Skip to main content

tv   EPA Administrator Testifies Before Energy Commerce Subcommittee  CSPAN  December 7, 2017 3:09pm-4:37pm EST

3:09 pm
participation. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. and this hearing is adjourned. [ banging gavel ] noej getting testimony from fbi director, christopher wray at the witness stand since 10:00 a.m. this morning when the hearing began. if you missed any of the questioning, we'll have this in our video library. taking you live now to a house energy and commerce subcommittee hearing. and their hearing has been under way about the past 30, 40 minutes or so.
3:10 pm
epa administrator, scott pruitt, testifying on his priorities at the epa, and you're watching live coverage here on c-span3. >> these issues we want to do all we can to eliminate those things so we don't have those kind of sites across the country, absolutely. >> well, and you're -- your rush to eliminate regulations, that's exactly what you're doing, is creating opportunity for new superfund sites to be created. >> i wouldn't interpret it that way, congressman. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair will recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. hudson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. administrator, for making the extra effort to come back and take all of our questions. and thank you for your strong leadership at the agency. i appreciate also that your efforts to make the epa focus on air and water and soil contamination. my state of north carolina has been shaken by a discovery of a
3:11 pm
chemical called generation x. i know my state reports that gen x is no longer getting into the river and treated drinking water is within state health goals. the previous epa administrator had conditions in 2009. can you say whether epa has discovered if gen x was used in an impermissible fashion? >> i'm not aware, congressman. we can provide that information to you. i don't have any information on that today th, but we can get t to you. >> i appreciate it. i understand the epa is updating its risk assessment and performing independent analysis for water samples being collected now by the north carolina deq, along the cape fear river, including wastewater, surface water, ground water and treated drinking water samples. are there any findings you can discuss on that? >> again on that, i would have to get the information from the office and provide that to you to make sure that it's complete and comprehensive and up to date. >> great. i appreciate that. one issue that's a real concern to folks in my part of north
3:12 pm
carolina, whether it's agriculture or just property owners in general is the usa regulation. i've heard your critics say you've done the same thing as your predecessor in that you've decided the outcome of the rule or casting about for justifications. sort of the claim we keep hearing. i would love to give you a chance to respond to that. >> well, i think oftentimes, with respect to issues like cpd, it's not deregulation. the rule that was adopted in 2015, the stated objective was to provide clarity. that was what the past administration said. if that were the state of the objective, they failed miserably. >> i agree. >> across the country, on where the united states is, where federal jurisdiction begins and ends, and so there's a -- there's a process that we're going through to deal with the deficiency. there is a court stay against this 2015 rule that you're aware. and so our obligation is to provide a definition. and that process has begun in earnest and we should have a proposed rule by april of next year time frame.
3:13 pm
and we're taking significant comment on that, along with the withdrawal of the 2015 rule. so it's not deregulation, it's regulatory clarity so we know where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. >> sounds good to me. one of the arguments in favor of the obama administration, it is essential to protecting drinking water and public health would be at risk. the safe drinking water act has provisions addressing both the protection of source water, sections 1453 and 1454, and underground sources of drinking water part c. do you agree that the safe drinking water act has these provisions and provides protection to source waters? >> absolutely. and let me say to the members of the committee, one of the things we're focused on in 2018 is lead in our water supply, safe drinking water. and i think there are tremendous challenges we have across the country with respect to service lines, in particular communities. and the lead seeping into the water supply of our children, it's one of the greatest environment althreats we face as
3:14 pm
a country and one of the things i hope i can work with this committee on as we go into 2018 is a strategy over a ten-year period to eradicate those concerns. and it's going to be a very ambitious initiative at our agency and something we have various offices in the agency working upon. there are about 17 agencies working on this issue of lead, as well, and i'm sending a letter to my colleagues and other agencies to make this a point of emphasis as we go into 2018. not only do i agree with what you're saying about the reach on these issues, but i think there are important matters that we can take on lead that will make a difference for our citizens across the country going forward. >> thank you for your answers. and mr. chairman, i think i can speak for folks on both sides of the aisle we look forward to that discussion. and with that, i'll yield back. >> and if i may -- >> you may. >> i understand that that's a costly endeavor. you know, replacing lead -- service lines across the country, that's been estimated may cost as much as $30 billion or maybe upwards of 50 -- 30 or $50 billion. but i will say to you if we can
3:15 pm
