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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  October 13, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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appropriately. epa's core mission is to ensure a clean environment and to protect public health. and we're dedicated to continuing to do so. our job is to protect the environment, and we will hold ourselves and continue to hold ourselves to the same high standards that we demand of others. epa was at the gold king mine on august 5th conduct an investigation to assess mine conditions and ongoing water discharges so that we could dewater the mine, pool and assess the feasibility of further mine remediation. while excavating above the mine opening, the lower portion of the bedrock crumbled, and approximately 3 million gallons of pressurized water discharged from the mine into cement creek, which is a tributary of the animas river. epa and colorado officials informed downstream jurisdictions in colorado within hours of the release before the plume reached drinking water intakes and diversions and
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notification to other downstream jurisdictions continued the following day, allowing for all of those intakes and diversions to be closed prior to the plume's arrival. in the aftermath of the release, we initiated an internal review of the incident and we released an internal review summary report, which includes an assessment of the events and potential factors that contributed to the gold king mine incident. the report provides observations, conclusions as well as recommendations that our region should consider applying when conducting ongoing and planned site assessments, investigations, and construction and removal projects at similar types of sites across the country. epa will implement all of the recommendations from the report and has shared its findings with external reviewers. as you know, in addition to the internal review, the department of the interior is leading an independent assessment of the facts that led to the gold king mine incident. the goal of the independent
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review is to provide epa with an analysis of the incident that took place at the gold king mine, including the contributing causes. both internal and external reviews will help inform epa for ongoing and planned site assessments, investigations, constructions, and removals. one of our foremost priorities to keep the public informed about the impacts from the gold king mine release and our response activities. epa is closely coordinated with our federal partners and with officials in colorado, new mexico, utah, the southern ute and ute tribes and the navajo nation to keep them apprised which are routinely posted on our website. these results indicate that water and sediment have returned to pre-event conditions. and supported local and state decision makers as they made the decision to lift water restrictions along the animas and the san juan river. finally, i want to clarify that epa was working with the state
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of colorado to take action at the gold king mine to address both the potential for a catastrophic release and the ongoing adverse water quality impacts caused by the significant mine discharges in the upper animas watershed. based upon 2009 to 2014 flow data, approximately 330 million gallons of contaminated water was being discharged from those mines in the watershed each year to cement creek and the animas river. that's 100 time more than the gold king mine on august 5. epa was and continues to work with the state of colorado as well as the animas group to address the significant discharges for mines int the upper watershed that are impacting these waters. i think it's important to note that all across the country our superfund program has actually cleaned up more than 1,150
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hazardous sites and successfully provided to our oversight for thousands of removal acts to protect human health and the environment. that reflects our long-standing commitment to protect human health and the environment. all of the affected residents of colorado and new mexico and the tribes can be assured that epa has and we will continue to take responsibility to ensure that the gold king mine release is cleaned up. thank you, mr. chairman that concludes my statement. and i'm happy to answer any questions that you or the committee may have. >> thank you, madam administrator. let me try to stake out where your i think your position is. and where i think your position is so others can address that position. both the epa and the contractor now there was a risk of a blow out at the gold king mine. do you agree that the epa should have spent the time and money to do the necessary engineering and
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water pressure tests before work began there? just yes or no. we don't need a long answer. >> sir, my position is the state of colorado, the animas river stakeholder group knew it. it was in the work plan. we were actually there, sir, because of the danger of a blowout. >> okay. so your answer is no. did epa designate the cleanup here as time critical to cut corners and avoid having to do a detailed engineering study? >> no, sir, we did not. why didn't the epa ask the inspector general or another federal agency or a group like the national academies that does not have a conflict of interest? there have been a lot of concern about a conflict of interest that would have been there with the doi. so i was asking the question, why didn't you address one of them as opposed to the doi? >> sir, it's important for us to remember that we have also put on hold other similar mining
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responses that many of which are time critical. we went to doi because they had the expertise. they are bringing the army corps in. we believe they are independent. they will give us an independent assessment. and that that's the most appropriate thing to do. as you know, the oig is investigating this incident as well. >> so you're saying then doi, those who are saying that doi would have conflict of interest are not accurate. >> i do not believe they have a conflict of interest. they are independent and should do a good job. >> have the recent problems with epa office of emergency management contributed to the gold king mine spill or affected epa's response? >> i'm not aware of recent problems with our office of environmental management. >> okay. and then lastly, senator bennett made the statement that there is no denying that the epa caused this disaster. and senator gardner in his
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statement complained that you were not available for some period of time. your schedule didn't -- to discuss this with senator gardner. is that incorrect? >> well, sir, we have taken full responsibility -- >> i understand that. >> and i was there on the 12th and 13th. the original response was quite hectic and ongoing. i certainly didn't want my presence there to confuse the situation. but i'm not aware the senator reached out to me in my way prior to that that i didn't respond to right away. >> did you hear a statement that he made? >> i did not hear his statement, sir. no >> you might look at that. >> now on another topic because i have a short while here and it's very important. while you're here, the department of justice recently told a federal court that epa would submit the final carbon rules to the federal register by september 4th and that publication would occur by late october. did the epa submit the rules to the federal register by
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september 4th? >> i'm sorry, sir. i don't have those numbers in my head. i didn't expect this question. >> well, i know that. but it's significant, though. we need to know. that was the deadline that was given. and whether or not you complied with the deadline. >> i don't have the exact data. i'm more than happy -- >> do you have staff sitting here that might be able to answer that question? >> i'm sorry? do. >> you have staff here that can answer that question? >> we can certainly get you the answer as quickly as possible. i do not have my office of air and radiation staff here given the subject matter of the hearing. >> are you aware that delaying publications until the end of october interferes with the ability of congress to do the -- and the public to legally challenge the rules for the -- before the big show in paris? >> sir, i am aware that both you and i want this to get in the federal register as soon as possible. >> senator boxer? >> thank you, senator. thank you, mr. chairman. administrator mccarthy, i want
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to point out that senator bennett did praise you for being available. so there is confusion. one said you weren't, the other one said you were. so i think -- anyway, i'm moving on. >> i certainly had a conversation with senator gardner. >> good. >> i'm unaware of being unavailable. >> we'll clear it up. >> okay. >> administrator mccarthy, the super fund called for epa to issue rules requiring certain industries to provide financial assurances for cleanups so that taxpayers are not on the hook. in 2009, epa identified the hard rock mining industry as the first class of facilities requiring financial assurance. rules 679. orders, that they would be there should their action cause a problem. epa is undertaking this rule making. now you are under court order to finish that rule by december 2017. can you describe the steps epa is taking to ensure these
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critical rules are promulgated according to the court's schedule. >> we have also committed, senator, to an august 2016 draft. and prior to that draft, we intend to work with our sister federal agencies so that we can be assured that the financial responsibility rule will be as accurate as it can be in terms of how much responsibility those parties should take for cleanup, and how best to assure that that financial responsibility will be solid and appropriate. >> now, administrator, how will these rules help ensure taxpayers are not on the hook for future cleanups? >> well, my understanding, senator, is that we do have an ability to require financial responsibility for our existing and new active sites. the challenge for us are these legacy sites that we are talking about, like gold king mine where we do not have a responsible
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party that we can lean to that we will not be able to address those issues with this particular rule making. >> okay. administrator mccarthy, in response to the gold king mine spill, you issued a stop work order at all hard rock mine sites. and you requested a review of whether those sites pose a potential for a blowout similar to what happened at the gold king mine. i want to thank you for that because clearly we don't want to play russian roulette with these mines. i understand that the review has resulted in the suspension of cleanups at ten sites, including three in california and four in colorado. again, i appreciate your quick action to identify other sites that could present a concern. can you describe what actions epa is taking to assess the potential risk at these sites? >> i can, senator.
