new jersey, by an imam who is currently in jail. that wasn't the only mosque in new jersey that was planning attacks on new york. it is unfortunately the case that there is an interpretation of the islamic religion that calls for the destruction of our way of life. it is certainly not the majority
view. it certainly doesn't reflect the views of most people of the islamic religion. and on the evening of september 11 with a dust of on the evenin september 11th with the dust on my jacket and in my eyes and in my face, i said to the people of new york we should not view this as an attack by a particular group, and assign group blame. that is the worse thing we could do. and that we should not attack anyone. and i said to the point made by congresswoman sanchez, i sent my police commissioner bernard carrick on the mission of the attacks on the members of arab community in new york and after eight days i stopped doing it because there were none. we expected it. we expected it because of the anger and the hatred and so to the many things that new yorkers
deserve credit, one of the things they deserve credit for is they don't engage in group blame. but new yorkers already aren't foolish. and we do realize that although it isn't a matter of group blame, the word profiling has many meanings. if we're profiling based on objective evidence, that is exactly the way we investigate. i was in law enforcement as you were for more of my life than anything else and i caught criminals by profiling. when the victim said the suspect was 6'4" and blond hair and blue eyes i didn't look for a person with brown eyes and brown hair. if i did, i would have been a fool. i look for a person that met the description of the people who committed the crime or might commit the crime. the reality is that whatever
you'veisms we're engaging in, they are at war with us. by that i mean islamic extremist terrorists. they kill in the name of alla and the name of muhammed and they interpret the koran and the hadith, which is the skplikation of the koran which i have read several times and they interpret those words of muhammed that call for death to infidels. they use mosques for breeding grounds for that. not all, but some. congresswoman sanchez, i'm the mayor that authorized the placement of police officers in mosques and new jersey and elsewhere and mayor bloomberg
continued it and i believe by doing so i saved the lives of many new yorkers because we uncovered parts that have never come to light. it is unfortunately the case that that has to be done. i believe it was a mistake to withdraw those patrols. so, as we sit in a museum and when we go to museums, we think of history, don't we? if we were go to to the museum in pearl harbor, we would think of history, the terrible attack on pearl hash yosh and the fact that is now confined to history. our enemies in those days are now our friends. and some of our best friends. germany, italy, japan. that war is over. we can go to civil war memorials and we can go to revolutionary war memorials, some of which are in my great city.
and that war is over. you're in a museum about a war that is still going on. and don't fool yourself into thinking that it's over. and, um, is it worse now or better now? it is a very debatable and maybe almost irrelevant issue because it is very bad now. in certain areas we've improved dramatically, airport, airline security, cooperation is considerably better between the federal and the local governments. all of that is true. but the threat remains. and the number of attacks in recent years have increased. and the number of threats have increased. and the enemy has become considerably more diverse. and in that way, more difficult to track than when we were facing one major enemy, bin
laden. but we made a mistake then. and i see us making the same mistake again if we are not careful. we made a mistake in not taking seriously what they were saying to us. when they attacked us here in 1993, and killed our people, under the orders of an imam from new jersey, they had declared war on us. we treated it as a criminal act. it wasn't a criminal act like the five or 6,000 i prosecuted as a united states attorney. it wasn't like michael milkin and ivan bosque and corrupt politicians and -- it was a an act of war. and then of course, they attacked us into east africa,
and africa twice, and attacked our uss cole and killed our service members. by the way, an act of war, usually considered an act of war. we largely ignored those attacks. our response was tepid. our response to the uss cole was nonexistent. we allowed american servicemen to be slaughtered by bin laden and our reaction was -- nothing. just in case we weren't paying attention, bin laden declared war on us. we weren't paying attention. did that lead to september 11th? did that lead to a sense of arrogance and did it lead to a sense of an america that was weak, an america that was unresponsive, an america that could be taken advantage of?
no one will ever know. but it is safe to assume it did. because it will protect us better in the future. and then we had september 11th. i lost numerous close personal friends as did many of the people who are sitting here and it is extraordinarily difficult for me to return here. i've been to this museum only three times an the last time i came with a group of rangers that were going off on a mission and their general wanted them to see where the war started that they are now having to continue. but it didn't start here. it started way before here. the attack on the munich olympics was in 1972, on the israeli team. the killing of leon cling hoffer was in the 1980s. we weren't listening. we weren't watching. we weren't paying attention and we were taking peace dividends
while people were declaring war on us. i could trace the history of the aftermath of world war i and ii and show you the same thing. only fools repeat the mistakes of history. we're getting all of the warnings again. yes, we have isis. isis has many causes. part of it the withdrawal of our troops from iraq. part of it our unwillingness to engage in syria. part of it, the president drawing 12 red lines saying that if assad used chemical weapons he would act and the president's red lines disappeared which made america a hollow vessel. a nation one could assume you could take advantage of. you don't draw red lines and
then erase them. and expect that implaquable foes are not going to take advantage of that. so we have isis. doing things that take you back to the 6th and 7th century, to the acts of alli and some of the followers of muhammed. beheading of people. mass graves. and our response to isis so far has been at best to play defense, at worst to be rather ineffective. one of the great things that president bush did for us, for which i said at the time, will give him a place in history that can't be denied is after this attack took place, he immediately put this country on offense. and by putting us on offense, he
saved our city from repeated attacks. there is no one, absolutely no one, who on the day of september 11th, fbi or anyone else that briefed me that didn't wash me that -- warn me that my city wouldn't be attacked numerous times in the future. and beginning with commissioner carrick, and continuing through commissioner kelly and now bratton, new york city has continuously grown its response to terrorism because we expect to be attacked again. but we weren't attacked. and we weren't in large measure because of the bravery of the men and women of our military when went and engaged the enemy in iraq and afghanistan and kept them so busy they couldn't plan attacks. that presence of our military also brought us incalculable amount of intelligence warning us about attks