develop a ten-year strategy on how to address that -- state of michigan is an example right now. considering lowering its levels from 15 parts per billion down to 10 parts per billion on the standard and also spending money to replace those lead lines, as i understand it. and that's good leadership with the governor of michigan and i think, frankly, we in washington need to have that kind of conversation with states across the country to focus on that issue. the president has talked about infrastructure. the importance of using some of the infrastructure discussion to address some of these things. and i look forward to that discussion with you. >> so if the gentleman would allow me to yield. we passed a safe drinking water act out of the full committee, which should be helpful in this. my friends on the other side wanted more money. so maybe in a supplemental and stuff, in this process, we have already started moving to try to do that legislatively. but executive branch focus would be helpful. >> it's not just service lines. it's corrosion control measures that need to be deployed. obviously paint, as well. so there is a multifaceted approach we need to validaevalu
3:16 pm
how to declare a war on lead, if you will. but i want to let you know as a committee it's something i desire to work with you going forward. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. carter, for five minutes. >> thank you, very much, mr. chair. miss pruitt, appreciate the opportunity for us to, as i quote you, dialogue that begins today. i hope that future dialogue doesn't span ten months between these opportunities. is your current office, place of work, washington, d.c.? . >> yes, sir. >> okay. and prior to becoming the epa administrator, what city or state did you live in or -- >> tulsa, oklahoma. >> okay. mr. pruitt, i would like to point out for the record you traveled to oklahoma for 43 out of 92 days this spring, according to the "washington post." that's almost half of every day in march, april and may of this year. i'm extremely troubled by reports that your frequent travel to and from oklahoma occurred at the expense of the
3:17 pm
u.s. taxpayer, and cost more than $15,000 just on those trips alone. and it appears i'm not the only one concerned. at the request of members of this congressional committee, epa's office of inspector general has begun an audit for waste, fraud and abuse associated with your frequent travel back to oklahoma at taxpayers' expense. also, your record of wasting taxpayer dollars does not end there. later news reports uncovered that you along with other members of the trump administration have been using private jets and military aircraft at tremendous taxpayer expense. one of the most expensive examples was in early june, when you and several of your staff traveled on a military jet from cincinnati, ohio, to a john f. kennedy airport in new york on your way to italy. the cost of that flight alone was reportedly over $36,000. in august, you chartered a private plane to fly from denver, colorado, to durango,
3:18 pm
colorado, in the same state, costing the u.s. taxpayers over $5,000. you did so even though the governor of california had reportedly offered to fly you on a state-owned plane. mr. pruitt, the taxpayer bill for your travel on private jets and other noncommercial aircraft is a record total more than $58,000 since february this year alone. these costs are especially offensive, given the secure -- excuse me, the severe cuts you have proposed to essential and life-saving epa programs. take, for example, the office of environmental justice, which helps poor communities who are being disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution. this administration proposed to eliminate the office of environmental justice. so, mr. pruitt, are the american people supposed to believe that we cannot afford $2 million to help our most vulnerable communities, but we can afford
3:19 pm
tens of thousands of dollars for you to fly on private jets? >> first i want to say to you, congressman, i do look forward to the dialogue. and i appreciate your comments going forward. and i think there is much work we can engage in together, and i look forward to that discussion. environmental discuss 'tis is something that i met with actually internal members of our team yesterday. talking about issues like chicago. environmental justice is an important issue. it's something that we seek to translate to rural action on the ground. and we have. since i've been serving, particularly emphasis on chicago -- the superfund situation there. on the travel, i would say to you, every trip i've taken to oklahoma with respect to taxpayer expenses has been business-related. when i was in oklahoma for a wellness meeting, we had three states converge in the panhandle of oklahoma that had kansas, oklahoma and texas come together. there were hundreds of individuals in attendance. that's a very important effort. berg creek had high levels. there was harm taking place with
3:20 pm
fish in that water and we needed to take action and i was there to address that. there are concerns that affect oklahoma in region 6. every dollar expended with respect to those travel was business-related. when i've traveled back to the state for personal reasons, i paid for it. and that will bear out in the process. but let me say this to you finally. with respect to the travel, commercial travel, is what we fly almost exclusively. the situation is cincinnati -- i fly with the president for a meeting on infrastructure. we were going to the g-7 in italy and could not make the flight in jfk unless we got a public transport. so that's why that decision was made. but it's been only four instances during the entire time i've been serving as administrator. and it was always based upon circumstances. you mentioned going to colorado. the reason that occurred is because we were going to colorado to address the needs and concerns of the citizens there, and couldn't make it otherwise. and i would dispute the governor's reference that you made earlier. >> oh, really? okay. well, thank you very much for stating for the record.