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you're absolutely right. we were concerned that any similar situation learned from the independent review that is being done from doi before they proceeded. we have identified as best we can all the sites that epa is engaged in, which is a small fraction of the sites that you would want to look at. but it's over a couple hundred. we are looking at the similarities between this and the gold king mine incident. and we are allowing sites to proceed where there is an imminent hazard. if there is not, we are waiting for the review to be done so that we can make sure that similar sites learn the lessons that we are going to learn on the basis of what happened at the gold king mine and what the investigation by doi and other independent entities indicate. >> thank you. i think that's very common sense and wise. administrator mccarthy, one concern raised about cleanups of abandoned mines by good
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samaritans is who will be responsible if something goes wrong during the cleanup. this is my concern. i love the fact that people could come forward and clean up. but who pays if things go wrong and something could easily go wrong? so if good samaritans are not responsible, who would be on the hook for those costs? would it not be taxpayers? >> yes, it would be. >> okay. and that is why i think it's critical that we can work together to come up with some rules that makes some sense so we can include good samaritans, but not have a situation where they just go in there. look, if epa made this kind of mistake, and i know it weighs heavy on your heart, that epa is in there. and look what happened. now a good samaritan comes forward without any of the expertise. it could happen again. so we have to be very, very careful about it. i just want to say, the obama administration has proposed
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reinstating the superfund tax and establishes a fee on hard rock mining. and i just think it makes all the sense in the world to get ahead of this. everything costs something. you can't just wish it away and wish it would be cleaned up. so i hope as a result of this hearing and your openness to reform that we can make some good reforms within epa. but also that we can have a new era where we work across-party lines to truly clean up these sites. thank you. >> thank you, senator boxer. >> senator rounds. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator mccarthy, i would like to follow up a little bit on what the chairman started visiting with you about. on august 18th, the epa announced that the department of the interior would conduct an independent investigation to the causes of the spill and issue a report by late october. subsequently doi announced that the bureau of reclamation would
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lead the review. however, it appears that there are several conflicts of interest that you have spoken about and that you don't believe were involved. you're disagreeing with there being conflicts. what i'm curious about, if this is an independent review, and we assume that's the way you set it up to be, most certainly there would be a contract or document as to what the expectations were from the doi. is there a memorandum of agreement concerning what the doi would review. and if there is, why haven't we received copies as requested by this committee. epw staff has requested the documents, including the charge questions or the scope of the doi's work. but we have not received any of the information. this is as of last evening. why has your agency not publicly released the documents? and will you commit to sending these documents to us following the conclusion of this hearing? >> well, senator we were as i
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think as sensitive as you were to making sure this review was truly independent. one of the decisions we made to ensure that was for epa not to actually ourselves control the scope of the investigation. we thought it was important for the independence of doi that they actually articulated that scope themselves so that epa wouldn't be accused of narrowing that inappropriately. so we are leaving that up to doi. and i am happy to follow up to see if i can be helpful in getting information on how they have defined that. but as far as i know, epa has not seen that documentation either. >> i'm sorry. but you said that you have an independent -- you're anticipating an independent review. >> uh-huh. >> but you don't know if the epa has seen the document which lays out the scope of the investigation by an independent firm? >> i did not. epa did not dictate the scope of
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that investigation. >> but most certainly you would have seen a copy of what would be expect to have had independent agency? >> the independent agency is going to dictate that themselves. and we are actually going to live with whatever scope doi believes is appropriate as an independent investigator. >> by now that document should exist, shouldn't it? the reason why i'm asking is because you've indicated that you already stopped work at other locations. >> i have. >> and based on the preliminary report. but it must be based on some sort of an understanding of the review in the first place. >> my understanding is the doi indicated they would do the review. they understand they would be establishing the scope. it's my understanding they are intending to complete this review in october. >> so either the documents exist and your agency has not seen them. or second of all, the documents are still being developed, at which time my question would be -- because if not, we should be able to see a copy of them
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and it shouldn't be that tough to get them. >> well, sir, i am continuing to try to make sure that epa is not perceived as interfering in this investigation in any way that would question the independence of doi's review. and that's what we're going to continue to do. >> if it's an independent review, though. >> yeah. >> it seems to me the independent review agency would have at least provided you with a copy of what they would be reviewing and how they would do it. >> in this case i do not believe we have seen that type of documentation. >> you have not? >> we have seen the press release. that is what we have seen. i know their review is is going to be looking at the incident itself and the contributing factors. beyond that i haven't seen a limitation on how they're going to conduct that. >> has there been a preliminary report issued to your agency from the independent doi -- >> no, sir. the only communication we have
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had was to look at the press release that was issued. we are hands off on this to address the very issue that you are concerned about, which is our independence. >> but the reason why i'm asking the question is just a moment ago you indicated that you have already shut down work. i believe you shut down work at other locations based on the information already received and learned. >> yes, a number of locations. yes -- no. >> did that not come from doi? >> oh, no, no. that was from our -- look, from our own national mining subgroup or team i guess we call the national mining team at epa has done a review of all the npl, the mines that are on our npl list. and they have taken a look at what might be even closely similar to this effort, and they are consistently looking at those to see what should continue or not. but if there is any similarity or chance that we need to learn lessons here, those reviews and assessments and work is on hold pending the result of this
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investigation. >> would that report, which created the need to suspend the existing operations, would that be available for this committee to review? >> that is available, sir. and that was just a memo that i sent. it was a directive to the agency which i thought was appropriate to do to be very cautious that there was no way in which the gold mine release would happen again at another site because we -- i was unclear and i will remain unclear until the independent review is done about what was the real contributing factor. what happened that we need to make sure will never happen again. >> thank you for your testimony. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator rounds. senator cardin? >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator mccarthy, one thing i would hope all of us would agree upon is that we all do want the independent review and we want it done with the integrity of an independent review.
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>> yes, sir. >> to understand what happened and as you said to prevent this from happening in the future. we support your commitment to that independent review. i was listening to my colleague's testimony. hard rock mining of course took place in many parts of our country. but clearly the states that were directly impacted the most are the ones we heard from today. and there are thousands of abandoned mines. all looks like creates some environmental challenge. some have been under control and have been pretty well understood. others are much more problematic. and we are still evaluating the risk factors as to whether action is is needed. and that was what's part of the process that led to this particular episode.
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i was impressed by the senator's comments that we haven't reviewed the laws for a long period of time. i understand the cal environment we're operating under. i would hope we would get your evaluation as to whether the current laws, either the clean actor blm rules for inactive mines are adequate. do we really hold the right person accountable for the reclamation. do we need to have a dedicated funding source to deal with these urgent needs in order to protect the environment and water for the communities involved? it seems to me that considering the challenge. and if senator heinrich is correct, we need to at least understand this and have a more transparent awareness that there is ongoing problems every day. and yet are we taking appropriate actions to make sure our communities are as safe as they need to be.
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how do we go about doing that? >> well, senator, just to put this problem in perspective, we are talking about 23,000 abandoned mines in colorado alone. and more than 161,000 in the west and alaska. and so clearly this is a very large challenge. i think i would point to the fact that the administration in its fiscal year '16 budget actually proposed a fee charged on hard rock mine to go support a fund that would allow us to do a better job at tackling these abandoned mines and the continual impact they are having on water quality. and i think it's important to remember that many federal agencies have jobs to do in this.
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but there's no leadership position that actually is the one that's accountable for the issue. and it makes it very difficult. from epa's perspective, we really track the mines only, you know, a small percentage of what's out there on the abandoned mines actually make it into the npl list, which is our responsibility to track and monitor and to take action if there is imminent action or short-term action. but in this case, it was a mine that is not on that list, that the local community didn't want on that list. but the state was unable on their own wherewithal to address this challenge. and we have been working 17 to 20 years to try to figure out how to address the 400 mines in the upper animas river. you know, it is an incredible challenge. but when epa responded when the state wanted us to look at this issue, the pressurization behind the gold king mine, which had been going on unattenuated for quite some time.
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we went with them on the site. we developed the work plan with them. it went to public meetings to the stakeholder group in the animas river. incident was completely open, completely transparent. everybody agreed on the next steps. those are the next steps we took. >> i thank you for that. i just ask that you keep us -- advise us as to whether you have adequate tools. we talked about your budget with a dedicated funding source, whether the laws are strong enough. we want to protect the community and hold those responsible, accountable for the reclamation. it seems that the tools could be stronger. >> yes, sir. thank you. >> thank you, senator cardin. senator sullivan. >> administrator mccarthy, i >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to echo what our panel mentioned at the outset. senator udall talked about water is life out in the west.
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i think that's something we all agree with. we certainly want clean water. i agree with senator boxer we all want to make sure polluters are accountable to help make sure we want to keep our water clean. but i want to emphasize what senator gardner talked about where the government should be held to the same standard. do you agree with that? >> i believe a higher standard. >> do you believe that agencies like the epa should be subject to the same transparency and reporting requirements that the public is? >> i believe that's the reason why the npl sites are on the npl list. >> what do you think would happen to a private company if they did what the epa had done in this episode with the animas river? so accidentally causing a blowout. very significant pollution. some arguments saying it took too long to notify. what do you think would happen to a private sector company that that happened to?
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>> in my estimation. again, the facts will be borne out or not by the independent review. but the way in which you do an action like this which is difficult to do is is you first make sure that if there is an accident -- >> let's assume that -- >> i'm trying to explain. my answer is -- >> i don't have a lot of time. >> right. >> what do you think would happen if you guys hired a contractor. it accidentally caused eruption. >> that's right. >> what do you think would happen to a private sector company? >> exactly the same thing epa did if they take the same -- >> but what kind of penalties -- would happen to -- >> there would be no penalties unless it was against a settlement or an order. >> mr. chairman, i would like to submit for the record a "wall street journal" article from september 9th, 2015 that lays out several examples of even smaller than this private sector
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companies where there was an accident, there was pollution, and there were officials that were criminally charged. some went to jail. >> without objection. >> do you think that -- if you think that the epa should be held to the same standards as private sector companies or a higher standard. >> yes. >> do you think anyone from the epa should be held criminally liable or go to jail for what happened? >> i have not received the independent review that will fully tell me what happened at at that site using an independent voice and i. and i am looking forward to that. senator, the sequence of events when you have a spill is to keep your people safe at the site. it is then to stop the spill as quickly as possible. it is then to ensure the cleanup. that is exactly what epa is is -- >> all i'm saying, administrator, is is your agency has on a number of occasions, according to this article, criminally charged people for accidental spills and some have even gone to jail on spills smaller than what you just -- so
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if you're going to hold your agency to a higher standard than the private sector, you need to be aware of what you have done as an agency in the past. and i do want to mention, this is a frustration. i think it's a frustration throughout the country. i think it's a frustration of why people have focused on this. you know, we have, like the other states, abandoned mines in alaska. we also have abandoned legacy wells. i know it is not epa's responsibility. we have wells that are still leaking oil right now, right now. and if you are private sector ceo in charge of a company like that, you would be in jail. right now blm allows abandoned wells to leak all over the state of alaska. they don't clean these up. let me talk more broadly. i assume you also believe the epa should be following the law like the private sector is and u.s. citizens have to do, correct?
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>> of course, sir. yes. >> so are you familiar with the michigan verse, supreme court case had utility air regulators versus epa? in just a recent case, north dakota, alaska sued the epa. are you familiar with those cases? just came out as a preliminary injunction? >> is this the clean water act? are you talking about the clean water rules, sir? >> these are three instances in the last year and a half, two supreme court cases where the epa has either violated the constitution, the clean water act or the clean air act. >> sir, i wouldn't characterize it that way. but i understand -- >> that's exactly the way to characterize it. read the opinions. what would happen to a private sector company if it was continually violating the law the way the epa does. >> i don't believe we're violating the law, sir. >> have you read the michigan versus epa case?
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>> i am familiar with that. >> have you read the utility air regulators case? >> i understand there is a preliminary injunction. >> no. these are two u.s. supreme courses that said the epa violated the clean water act and the clean air act and the north dakota federal court just recently said the waters of the u.s. rule, which we have debated here, a lot of us think it violates the law. we had a federal court saying it's very likely that it did violate the law. >> this is the way the law works. epa interprets the law as best it can. the vast majority of them do go to court. and the vast majority epa wins. and when the times we don't, we listen to that court decision and we take appropriate action. that does not mean we have violated the law or the constitution. that is exactly -- >> i think you need to reread these cases. because that's exactly what the supreme court said. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator sullivan.
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senator markey? >> thank you, mr. chairman very much. and thank you administrator mccarthy for being here today. so we have a big mess on our hands. we're dealing here with a law that was passed in 1872. ulysses s. grant was the president of the united states. and it hasn't been amended sense then. and he did a great job, by the way on winning the civil war. just a great job. i just want to compliment him on that. this law may have been appropriate for 1872. we were trying to get people to go out west. colorado isn't even a state yet for four more years. we got to get people out there. we're trying to get people to populate these states.
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1872, the law passes. 1876, colorado becomes a state. so the law says you get out there. kind of like the homestead act. we'll give you access to these mines. for free. now it's 2015. some people say there are exactly 160,000 abandoned mines. some other groups say there are 500,000 abandoned mines. what is the revenue stream now to put in place in order to ensure that we don't see more accidents like this happening? we don't have a revenue stream. what we did in the end of the 1970s, beginning of the 1980s, we created a superfund program, a program that was intended to deal with the worst sites across the country.
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love canal in new york state, wuburn, which was the subject of a movie "a civil action" in massachusetts, my congressional district. and we put that program in place. but the mining industry even today doesn't want to pay for the minerals that are on federal lands. these are taxpayers' minerals that the companies believe that they should get for free. for free. now over in the house of representatives, i was the ranking member on the natural resources committee and i introduced a bill saying that they should have to pay. you can't have this bargain basement giveaway sale any longer. we need a revenue stream. so that we can put programs in place that ensure that we begin to work on the worst of these sites. in a much more aggressive fashion.
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and that is something that you would think we could agree is necessary 147 years later after the law was passed to deal with the mess, the obvious mess that has been created. so do you agree, madam administrator that the revenue stream is just completely insufficient in order to deal with the magnitude of the problem which this incident demonstrates is just looming out there as a continuing threat to the environment of our country. >> i think the president's fiscal year '16 budget and earlier that suggests that we need a fee revenue that is based on the polluter pays principle. that is exactly the same way that coal mines are treated, and those abandoned coal mines are cleaned up is the same kind of source that we need to be looking for here to be instituted by congress to begin to tackle this issue more
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effectively. >> and i would hope that my republican friends could agree that it's time for us to put a fee on this. giving it away, letting them mine, letting them abandon and then not having a revenue source to deal with the mess that is created makes no sense at all. and i would hope that we could work together on this. although i found in the house of representatives that it was impossible to find republican supporters for something like this. but it does leave kind of a regulatory black hole. and the active, of course that some republicans continue to pro pound is that we should have kind of a good samaritan law where we kind of waive the rules. waive them. and i think that whatever minimal set of laws we have on the books, you know, just can't be cavalierly waived because that's kind of the last, you know, wall of environmental protections which we've got. so you've got to be very careful
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when you go down that route. it would just seem to me that people don't like to hear it, but you need money. when you got 160,000 of or 500,000 abandoned mines all potentially leeching into now a much more populated colorado, a much more populated new mexico because of those policies, then you've now got a danger with regard to the health, the air, the water of people who live near them. and it's time for us to do something about it. thank you, madam administrator for your great work. >> thank you, senator markey. senator barrasso? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> morning. >> good to see you. and thank you later today. i'll be chairing a hearing in the indian affairs committee to better understand how the epa's actions are impacting indian tribes downstream from the gold king site. and i thank you for agreeing to appear. and i anticipate we again will have a similar robust discussion. you know, senator bennett who is on the panel before you came in said there is no denying that
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epa caused this disaster. he is very thoughtful. this has happened in his home state. there is bipartisan concern about what happened. and my question to you, isn't it true that when a private company is accused of violating the clean air act of the epa on your specific leadership has aggressively pursued civil fines against the company and individuals within the company? and isn't it true that if there was a 3 million gallon toxic spill caused by actions of private citizens that the epa would act aggressively against that company, against those citizens? i mean, how large of a fine would the epa be pursuing the case? >> senator, we were there to correct what we knew was a significant problem there is no question that the actions of epa contributed to this spill. but that does not mean that we are another private sector person would be accused of violating intentionally the clean air act. they would be told to do exactly what we are doing, which is to aggressively get their people to
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safety, aggressively stop the spill, make sure it didn't happen again. >> the epa caused this disaster. that's what senator bennett says. and i agree with him. and i just think that the epa ought to be held to even higher standard. but the aggressive nature of this epa under your direction i think says that there is clearly a double standard between the epa treats itself and looks to itself and how it treats private companies. on a second but related epa water management issue, i'd like to discuss the epa's waters of the united states rule. over and over again, the preamble to the waters of the united states rule says that it's based on, quote, the science and the expertise and experience of the agencies. it doesn't appear to have any support for the statements in any of the rule-making record. an attempt to understand the basis for the final rule, this committee through the leadership of our chairman sent letters to the epa and the army corps of engineer asking for documents that support the final rule. asking epa for copies of the
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scientific studies. asking the army corps of engineer, for example, for samples of field experience because you say you used both. in a letter dated august 17th, deputy assistant administrator ken kapigis did not identify any scientific studies to support the decisions made in the final ruling. instead, he offered the staff a briefing. at that briefing, the epa took the position that the, quote, science just supports the idea that all water is connected. all water is connected. that's not the law of the land as the law talks about navigatable water. that's the best that your administration could do for the epa about water. it's all connected. that's their science. simply in a letter dated august 28th, secretary -- assistant secretary of the army jo-ellen darcy told the committee that the army didn't rely on any field observations to support the rule. none. but that's what you say they did. so this statement is consistent with memos that general peay body of the corps sent to the
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secretary when the final rule was under review. so if the final rule isn't based on any science and the final rule isn't based on the corps's experience in the field, what did you base it on? >> senator, we did base it on the science and the experience of both epa and the army corps. >> that's not what your staff and the army corps of engineers are saying. it sounds to me you're making it up as you go. >> but i would point the committee to the record on our work we have done on the water connectivity study which does look at more than -- i think close to 2,000 studies that's available. that went through the normal science advisory board subcommittee process. in fact we also have the technical support document that's in the record that is the basis for many of the decisions in the clean water rule. so those are already available and i'm happy to sit down with your staff again. >> sure. we'd like to do that because it's still based on the idea that all water is connected,
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period. >> no, sir, that's not -- >> and we would disagree with you on that. >> okay. >> and finally, in august, the epa released the final clean power plan final rule. the economies in many states, including my home state of wyoming are going to be devastated by this according to a study issued august 4th through the university of wyoming. our public policy, energy economics, we could face a loss of 7,000 to 11,000 jobs in just the coal mining, coal generation, coal transport sectors. it doesn't account for all the local businesses that are going to lose revenue as a result of these job losses. the study also found that my state could lose up to 60% of its state coal revenue, which is money that goes to fund schools, roads, water treatment facilities, emergency medical services, all things that make people's lives better, keep them safer. so as your plan is taking that away from people in my state and in other states, states that have strong energy sectors, the cost of your regulations are real. they're immediate, and they're destructive.
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the benefits of your regulations are theoretical and unproven. my question is how does your clean power plan mitigate those impacts and the direct damage that your new regulations do to wyoming people, people from other states, and how do you make those lives whole? >> we actually believe that we have done this rule in a way that is flexible, that looked at states' concerns that provided significant time that is going to achieve significant reductions that will allow us to provide leadership we need to address what is essentially the greatest environmental challenge of our time, which is the challenge of climate change. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman -- >> thank you, senator barrasso. senator -- >> i apologize, mr. chairman. i just wanted to let you know that i did get the information you were seeking on the clean power plan and when the rule was submitted. so i can provide that. >> the september 4th deadline? is that what you're talking about? >> it was sent to the register on september 4th.