3:21 pm
because the inspector general is looking into those details and i hope it all bears out and let's see what the outcome is. well, i -- am going to be respectful for giving you an opportunity to antibiotics answer. so with the last five seconds, i would ask i be able to insert these two letters from the epa's inspector general agreeing to investigate this travel. asking anonymous consent to enter them into the record. >> without objection, so ordered. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north dakota, mr. cramer, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. administrator, for your candor, for being here and for your strong leadership. and i just -- i might just say, you used a term in responding to mr. mcnerney, which i think is a new term at the epa, and that was partnership. and i think that my friend from california's line of questioning bears out that you see states as stakeholders and partners, not as subordinates. thank you for going to places like oklahoma and north dakota
3:22 pm
and other states in the middle of real america that are affected by what for the last eight years has simply been a dictatorship by the epa. thank you for that and we appreciate your willingness to address this in our home states. i also want to congratulate you on your incredible work on meeting these deadlines. 27 years that gets done in a matter of weeks and months. i probably shouldn't seem like such a high standard. but by comparison. and doing all that with only one confirmed aa is really quite remarkable. so i look forward to when you have a full staff and a full team and we can really get to it. and i know cpp are big topics in north dakota, as you know. but i want to get to the heart of a couple of things you've emphasized. and like my friend from texas, mr. olson, i appreciate your commitment to process and rule of law. i appreciate your commitment to cooperative federalism. and i know you're very familiar with a couple of north dakota cases. one in particular, of course, the hayes case, that was started in california and north dakota
3:23 pm
was blocked from intervening in, which is just kind of blows me away that states don't have as a matter of right, constitutional right standing in cases that affect them, especially with regard to regulations that they have primacy over regulating. the more recent is one that straddled your memo on sue and settle that i want to bring to your attention. and see if we can't work more closely together. you, me, our attorney general, on addressing it as we go forward. and that was a revision of rules that was proposed in 2016, a consent decree was declared between the epa and environmentalist groups. and north dakota was blocked from intervening. and this is -- related to oil and gas industry in our state, where our state has primacy, and we were blocked from intervening. oral arguments in october of this year, about the same time as you were putting out your
3:24 pm
memo, occurred in the -- the d.c. circuit court of appeals. and we were blocked again. the environmentalists and the epa prevailed. but what was most disturbing about that, and why i want to bring it to your attention, you have a really big task in front of you to meet not just the rule, but the culture. change that we had hoped to achieve. and that is that it was department of justice that argued so effectively against the state of north dakota in the d.c. circuit. so as we go forward, what i would love to do is be able to maybe have a meeting with my attorney general and you and me and plan the next phase of this, and use the state of north dakota as a partner, as opposed to, you know, a litigant on the other side. >> yeah, as i indicated earlier in my opening comments, and i think in response to questions, from your perspective, you know, you have put into place a process by which we're supposed to adopt rules. and when -- and rules are supposed to be, what, laws of general applicability. and so when you are involved in
3:25 pm
litigation and you change requirements under a statute, discretionary, nondiscretionary, time lines or otherwise, and then you apply it in a general fashion, that's something that i think is offensive with respect to the apa process and should be dealt with. and that's why the sue and settle practice is important as we go forward. we may consider codifying that loosely, with respect to rulemaking. but it's important we implement these directives -- the directive i've sent to respect the apa as we make decisions. >> with regard then to states rights, because i feel like it's not just -- it's all of the acts under epa, several other agencies where it seems like the right for a state to have standing, somehow has to be based on a finding of harm or injury. and it seems to me that in a cooperative federalism, states should have that right, especially if it's regulation that they have primacy over. i'm wondering if we should be doing something, you know, to
3:26 pm
codify that, which it seems to me the constitution should be adequate for. but whether we should do it broadly or specifically. and i might add, and then you can answer and wrap-up my time. should you have some more independent litigation authority, independent say of the doj. >> i think on the first point, i do think that perhaps congress addressing the standing of states to address some of those -- most of those are state plans. many deal with regional requirements under the clean air act. and i do think it's important that the voice of those states are heard. and that's the reason, as it relates to the directive i issued, we -- ask justice to take a accommodating posture with respect to state intervention on these issues. but there probably is more that can be done to make sure that happens going forward. >> thank you. thank you for your service. >> time has expired. the chair now recognizes the young lady from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's good to see you here. and i was very glad to hear you talk about this war on lead. we need to have. i share, like every one of us --