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and we still expect it to be published in october. i just wanted to let you know that. >> submitted on september 4th. thank you very much. >> thank you for being here. just a quick question on the contractor issue. >> yeah. >> it's been mentioned that epa had contracted. >> yes. >> private contractor to do the work. does the private contractor have a liability issue here or is that something they release on when they contract with epa? >> well, the contractor has to follow the work plan and the task order that they have been given. it is a contractor that has been working with the agency for a number of years, and has worked on 15 mine sites before. but they were working under the direction of our onscene coordinator. >> so they were taking direction from epa. >> that's correct. >> so those were your -- epa's direct orders that actually caused the damage. >> the work plan that we developed was being followed as far as i know. but that's one of the things we would expect in an independent review to look at. >> i'm looking for accountability here, as i think we all are and you are as well. because as you know, i live in a
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community that has had the -- our waters have -- we had the chemical spill causing a lot of disruption and a lot of health concerns and other concerns. those executives have just recently been sentenced and will be serving time. but one of the issues that came out of this was business interruption. so senator gardner brought this up about rafters. i think senator bennett as well. other people who have lost their revenues for the year because of this, and then they're going to have the stigma attached to it which is going to be even more difficult to regain this. is this part of your restitution that you could possibly go back to a immunity? is that within the bounds of the epa to be able to do things like this? >> senator, epa is not arguing that we are responsible for the cleanup here. >> right. >> right. >> whatever happens with the contractor happens. but we're taking full responsibility. there is a claim process. in fact we have received a number of claims from small
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businesses exactly related to the issues that you identified. and the federal law that allows those claims to be processed appropriately, and we will do that, and those are well within the boundaries of what a federal claims tort act is supposed to be compensating. >> okay. i would love to have follow-up on that. >> sure. >> to see how successful that has been. because i think i see the president of the navajo nation there. it's very important for them as well. another issue was on the crisis response plan. senator gardner mentioned when he was on-site four days later, there was still not an adequate appropriate crisis response plan or team in place. would you have a response to that? >> i'm happy to -- i apologize that i wasn't here. i wasn't realizing that the senate was testifying. so we actually had a response team in place. we had onscene coordinates.
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we had more than a couple of hundred epa staff. we immediately put that in motion, how to set up incident command centers. we have an area command center that we sent, set up. we moved as quickly as we could, but we'll always be able to look back and see whether we could have done it better, could we have done it quicker, what are the lessons we need to learn. >> do you anticipate that that will be part of the report, the crisis response? >> if they don't, i know the office of inspector general will certainly be looking at that, and epa independently will be looking at that as well. >> because that was a huge issue in the spill that we had. >> i understand. >> and in timing wise, the national response center wasn't notified until an hour and a half later. you're lucky because you were able to get the down water folks who had water intakes, you had enough. >> yes, we did. >> mileage there. but if it was right at the source. >> yeah. >> which happened in our community, you wouldn't have had that time. and it was blamed on lack of
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cell service in the area, living in a rural community, i can identify with that. but certainly there would be some kind of satellite phone or some other way to get an immediate response. >> well, that's one of the things we're look at, senator. we agree that we could have done better on notification. it's a process we work on with the states nafnltd this case, we were in a remote area. we know we were in a remote area. we got ahold of our partners immediately. the partners went down and notified the national response center and it triggered all of the appropriate innovations. as you said, the good news is we got there before the plume did in any of the areas in which it could have caused a problem in terms of irrigation diversions or other water infrastructure diversions. >> then i think the controversy on the one million as opposed to the three million is something we need to examine as well. >> i appreciate that. >> other issues that come to my mind are the health issues. medical monitoring and such, you don't really know what the combination of the metals that are in this water, has that been sufficiently tested? do we know what the serious
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effects are? i'm just raising questions that i think need to be raised. i would like to say just in final, because i just have a couple of seconds. >> okay. >> remaining on the clean power plan. you know, this is going to impact my state a great deal. we have the highest unemployment in our state right now, directly attributable to a lot of things. but natural gas, yes. but also to the regulatory environment. everything you see we have thousands of west virginians who have lost their jobs. it concerns me every day. it is a sad affair to go -- i wish you would come and talk with the folks that these regulations are very deeply affecting. it is difficult for our county commissioners are laying off people. their school systems can no longer function because of the lack of tax revenue. our unemployment fund in our state is now under serious attack. we're hurting here. and when this regulation goes into effect, it's going to have an even more devastating effect on us directly. probably our state most directly
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affected. thank you. >> senator boseman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much for being here today. i think the issue of the double standard really is important. people have lost faith in government. and your agency has a reputation of being aggressive, stems heavy handed in dealing with individuals that have had problems in this regard. and it seems like the initial reaction, you know, and you did the right things early on, but the initial reaction of the agency really did seem to downplay the extent of the damage that went on until it literally the river turned orange and then everybody could figure out that this was a big deal. statements like the water is healing itself, if an oil executive says things like that,
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people would have gone ballistic. so, again, we'll have to wait and see what comes out of the ig report. we'll have to wait -- department of entiinterior, things like th. but i do think it's fair to say that the initial reaction downplaying it or appearing to downplay it in regard to the public i think, you know, that we've got enough information that was done very, very poorly. >> senator, i appreciate your concern. there's no way epa should have downplayed this spill. i certainly did not. we have taken full responsibility, and i will work la hard to show you that we are following the same standards of excellence that we demand of others. this was a devastating thing, not just for those communities, but for epa as well, and we'll learn from this. but it has been a very hard lesson for all of us, and it will continue. we have long-term obligations here.
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and i have made it very clear that epa is not going away and is going to meet those long-term responsibilities. >> okay. thank you. you mentioned earlier, you know, the -- you've got an old mine and, again, i don't understand all that's going in there, but pressure buildup and all these kind of things. i guess with all of that happening, why i believe on september 9th a house committee testified that an engineer wasn't kuwas wasn't consulted. why is that the case? why would an engineer not be involved in the planning? one of the witness testified the work at the gold king mine was not developed by a professional engineer. why would that be the case? >> i do not know why that was stated, but my understanding is that the actual work plan -- epa was called in to assist for the very reason that a problem happened, which is that a blowout was seen as likely inevitable. and we wanted to get in and help
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the asset take care of that at their request. our osc was a mining engineer, our on-scene coordinator. we developed this plan with the state. we both developed this plan. then we worked with the animas river stakeholder group which is filled with mining experts and local constituencies and we did public hearings on this work plan before we actually initiated work. so, we had a lot of engineering expertise and eyes on this work plan. and the way this happened was as sad for us as it was for anybody, and we did not certainly anticipate that the work we were doing would have aggravated the situation. we were there to actually relieve the situation that we knew was building up. >> okay, we'll look and see about the discrepancy. my understanding is that the removal actions are classified
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into three categories, emergency, time critical, nontime critical. can you tell us how those -- what the difference is in thence of which category to use for particular action? >> senator, if it's possible i'm happy to respond in writing afterwards. i'm not sure that i'll get the nuances correct. >> i can identify with that so thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator fisher? >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, administrator. i'd like to kind of drill down a little bit on some items that were brought up about cell phone coverage. in the omaha world herald there was an article on september 12th that stated there was no cell phone coverage at the gold mine the day of the spill and that was confirmed in an august 16th
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e-mail that was posted on your agency's website which also said, quote, no satellite phone was at the local, end quote. so, just to clarify, there wasn't a cell phone. there was no satellite phone. there was no way to immediately communicate to those downstream when the toxic water began rushing out. so, my question is, was the epa really properly prepared to inform local communities if there was a spill that would happen and which did happen? >> senator, i cannot at this point confirm to you about the cell coverage. i apologize. i will get back to you on that. but clearly better notification would have been beneficial to all of us, and that's one of the reasons why we have actually asked for a review of all of this internally and a beefing up of our notification process. it is a very secluded and difficult place to reach.
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but we did get in touch with our colleagues in colorado very quickly, and we were able to get to those downstream areas and make sure that those diversions were protected before the plume arrived there. because it is quite a distance away from any populated area. >> and i would imagine that you'll be looking at how plans are developed in the future, too, not just with the subcontractors but also with the epa itself, would you agree with that? >> absolutely. our internal review indicated that that was one of our first orders of business. >> and to follow-up with senator bozeman, he said the plan was not developed by professional engineers with the subcontractor. and they were the ones that were performing the work on site when the blowout occurred, is that correct? >> under the direction of the on-scene coordinator. >> did the epa have an emergency
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action plan? >> yes, it did. well -- i'm sorry. i didn't mean to interrupt. >> no, that's fine. did the epa have an emergency action plan? any kind of contingency plan on your own? >> the epa required it from the contractor. the contractor developed their own, and that is something that our internal review looked at. but there may be broader emergency plans that are also appropriate that i can't speak to at this point. >> did i understand you correctly when you said that the epa was very active in developing the plan with the subcontractor? is that correct? the health and safety plan? >> the work plan for the actual actions and the work at the site was developed with the state of colorado and epa. >> with the health and safety plan, were you involved in that development? >> i do not know whether there was back and forth with the contractor. the contractor did develop a plan, but that plan was seen by the internal review team when
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they looked at it at epa as being inadequate to address a blowout situation. >> do you have copies of correspondence that you could provide us with that would i guess outline the involvement of epa? >> well, on the -- on the web already there is both request for proposal. there is the work plan. there is the task order. all of those issues are -- have been posted. i do not know whether there is additional communication that we can be -- we can provide. >> i would really like to see the health and safety plan. >> yes. >> and be able to understand in more detail the involvement of epa in that. >> we're happy to point that out to you, senator. >> i think there was -- i hear -- i hear a lot of confusion on the plan and just how important it could have been
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and in this spill that we're dealing with here. i would like to question you, i have a few seconds left here, about notifications -- >> yes. >> -- to the jurisdictions within the state of colorado. it's my understanding that, in fact, the epa did not notify irrigation districts and they did not know about this until the yellow plume reached those irrigation waters. have you been made aware of any information concerning that? >> well, i am aware, senator, that the way in which we develop contingency plans is for us to very much rely on the state to know where those diversions are and to be able to work with us to appropriately identify and notify all of the key stakeholders here. so, i do not know of anything in particular, but i'm happy to follow-up if you have names of -- >> i guess would you say the epa
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has followed all the notice requirements of section 103 of the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability act as well as section 304 of the emergency planning and community right to know act? because there is i guess some discrepancy out there on if the epa really did follow the requirements that you are supposed to do. >> i'm happy to get back to you on it. obviously i don't have those at my fingertips, but i think we very much have said that the notification could have been better. one of the things we identified that were followed up is that we have to continually update these lists. as does the state working hand in hand with us, because clearly we don't want epa wanting to know the business of every river and stream. but we need to make sure that we constantly do that as well as test to make sure that we've done it right. so, we will get to those issues,
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and we're not suggesting that there isn't room for improvement here. >> if you could get back to me in a timely manner, i'd appreciate it. i always thank you for offering to get back, but sometimes it's months and months and months, so if you could try to get me some information -- why don't we see by thanksgiving that would be helpful. >> i think we'll try to do better than that, but thank you, senator. >> i would appreciate that, thank you, administrator. >> thank you, senator fisher. and thank you, madam administrator, we are adjourned. >> thank you, senator. coming up tonight on "american history tv" prime time, civil war historians discuss andersonville. we visited the camp sumter military prison at andersonville, georgia, 45,000 soldiers had been imprisoned there and nearly 13,000 died. you can see that tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. and tonight at 9:30 eastern on
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c-span georgetown professor laura donahue on privacy laws and modern surveillance programs. she talks about nsa efforts to collect online pictures and materials and other materials from people not accused of any wrongdoing. here's a portion of what you'll see tonight -- >> webcam images and chat sessions also appear to be collected under executive order 12333. gchq is one of our big contributors in the united kingdom the files reference a program called optic nerve in which yahoo! webcam chats were collected in bulk regardless of whether the individual user was a foreign intelligence target. during one six-month period gchq with the help of the nsa collected visual data from 1.8 million yahoo! users. turns out that nudity is a real problem in these. they're trying to figure out how to keep their agents from looking at all the nude
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photographs that are sent, but they're finding it hard to filter out for the nude pictures. text messages are similarly not immune. under executive order 12333 the nsa collected almost 200 million text messages per day globally using them to ascertain travel plans and social networks and credit card details. let me be clear, this information is being collected on individuals who are not themselves suspected of any illegal activity. >> georgetown professor laura donahue gave the keynote address at a national security conference hosted by westminster college and it's in fulton, missouri. you can see her entire speech tonight starting at 9:30 eastern on our companion network c-span. this monday on c-span's new series "landmark cases" in 1930 the mississippi river had become
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a breeding ground for yellow fever partly due to slaughterhouses in the area dumping their by-products into the river. to address this problem louisiana allowed only one government-run slaughterhouse to operate in the city district and the other houses took them to court. follow the slaughterhouse cases of 1873. we're joined by paul clement former solicitor general and constitutional law attorney and michael ross author of the book "justice of shattered dreams" to help tell the history of this time period in the south, the personal stories of the butchers and the state of things in new orleans as well as the attorneys and supreme court justices involved in this close decision and be sure to join the conversation as we take your calls, tweets, and facebook comments during the program using the #landmarkcases, live monday on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. and for background on each case while you watch order your copy of the landmark cases companion book. it's available for $8.95 plus shipping at
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cspan.org/landmarkcases. the head of volkswagen michael horn was on capitol hill testifying before a house committee recently about allegations of air quality standards cheating. the german automaker's accused of purposefully deceiving emissions tests for some of its diesel powered vehicles. environmental protection agency officials also testified. this hearing is about an hour. >> the subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade will now come to order. the chair will recognize himself five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. and i do want to welcome everyone to our hearing this morning on the draft companion legislation to the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act and the discussion draft of the improving recall tracking act. in 2014 there were over 63 million vehicles recalled in the united states due to safety concerns. this represents the highest number of vehicle recalls in
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more than three decades. under current law vehicle manufacturers are required to report defects and noncompliance to the national highway traffic safety administration. the chairman of the full committee mr. upton has seen to it with good work he did on the trade act but there have been times when the reporting has been slow. the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act is intended to foster greater attention and greater responsiveness to vehicle safety defects. it does so by providing an incentive to automotive employees and to contractors who report potential safety violations to the united states department of transportation that otherwise would be concealed or unreported. the bill encourages employees to report safety problems within their companies first to allow the automaker the opportunity to address safety issues. this is an important point because it keeps the incentive to work within the system.
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the bill is meant to enhance current early reporting systems that have already been instituted by congress. furthermore, the bill is designed with the express purpose of exposing and stopping instances of wrongdoing and protecting the safe and well-being of the public. in addition to the motor safety whistle-blower act we have an opportunity to examine the discussion draft of the improving recall tracking act. this proposal would direct the department of transportation to establish a national database of vehicle identification numbers and driver registration information. it is intended to facilitate the consumer notification process in the event of a safety recall. in light of recent recalls, it has become apparent that one of the main challenges of removing detective vehicles from the road is making certain that the right consumers are notified of the defect in a timely manner. this hearing will give us an
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opportunity to discuss how a national database housing current driver registration information and current vehicle identification numbers could help improve the consumer recall notification process beyond that which is in place today. we will also hear how the industry is currently responding to these challenges so we can factor in improvements of the system. vehicle safety is a serious issue. it continues to be a concern for this subcommittee and for the driving public. in past hearings on this subject i have said that americans deserve better. americans deserve more. the legislative proposal we will consider today are a step in the right direction towards providing the driving public with confidence that the vehicles that they are driving are safe and that the recall process works. in anticipation i thank the witnesses for their testimonies, and i look forward to an engaging discussion on these measures.
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with that the chair yields back and recognizing the ranking member for five minutes for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's so nice to meet on a quiet day where there's no real news to be talking about except for this. but even in connection with this, i did want to mention that i think this committee can also be focusing on very big issues and big news. and i look forward, i hope, to focusing on volkswagen and their fraudulent emissions testing cheating that was revealed earlier this month. as you pointed out that the law already does require auto manufacturers to report defects, and here we have a situation of deliberately building in a defect and we need to talk about that.
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i also think that i have a piece of legislation, the vehicle safety improvement act, which i think would actually do the real deal in terms of making sure that we deal with auto safety. i want to -- i want to recognize and welcome a friend of mine will wallace and a friend of this committee who's testifying today on behalf of consumers union. he is an outstanding former staffer of this subcommittee and i know will bring important insight to this issue. with more than 95 million american vehicles subject to safety recall over the past two years, we obviously have to improve the oversight of the auto industry and the efficacy and timeliness of recalls. i believe, unfortunately, that these bills miss the mark. while i support efforts to enhance the communication between auto companies and drivers whose cars are subject to recall, i don't believe that
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the vehicle identification number vin database discussion draft would achieve this goal. manufacturers are already able to access the names and addresses of drivers whose vehicles are subject to a recall. the difference in the discussion draft is that those records would be free of charge to the auto companies, and yet the bill would impose significant costs on nhtsa and the states with no funding provided to implement the new database. the illinois secretary of state's office has communicated to us that he has serious concerns about the lack of financial support. the second bill is intended to encourage auto industry whistle-blowers. and while i appreciate the inclusion of language allowing whistle-blowers to receive compensation and anonymity for coming forward, i have concerns about the bill's stipulations. mr. chairman, you said that it's