3:27 pm
i've met those children in flint. i live with some of those families. it's a very serious problem. and we all need to work together to make sure it never happens in another community again. we've been meeting with my mayors for the last year, even in my own community, included the state. >> it's not just flint, either. >> no, it's -- i have it in my district. i don't have flint in my district, but it's a concern all over the country. but having said that, there are some things i think that are happening in epa that actually threaten that -- what you're talking about. so i've got a lot of stuff to talk about, epa matters in michigan. could i ask for some yes or no questions, just to this. for example, the epa budget for 2018 eliminated two programs that provide grants to straits and tribe grants to support their lead training and certification programs for lead paint removal contractors, and the lead risk reduction program. is that correct? >> we welcomed congress restoring that and talked about that in the appropriations
3:28 pm
process. >> okay. but you deal -- this would -- it would have represented a 90% reduction in funding. in addition to proposed cuts, we have seen delays on several key rule makings. you talked about one of them. which isn't only in flint. it's in another plume i've got in mind which is the update to the lead and copper rule for drinking water systems. it was supposed to be completed by june of this year, and now it appears to be delayed to next month. will we see it next month? >> in the agency, congresswoman, has taken over a decade on that -- 19 -- >> i nudged them too. >> 1991 was the last time we had a lead and copper rule. and -- >> but we need it. >> i will tell you, it is a major part of what we need to be about with respect to this war on lead. >> so when are we going to see it? >> hopefully -- we're working on it and it's something i'm committed to. >> and the agency recently delayed implementation of a 2015 rule to require steam electric
3:29 pm
power plants from disallowing lead to be discharged to the rivers. is that correct? >> i'm not sure about the time line. i take that. but i don't know for sure if it's been 30 years. >> all right. can we work together to get these things done, because they matter to our communities. now i'm going to quick -- i'm going -- i'm not trying to be -- i just care. you know, you made a comment to mdq that you should have made about the reducing the amount of staff that they had. and that they needed to have more people on their team addressing these flint issues. michigan department of environmental quality. do you know that? you recommended that mdeq hire more staff with water management expertise. i agree with that. but you have only got one person. you're offering buyouts and cutting manpower in your agency, the one with oversight responsibility for all of these state programs, while advising michigan to do the opposite. so i would encourage you to look at that. and then i've got to do two more things. first, i'm going to go to my --
3:30 pm
it's all politics is local, but it's not just local. it matters to this country. we have a epa lab in ann arbor that everybody that's doing critical work for every single state on automotive emissions and fuel economy. the budget would have eliminated that. the auto companies support it, the environmentalist community supports it, everybody knows what good work is done. will you support keeping that lab open with all of the important work we've got coming down the road? >> i will. >> thank you. you just made my day. but now having said that, the great lakes. michigan is, you know -- it's not just michigan. it's all of the states around the great lakes. they matter. they are more than 20% of the fresh water supply in the world. the epa, the president's budget, would have eliminated all the dollars for the great lakes restoration initiative. or the -- republicans and democrats on this committee and in the house and senate worked to restore that.
3:31 pm
can the epa had something to do with the eliminating that down to zero. can you explain why, and can we work with you to make sure that never happens again? >> well, i actually talked to your senator about this a couple nights ago. >> we care. >> and oh, i know. and not just michigan -- >> all of them. >> the great lakes initiative is something that's been very successful. you have an issue with invasive species there. >> serious one. >> and it's something that we need to pay attention to. and i respect that congress and their restoration of those funds and appreciate that. and will continue to work with you in that regard. >> and not make an effort to cut them again? >> that's a process we'll go through next year. that's not something that is unilaterally our decision. >> we'll be back if you do. >> yes. >> thank you. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. believe it or not. mr. wahlberg, for five minutes. >> thank you. and michigan works together on these things. and so i want to thank my colleague for some of the
3:32 pm
questions there. but also, administrator pruitt, i want to thank you for being here. thank you for your straight talk. i thank you -- the fact we don't have to watch you use a lot of notes. that says something about your understanding of the issues. you made a quote in this -- or statement in this great lakes restoration. the initiative report that had a lot of good things in it. your inner agency task force on the great lakes that you -- grateful chair. you said the glri is protecting public health and the great lakes. more than any other coordinated inner agency effort in the u.s. history. and helping to ensure that our children and their children live in safe, healthier communities. i thank you for that statement. i agree with you on it. i would just follow up. my good friend and colleague from the other side of the aisle. my question is this.