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good that the whistle-blower has to report their concerns directly to the company first internally. and while one could make an argument that this might speed things up, i also really worry that the revisions would discourage whistle-blowers from acting and put them at professional risk for doing so which really has been the history of whistle-blowers. they have not done well vis-a-vis the companies that they work for. there is a broader and more impactful legislative alternative to improve auto safety as i said. my vehicle safety improvement act, which is co-sponsored by ranking member pallone and nine other members of this committee is the alternative. it increases the amount and accessibility of information auto manufacturers must share with nhtsa and the public and the public about vehicle safety issues and provides new authority to expedite auto recalls if they pose an imminent
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hazard of serious injury or death. so, that's what i am hoping that we're going to be able to do rather than i believe these bills which kind of nibble around the margins. i'm not just disappointed, i am actually frustrated. and i, again, urge the subcommittee to take up the and i look forward to a discussion about what volkswagen has been doing, and i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentle lady. the gentle lady yields back. does anyone on the republican side seek an opening statement? seeing none, any further members on the democratic side that seek time for an opening statement? seeing none. well, again, we want to thank
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our witnesses for being here today and for being willing to take time to give testimony before the subcommittee. our witness panel for today's hearing includes mr. john bazella the president and ceo for the alliance of global automakers. mr. joe lafear senior vice president at ihs automotive, mr. cleveland lawrnle iii the co-director of taxpayers against fraud, mr. william wallace, the policy analyst at the consumers union, mr. shane carr, vice president for federal affairs at the alliance of automotive manufacturers. we do appreciate all of you being here today. we will begin the panel with mr. bazella. he'll be recognized, each for five minutes, to summarize your testimony. you are recognized for five minutes, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, rankirank ing member, and members. i'm john bazella the ceo and president of the association of
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global automakers. the very troubling facts that have come to light involving volkswagen will likely have significant implications to the industry and i look forward to working with the subcommittee and discussing these issues as we move on. i've been asked for our perspective on two bills the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act and the tracking act. in 2012 congress included strong whistle-blower provisions. we agree that whistle-blower protection is a valuable tool for ensuring that safety concerns will be promptly identified, investigated and remedied. the bill before the subcommittee builds on this law. whistle-blower protections have been incorporated into the safety practices of our members because they recognize that the manufacturer and its employees are the first line of defense in identifying and remedying safety concerns. our member companies have instituted internal controls that empower employees to communicate with their employer about any problem they observe that could impair product
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quality or safety. for example, manufacturers train their employees specifically on product defect and safety issues and have dedicated safety officers who are responsible for following up on concerns raised by employees. in addition, manufacturers have established hotlines that empower employees to communicate potential problems. such systems allow the company to take appropriate remedial steps in many cases before the affected vehicles leave the factory. but no system is foolproof. we recognize that whistle-blower statutes play an important role in improving motor vehicle safety. the implementing regulations should give companies every reason and incentive to be informed of the problems promptly so that they can investigate the issues and make any repairs that are needed. while it is important for whistle-blowers to be able to report safety issues directly to nhtsa, the process should ensure that employees are not incent vized to shortcut or circumvent
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internal systems that would result in quicker problem resolution. our shared goal is to address defects, find remedies and take as possible. this is why the manufacturer needs to be a critical part of the process from the beginning. the second bill before the subcommittee would establish a national vin database using registration data collected by state dmv offices. we agree dmvs could help improve recall completion rates. this bill would allow manufacturers access to the most up to date information from dmvs which they could use to more effectively communicate recall notices to vehicle owners. in addition, dmvs could be encouraged to notify everyone who registers a motor vehicle about the recall status of their vehicle. this bill also directs nhtsa to enable batch searching and processing of vins on its safercar.gov website. we are aware that the current
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nhtsa system has limitations but it's our understanding that some venders have developed tools that enable batch processing. increasing recall completion rates is a priority for global automakers. that's why we are conducting research along with the auto alliance to help understand what drives consumers to respond to recall campaigns. we look forward to briefing the subcommittee on the research findings soon. thank you, again, for the opportunity to appear before you here today and i would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes mr. lafear to sum rise your testimony. >> thank you for allowing me to testify. i'm senior vice president information systems and solutions for ihs where i lead the company's automotive data solutions which includes recall
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processing. we reach back to the advent of the automobile, since then ihs has worked with nearly all manufacturers to facilitate the recall process. ihs remains an industry leader in vehicle processing and provides a service to most manufacturers today. the draft improving recall tracking act proposes to establish a national vin database and driver information to aid in recall notification. in addition, the bill requires back searching of the current saf safercar.gov. we're here today to express our opposition to the proposed new database. with any good idea the private sector has already developed a highly effective and robust solution so the legislation simply directs the federal government to attempt to replicate what already exists. if enacted, the legislation will limit innovation and use
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taxpayer funds to create a federally-run database that would be less efficient and likely less capable than current market solutions. today the private sector's real time data processing is accomplished using best in class system technologies, using processes developed over decades companies like ihs process billions of records each year from tens of thousands of sources and thousands of file formats. companies like ihs also employ thousands of people, many of whom are devoted to data processing to support recall. ihs acquires standardizes, assembles data to create mailing lists to provide notice to affected consumers. we assist with the fulfillment of recall notices, measurement of campaigns through their completion. we provide real-time reporting to our oem customers. further, following completion of recall notice mailings, we gather open recall information
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and provide that to the public through our subsidiary fcarfax. this bill would require registration information to be gathered from each state. automotive data companies use registration is just one data point in many proprietary sources to determine the best possible address to contact the owner of a recalled vehicle. as proposed, this database would not provide the same level of data that we can provide today in the private sector. using private sector data solutions we can identify and provide addresses for the vast majority of car owners. while there are many exceptions -- there's few exceptions, recall notification return mail rates typically range in the single digits and the private sector continues to innovate further to reduce these numbers. given the private sector's
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success in providing notice, perhaps the focus should be placed on addressing why some notified consumers get their cars remedied and others do not. in conclusion, the legislation while well inten ded does not create a better solution than exists today. this bill would direct nhtsa to attempt to duplicate a product and service that the market using private capital has created decades ago. the private sector continues to innovate going well beyond the requirements of this legislation. i appreciate the invitation to testify and look forward to your comments. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes mr. lawrence for a summary of his testimony. >> good morning. thank you for inviting me to testify at today's hearing on the proposed motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act. my comments will be restricted to that bill only.
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my name is cleveland lawrence iii i'm co-executive organization taxpayers against fraud, it's a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to combatting fraud against taxpayer dollars through the promotion and protection of false claims act laws which allow whistle-blowers with evidence of fraud against government entities to file suit on behalf of the government in exchange of financial rewards at least 15 and up to 30% of the government's recovery if their suits are successful. my organizations also support the goals of the irs, s.e.c. whistle-blower provisions which offer monetary rewards to whistle-blowers in exchange for original information about significant tax, securities and commodities fraud. i first joined in 2008 and became co-executive director in 2013. i'm an attorney by jatraining a spent the first six years at
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weil, gotshall and manges. i can say without reservation that the federal false claims act is the model stoot tut for any effective whistle-blower law or program. since that law was overhauled the false claims act has returned more than $40 billion to the u.s. treasury. this result is in large part due to the significant role whistle-blowers have played in exposing fraud. false claims cases have recovered $5.69 billion for the federal government just last fiscal year alone with near ly 3 billion of that total resulting from lawsuits filed by whistle-blowers. the success of the false claims act over a near 30-year period should not and has not been ignored. more than half the states have false claims act statutes now and at the government's urging most mimic the federal statute. similarly the irs, s.e.c., and cfct now have provisions that
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reward whistle blowers all of which are modelled on the false claims act. while i applaud and fully endorse the efforts to enact whistle-blower lettin whistle-blower legislation, i cannot support the proposed act in its current form as it is suffers from many of the deficiencies that have already been corrected under the false claims act. i'll discuss two of the primary weaknesses of the bill either of which is enough to significantly derail the program. first, the bill lacks guaranteed minimum rewards and gives the secretary of transportation unfettered discretion over the amount of an award up to a maximum to give to whistle-blowers whose information resulted in monetary sanctions recovered by the government from an automobile manufacturer or parts supplier or dealership. including the option to award no award at all. decades of experience make clear that any whistle-blower program will inevitably fail unless it guarantees minimum rewards to
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those who risk their careers to come forward. before the false claims act was overhauled in 1986 it did not guarantee minimum rewards either and the program did not effectively remedy fraud, bringing in own about -- pardon me. only about $54 million in the year before it was amended. but since then we've seen the outstanding success of the statute bringing in billions of dollars each year in the recent years. whistle-blowers are simply unable to risk their livelihood without the assurance of some compensation for doing -- for doing so in reporting fraud or misconduct by their companies to the government. the s.e.c. and cftc similarly have guaranteed minimum rewards to whistle-blowers for their information as has the irs. the concept of incentivize integrity works but a whistle-blower program that doesn't offer rewards can deliver little more than an
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illusory promise. i can think of no other effective law enforcement paradigm that requires that the target of the investigation is notified before the government could investigate. in my experience whistle-blowers often prefer to report internally but since not all internal compliance programs are equal, they have to make the choice about whether or not reporting internally to the company will target them for retaliation. in addition by requiring a whistle-blower to report internally, the government effectively cuts off access to continued information about the misconduct within the company giving the company an opportunity to coach further witnesses, destroy evidence or otherwise thwart what could be an effective secret government internal investigation. i urge the committee to correct these two issues because without these corrections the program is doomed to failure. i'm happy to anxious your questionanswer your questions. >> mr. wallace, you're recognized for five minutes for your testimony. thank you.
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>> good morning, chairman burgess, ranking member schakowsky and members of the committee. do you mind if i yours yours? thanks. i'm will wallace, a policy analyst for consumers union the advocacy arm of "consumer reports." we're an independent nonprofit organization that works with consumers and for consumers for a fair, just and safe marketplace and to empower consumers to protect themselves. consumers union and "consumer reports" have fought for decades to make considers safer and hold companies accountable for the products they sell. we've pushed for effective rules and laws and for safety features such as seat belts and air bags and electronic stability control. our auto test center works every day to evaluate safety technologies and we communicate with millions of consumers to help them make informed choices and stay safe. we appreciate the opportunity to testify. today's hearing is timely given the news lately about auto safety and corporate
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wrongdoi wrongdoing -- linked to at least 174 deaths was very disappointing because it didn't go nearly far enough to hold auto companies accountable for hiding the truth. right on its heels came the news that volkswagen had cheated on emissions control testing for some 11 million diesel vehicles and covered it up. these news items are sending shock waves through the industry, our government, and the public. the resulting erosion of confidence can't be overstated and lawmakers need to take action to address this corporate accountability crisis. the discussion draft and bill before you today attempt to address pieces of the problem. one, the improving recall tracking act aims to tackle low recall completion rates while the other the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act seeks to root out concealed defects. while we are pleased that the subcommittee is pursuing these worthy goals consumers union believes two proposals fall far short both in terms of meeting their objectives and to improve
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the flawed system to assure that safety defects are identified and repaired before people get hurt. the gm fiasco along with crises involving other products made clear that auto companies must do far more to ensure their vehicles are safe and nhtsa must do far more to hold auto companies accountable. yet the drafts before the subcommittee today are strikingly limited in their ambition. the improving recall tracking act could possibly help companies reach owners of older vehicles in case of a recall if it were fully funded. but the bill doesn't authorize that funding despite requiring nhtsa and the states to carry out a substantial amount of new work. nhtsa in particular needs to be able to hire more staff to protect the public the way we all expect. not have them stretched more than they already are. similarly, the whistle-blower act could incentivize auto
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manufacturers, if a gm engineer had reported the flawed ignition switch to nhtsa in 2006 or 2007. however, we are concerned the bill may not be as effective as it could be primarily because of the lack of an established minimum award that at least covers the loss of earnings a whistle-blower could face by sacrificing his or her career. more broadly, though, these discussion drafts -- the discussion draft and bill today don't do nearly enough for consumer safety. instead we urge you to take up bolder legislation such as hr-1181 the vehicle safety improvement act. that bill would address shortfalls in current law such as nhtsa's inadequate civil penalties authority and the loophole that allows dealers to sell recall used vehicles before they are repaired. in addition consumers union wants a criminal penalty provision. the bill would strengthen nhtsa by authorizing the additional funding it badly needs giving it imminent hazard authority like
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cpsc and fda has and making sure it receives more detailed information from manufacturers through early warning reporting. the bill would empower consumers by giving them free access to more safety information and by making nhtsa's existing databases which can be clumsy, confusing and hard for an ordinary consumer to use more time lie and more readily searchable. the vehicle safety improvement act would create an auto safety system that is proactive, identifying defects before they reach epidemic proportions and we urge members to advance it. we also urge members to create a strong safety title for a possible highway bill. in addition to requiring that rental car companies fix recalled vehicles before they offer them to consumers as the senate transportation bill does, such a safety title should include the needed reforms just outlined. thank you. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. mr. carr, you're recognized for five minutes for your testimony, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member schakowsky,
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ranking member pallone. i appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the alinin alliance of automobile manufacturers today. i know our time is limited and my complete statement is submitted for the record so i will limit my remarks here and try to focus on the big picture. you've asked me to testify about these two -- the discussion draft and a bill today. let's talk first about the improving recall tracking act. auto manufacturers are committed to keeping their products safe. and when a safety defect is identified, we want to undertake a recall and we want all of the recalled vehicles to be repaired. there are two challenges -- at least two challenges to completing repairs on recalled vehicles. one, of course, is consumer motivation, right? and in this country consumers
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make the choice whether or not to get their vehicles repaired. we want them all to get their vehicles repaired. we urge them to get their vehicles repaired. you all have done that from the dais over the course of the last couple of years but at the end of the day consumers make that choice. in an effort to sort of understand why people wouldn't get their vehicles repaired, my ceo when he was testifying in front of the committee earlier this summer noted that we were undertaking the first of its kind, comprehensive study in to consumer motivations. and global automakers in the national automobile dealers ended up joining us and we've been working together. and as mr. bazella stated we're close to wrapping that up and look forward to briefing you all. we've actually been in touch about setting up a briefing for you all next month. but putting consumer motivation aside, we know and you all saw over the last year or two that
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reaching all consumers in the first place is a significant challenge. it just is. one of the great things about the u.s. is we are a highly mobile economy. people move at the rate of about 17% a year. nhtsa in analyzing vehicle completion -- recall completion rates has said that for those new vehicles in the sort of zero to 4-year-old time frame, about 83% of those get repaired. it's a very high percentage. but as soon as you, you know, start tracking further out, the completion rate numbers fall off dramatically, right? five to ten years, 44% completion rate. over ten years, 15% completion rate. at least part of the explanation for that is the challenge associated with actually reaching subsequent owners of vehicles. mr. lafear's testimony is terrific. my company's i think -- i think
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all of them probably use his service to contact consumers. but in reading his testimony, you know, they -- they admit that part of the problem is there is not uniformity amongst the states in the records they keep with regard to registrat n registration, how quickly those are updated. i mean, that's part of the reason why his company is so effective and why my companies use it is because they reach all these different data points, right, beyond registrations so that we can notify consumers. the draft, right, not only requires this information to be submitted into a national vin database that would be accessible for recall purposes, but it effectively standardizes the information that would be collected and the timetables, right? so, it would, in fact, ensure that when we go to undertake a
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recall, we have a comprehensive set of timely contact information to work from and try to reach these older -- owners of older vehicles who are still required to register those vehicles in the states. i think, you know -- there -- my testimony notes some other kind of technical issues with the bill, but i think from the big picture stand point, you know, that is the issue that we're focused on. and it's worthy of further consideration. with regard to the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act, i would say just very briefly, you know, that bill was introduced in the senate last fall. the alliance immediately reached out to staff on both sides of the aisle and members. that bill had very strong bipartisan support. we expressed our concerns and worked through them. i never heard frankly in that
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time the issues that are being raised here today. that bill obviously -- myself open for questions. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. it occurs to the chair that i omitted to announce to the subcommittee that members pursuant to committee rules all members' opening statements will be made part of the record. and then i do want to thank all of you for your testimony this morning. and sharing your observations with us. we will move into the question portion of the hearing. i'll start by recognizing myself for five minutes. and, mr. carr, let me come back to you. you mentioned in your testimony that the auto alliance joined by the global automakers and the national automobile dealers association announced that it
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was conducting the study on what motivates consumers to have their recalled vehicles remedied. and you mentioned that you were going to be having a briefing in the near future. can you pull back the curtain just a little bit and share with the subcommittee some of the things, the insights, you may have gained what motivates a consumer to have a defect remedied? >> rats. i would like to be able to do that, but i -- i just saw the preliminaries myself. and, you know, off the tax, you know, i wouldn't want to mischaracterize anything off the top of my head. we will -- we will schedule a full briefing and get the folks who actually conducted the survey here as well so you all have the opportunity to ask them questions as well. i guess one thing that is relevant to this hearing that we learned is that the vast majority of people who knew that they had had a vehicle recalled
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within the past two years, the vast majority of those people knew because they were contacted by the manufacturer. even more than we expected. given all the news media and social media and everything else, the vast majority of people. >> let me ask you a question about that. if you can -- if you're at liberty to answer. so, they'd already been contacted. had they done the followthrough to actually schedule an appointment or had their vehicle defect remedied at that point? >> we talked to -- we talked -- and, remember, part of the reason for doing this survey was to find out why people -- really why people who didn't get their vehicles repaired, you know, what their mot -- why they didn't -- why that didn't happen. so, we talked to a lot of people who had gotten their vehicles repaired. we talked to a fair number of people who intended to get their vehicles repaired in short order, and interestingly, there was a group of people who said,
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you know, i know my vehicle's under recall, but i tonight intei don't intend to get it repaired. that was a small minority of the folks that we talked to, but, yeah, we talked to all of those people. >> well, you know, this is, of course, with other hearings in to the air bag issue, this is one of the things that has really concerned the subcompletety, how to get the word out to people to get their vehicles repaired. a very dangerous situation that may exist in some vehicles. apparently the older the vehicle, the greater the risk. and the real problem of once you're on the third or fourth owner of a vehicle becomes very difficult to track them down. and then as you point out the compliance rate may be lower. you would think with a severe safety defect, something that could blow up in your face, your family's face, that you would want it fixed. and it is -- it is a little concerning that we haven't been able to do better with that.