3:33 pm
can i count on you and your agency to work with my office, our michigan delegation, and the state to support programs to protect cleanup and preserve the great lakes? . >> yes, sir. >> i appreciate that. and whatever it takes, i would assume that that would be the case. >> i mean, it's an example, congressman, of -- as was mentioned earlier, the great lakes initiative is similar to the chesapeake bay tmdl, and how the states came together to address a concern there with something different. but this process is the great lakes initiative is something that we should work together to make sure that it's achieving good outcomes, and i think it has. and we'll continue that discussion as we head into 2018. >> thank you. another issue i feel very strongly about is the environmental threat to algae blooms posed to lake erie, which is in my district. this committee has worked over the years to address this issue. and encourage cooperation between federal agencies and the
3:34 pm
states. i supported my colleague from ohio. it's tough for a michigander to support ohio at times, especially after the game two weeks ago. but i supported bob lat's legislation that would require the epa to develop and submit a plan for assessing and managing risks from the sino toxins. could you please update me on the latest efforts by the agency to address the harmful algae blooms in the great lakes, and more specifically lake erie. >> yeah, the al go blooms there, and other parts of the country have been a primary point of emphasis for the office of water, working with states for a number of years, as you know, congressman. it's something we have a task force internally and a dedicated team of individuals looking at that to try to achieve better outcomes. and that is ongoing. i can provide other specifics to questions you have as it relates to lake erie. would i have to get that from the staff to get an update for you. about but it is something that is absolutely a priority. >> and we're taking a broad
3:35 pm
perspective -- agriculture has its problems. we know that. we also know in michigan the program has attempted to be a very effective in trying to address the concerns about excess nutrients, fertilizers, all sorts of things that come from agriculture. but there are other processes that go into this, as well. and i would assume that you would be looking at the total. >> well, look. i think we need to recognize that there are farmers and ranchers all over the country that have taken very important steps to address those issues. i've said many times, those farmers and ranchers are first environmentalists. they care about these issues, as well. and we need to make sure their voices are heard to ensure that we're working together to achieve those outcomes. >> i thank you for that. what cooperative efforts has epa undertaken with other federal agencies in this matter? dealing with algae blooms? >> you know, congressman, i'm not entirely sure if the
3:36 pm
department of ag has been a part of our discussion. i'm sure that they have historically. sonny perdue and i have not addressed it, but it's something we ought to do going forward and ensure there is partnership like with the department of ag, and there are probably others. but perhaps in interior with, and i think the department of ag would be an important partner in this process. >> okay. invasive species. specifically asian carp. what's the involvement with epa and looking at that? it is a huge, huge problem for the great lakes. the army corps of engineers, any involvement with them, any other federal agencies, as well as state and local governments. what is the epa doing that. >> point of emphasis. you mentioned tcorps. the corps has been very involved with that. >> very slow in that, as well. >> well, perhaps we could encourage them. >> i would appreciate that. >> we're working together with the corps on a multitude of issues, not the least of which is quotas. but the leadership there has been responsive. and so we'll take that
3:37 pm
information and make sure that we communicate that to our partners. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair now will recognize the gentle lady from california, miss matsui, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. pruitt, for being here today. >> mr. pruitt, i understand that you and president trump have decided to reopen the midterm evaluation of the greenhouse gas emissions standards from year 2022 to 2025. can you briefly list for us which groups and companies asked you to revisit the evaluation? >> you know, i wouldn't say reopen, congresswoman, necessarily. this is, as you know, the midterm evaluation was supposed to have taken place in april of 2018. that's when it was supposed to occur. the past administration accelerated that. for it to happen in december of '16 into january of '17. and this was aim simply a restoration of process. i'm sure this tyke -- >> so this is a halfway step. it's not total evaluation. >> that's correct. >> okay.