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i'm going to assume, and correct me if i'm wrong, the manufacturers themselves, we can legislate all we want up here, but is there anyplace for the manufacturer placing an incentive out there before the consumer public? hey, we'd like to see your vehicle in here, and we'll make it worth your while to do so, half price on an oil change or vacuum the floor mats? i mean, is there -- are there incentive programs that are being looked at? >> yeah, i think that there are actually even examples of incentive programs that have been undertaken by a couple of my members surrounding the recent recalls. so, absolutely i think that that is -- that that is something to look at, you know, interestingly enough for a lot of consumers, you know, they apparently have concerns that if they bring their vehicle in to be recalled that they'll be upsold on other
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things so, you know, part of this, you know, may be assuaging those concerns going forward. there are a lot of different reasons and, you know, it will be interesting, i think you all will find it interesting, to unpack why people do or don't do what they do. >> well, we anxiously look forward to those briefings and perhaps have an opportunity to have you back and discuss those. you mentioned in your testimony that the manufacturers are committed to keeping their products safe, you believe that, right? >> absolutely. >> mr. bazella, i spent my productive years in the health care industry and we talked about something the health industry called continuous quality improvement. i mean, that's -- you all do that in the manufacturing process, is that just a matter of course? >> yes, it is. >> and it just seems like it would fit in a culture of continuous quality improvement that, yeah, you want -- if someone sees something that's not right, you would want them to bring it forward. i mean, i can't imagine a
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culture where an employee would say, hey, this is going to be a real problem, if i just hang on to this for a while it might be a very valuable lawsuit for me in the future. nobody wants that kind of vor , environment, do they? >> no, you're exactly right. the key is to not only to create the environment but to continue to enhance and development it through more training, hotlines both internal and third-party hotlines, the kinds of things i think you're seeing and hearing what member companies are doing. i think it's critical. >> great. thank you. my time has expired. the chair will rank ms. schakowsky for five minutes for your questions, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. carr, with all due respect, if ford or gm said to their stockholders, do you know what, consumer motivation just isn't there. this is a free country and people are free not to buy our cars. i'm having to assume that in marketing automobiles which you
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can hardly turn on the television, it's either a drug ad or it's a car ad, that consumer motivation is deeply researched and figure out and a lot of money is spent to do that. so, don't you think that if the manufacturers were really serious about getting unsafe cars off the road -- i mean, i look forward to your research, but this idea that, you know, consumers, they just don't really want to do it. really? they want to drive unsafe cars? >> so -- so, you know, i absolutely agree with you that we need to -- and i think my companies are very clearly demonstrating -- and actually one of my comments, i should say, in the testimony to the draft bill is actually that the way the draft bill is written, it actually only would allow us access to that database for the
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owner notification letters that are required under title 49. and my guys are doing kind of creative and innovative things to reach out and motivate consumers. and so we would like you all to consider allowing us to use contact information to -- for these more creative means. but having said that, i do just want to say that the -- the owner notification letters, right, they're -- nhtsa fairly strictly lays out for us what we can say. >> i get it and i get them. and there has to be a better way, and i wanted to ask mr. lafear, one of the things -- fear. one of the things that we know is that nearly 20% of recalled cars are never repaired, recall completion 44% for vehicles five to ten years old, 15% for vehicles over 10 years old and, in fact, the average age of cars
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on the road is 11.4 years. so, what can we do? i know you have this private sector database, which in my testimony i said i thought we -- it's sort of unusual for me. i'm saying let's not have a government solution. let's have a private sector solution. sort of reversal here. anyway, so how do we get to these older car drivers -- the drivers of older cars? >> i think we have good tools to get the contact and to get the notification out. i think the motivation changes as the vehicles get older. i think data and data analytics are advancing to the point where we can probably put more energy into understanding are there particular groups that are behaving differently than others and that may be an area to focus on. >> okay. mr. lawrence, just speculation, but it seems to me since
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volkswagen quite deliberately built into their cars this fraudulent emissions switch or whatever they call it, do you think that if a whistle-blower internally had said, oh, you know, this is really bad and you've got to fix it, that that would have done the trick? >> certainly not. in our experience most whistle-blowers actually do report the misconduct of their company up the chain of command. and generally speaking only contact the government after they've suffered the retaliation from the company for bringing their concerns to management. the irs -- or, sorry, the false claims act takes the exact opposite approach and does not require whistle-blowers to bring their information directly to the fraud feasors. instead it requires whistle-blowers actually to submit their information under seal and only provide it to the government so as not to tip off the target that the government might be investigating potential
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wrongdoing or fraud. >> so, it's possible that this requirement could actually make cars more dangerous in the sense that it would require this internal communication? >> it certainly adds another step to the process of getting the information to the appropriate government officials and that delay could certainly result in a more dangerous environment. >> one quickie for mr. wallace. the limit on violations and civil penalties for violations, it seems $35 million for gm was too little. what do you think we should do? >> 1well, i think we desperatel need to raise those in order to provide an effective deterrent against corporate wrongdoing. especially because we just have to make sure that this is not the cost of doing business. these penalties cannot be considered merely the cost of doing business. it must be a real deterrent. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back
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and i recognize the ranking member of the full committee mr. pallone, five minutes for questions, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. while this is while this is a hearing on legislative initiatives relating to safety, our committee has direct oversight responsibility regarding both clean air and deceptive practices and i would be remiss if i didn't bring up the following issue. last week the epa issued a notice of clean air act violations to volkswagen and related companies stating that volkswagen had installed defeat devices in certain cars that, quote, buy passed or rendered inoperable the control system. volkswagen has not denied the assertion. volkswagen admitted it designed and installed these devices in the vehicles. in my opinion, they deliberately set out to perpetrate this kind
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of scam on consumers and it's mind boggling. on the one hand we have consumers who trusted that volkswagen played by the rules and that purchased cars had the attributes the company said they had. dare to learn the truth about clean diesel is their advertisement. the reality is that the diesel isn't clean. nearly half a million u.s. consumers and millions around the world have been lured by the idea of more efficient, less polluting fossil fueled vehicle that now looks to be neither and those people saddled with vehicles that if repaired and i'm not sure that's the right word probably won't meet the fuel economy standards these consumers thought they were paying for and the cars themselves have probably lost a tremendous amount of resale value. you have volkswagen casting doubt on the industry as a whole. the company has harmed the entire industry. to that end, epa released a
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letter sent to vehicle manufacturers notifying them that the agency is adding new evaluations designed to find potential defeat devices. mr. ba zell la, and mr. carr, what do you say to the american consumer and how do we ensure that they're compensated not just for the economic costs but for the fraud that appears to have been perpetrated on them. >> ranking member pallone, thank you very much. as i mentioned in a testimony, the very troubling facts that have come to light having volkswagen will likely have significant implications for the industry. i look forward to working with you and the committee in discussing these issues as we go forward. >> mr. carr, can you respond? >> unfortunately i don't have anymore insight into the facts than have been publicly recorded. i think this is a very
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unfortunate situation. volkswagen is a company that has shown its commitment to the american market, including producing vehicles in the united states, but this is -- these allegations are not good and it will clearly have ramifications going forward. >> thank you. mr. wallace, representing the consumers policy reports, would you care to comment? >> this is a very serious, calculated violation of the law. we at consumer reports, we pulled our recommendations of the diesel versions of the passat and the vet ta and our ceo recently called for the company and the government response to this betrayal to be significant enough to right the wrongs that have occurred and to bring true justice to the consumer. this is that egregious. >> it appears to be totally intentional, that's the point. >> exactly. >> that's the most important point. i don't know what you say to people at consumer reports who
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are duped into recommending some of these cars to the public and how you convince all of us and our constituents that volkswagen is an anomaly and we can afford to trust the industry at all. mr. wallace, did you want to comment? the concern is this isn't just one car manufacturer. it could be others. >> i know that we have a team of committed engineers and technicians up at our test track, and i can tell you that as an organization, consumer reports will absolutely put pressure on the manufacturer to make sure that it makes things right. >> all right, thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. the chair would note to the gentleman that his concerns are not -- they're actually shared by both sides of the dice on the subcommittee as to where the appropriateness of this
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investigation is and it's a work in progress. mr. butterfield, you're recognized for five minutes for questions. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i apologize for being in and out of the room but the developments this morning regarding the speaker's impending resignation has caused a lot of telephone traffic in my office so i've been back and forth. one of the laudable goals of legislation is to enable manufacturers to reach mo more owners of recalled vehicles so more vehicles will get repaired. i want to focus on the rental car safety bill that i introduced, hr-2198. legislation passed in senate with bipartisan support as part of the highway bill. the legislation will help maximize the number of recall cars that get fixed. that bill is the rachel and jacqueline safe rental car act supported by the rental car
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industry, consumer organizations, general motors and honda. that's very impressive. it would ensure that rental car companies mix recalled vehicles in their fleets before renting or selling them. to you, mr. wallace, what is the consumer union's position on 2198 if you have one? >> we strongly support the bill. we think it's time that it passes in congress and closes this safety gap that exists. we would also note that it has very, very broad support, and it's only now that it's just up to congress to get it through. >> would i be correct to say that this legislation is critical and important? >> yes. >> to you, mr. carr, does your organization support 2198? >> the alliance does not support the bill as introduced. we have had numerous conversations with staff primarily on the senate side where the counter part originated and proposed a number
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of possible changes to address our concerns and we would be happy to meet with you all and your staff. >> can you quantify this for me? what percentage of recalled vehicles are subject to a do not drive warning? >> subject to an actual do not drive, it's a small percentage, under 10%. >> that's what we've been informed. are there any federal safety standards that dictate when you must issue the do not drive warning? >> there are not. however, manufacturers -- when they issue a recall, before they do that, that has to be basically approved. we submit the language and the proposal for the recall and they review it and approve it before it goes out. >> thank you. i'm standing between my colleagues and votes on the floor. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous
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scent that two letters be submitted for the record. one from lkq corporation and the other from the american rental car association and others. >> no objection. so ordered. >> these guys get real nervous sometimes. also, miss schakowsky asked me to submit another letter. i ask for consent. >> so ordered. >> i yield back. >> the chair wants to thank the panel for being here this morning and for your time and the expert testimony that you have provided to us. seeing no further members wishing to ask questions, i would like to take a moment to recognize the contributions of our clerk, kirby howard, who, after many years of service to the subcommittee on the staff,
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is leaving for new career opportunities. we obviously wish him well in his future endeavors. [ applause ] also before we conclude, i wanted to include the following document to be submitted for the record by unanimous consent. a letter on approving the recall tracting act. pursuant to committee rules i remind members they have ten business days to submit additional questions. i ask the witnesses to submit their responses to these questions within ten business days upon receipt of the question. without objection this subcommittee are adjourned. coming up tonight on american history tv primetime, civil war historians discuss anderson bill. they lifted the military prison at andersonville, georgia. 45,000 soldiers were imprisoned
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there and nearly 13,000 died. that's at 8:00 eastern. at 9:30 eastern, georgetown professor laura donohue on privacy laws and modern surveillance programs. she talks about nsa efforts to collect online pictures, video and other materials from people who have not been accused of committing any wrongdoing. here's a portion of what you'll see tonight. >> webcam images and chat sessions also appear to be collected under executive order 12333. gchq is one of our big partners, from 2008 to 2010 they referenced a program called optic nerve in which yahoo webcam chats were collected in bulk regardless of whether the user was a foreign intelligence target. during one six month period they collected visual data from 1.8 millio

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