3:38 pm
all right. okay. so i'll go along with you for that. i just want to suggest to you, though, that this half step evaluation, i'm somewhat concerned about this, because these standards to save consumers, particularly dollars at the pumps and reduce oil couples, has been validated many times to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. and the standard is good for american drivers and good for the environment, and it's really necessary. particularly because the international energy agency found that transportation sector is the only area in which the u.s. has become less energy-efficient. now, i also believe that our country should be investing in clean transportation options. and many auto companies share my opinion. whenever a major domestic auto manufacturer recently thousands cutting spending on internal combustion engines and instead investing billions of dollars in
3:39 pm
electric vehicle development, another company plans to release all electric vehicles in the coming years. can you please answer yes or no? do you support efforts to strengthen american innovation and manufacturing through electric vehicle, r & d and production. >> it definitely should be part of the mix, congresswoman. and i would say this to you, as well. the agency is not adequately considered with those standards. high octane being used, as well. there has been a lot of focus on the design of vehicles, and access to electric vehicles, as well. but not as much on the fuel side. and i think that we need to iran corporate that into the discussion, as well. >> so you have a plan to support the electric vehicle market long-term? >> that would definitely be part of the evaluation as we head into april of 2018 and will continue years ahead, i'm sure. >> all right. i'm pleased to hear that. because eva is going to be a specific portion of our vehicle mix in the future and we need to be positioned in the united states to benefit from their adoption. >> we want to ensure, if i may for a second. >> yes. >> we want to ensure that as we set those standards, you don't want people staying in
3:40 pm
older-model vehicles. i mean, the whole purpose here is to ensure that vehicles are manufactured, that they meet efficiency levels and outcomes that are important to the environment. and so -- >> i understand. >> so if you don't look at the cross-section of issues from high-octane fuel design and what you have raised, congresswoman, the very purposes are not achieved. and so we're taking all those things into consideration. >> certainly. mr. pruitt, i'm running out of time. does california currently have a waiver to set its own light-duty vehicle emission standards through 2025? >> yeah, there is, as you know, statutory waiver for california that is validated as part of the midterm review. >> is the epa involving the state of california of your review from 2022 through 2025 emissions standards? >> i missed the first part of the question. >> are you involving the state of california in your review of the 2022 to 2025 -- >> as part of the midterm review, the california waiver is necessarily a part of that process. >> okay, great. that's encouraging.
3:41 pm
because i believe that the communication involving stakeholders is very important. and mr. pruitt, can you please answer yes or no. do you believe a cooperative relationship between states and the federal government? >> yes. >> in the past, you said that the previous administration was, quote, aggressive about dictating to the states and displacing their authority, end quote. is this correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> given your support for states rights under federal and environmental laws, do you support california's ability to seek a waiver to set its own clean air act light-duty vehicle standards? >> federal principles do not say one state can dictate the standard to the entire country. there are multitude of considerations, and those will be considered in due time. >> but we will definitely work with the states. >> we have already reached out to the government of california and are waiting for a response. >> okay, great. so as i mentioned previously, certain auto manufacturers asked for changes to the emission
3:42 pm
standards. some have specifically asked for flexibilities under the current program. are you considering providing these types of flexibilities, or are you also looking at relaxing the standards entirely? >> as part of that midterm review, all things will be considered. >> okay. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> all right. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. duncan, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator pruitt, thank you for being here today. this hearing has been extremely informative to me for learning the trump administration priorities within the epa, and i have to say, i've been extremely impressed and supportive with the epa thus far under the trump administration and your leadership. you all understand what the intended role of the agency is, and have effectively worked to roll back the bureaucratic overreach and power abuses under the prech i couldn't say administration. you prioritized what should be left up to the states when it comes to both energy and environmental matters. the state should be the ones to set their own limits in regards to the environment, and i thank you for understanding the crucial role the states and
3:43 pm
lolts play in this process. quick question about the february 28th presidential executive order on waters of the u.s. could you inform me of the status of the eo? >> yes. on february 28th, the president issued an executive order asking the agency to review that definition from 2015. we, in fact, are doing that. there is a two-step process presently ongoing. one is a proposed withdraw of the waters rule. and that's in the marketplace. there is comment being taken upon that. in fact, the comment period is closed. and we have a substitute definition of what it is that will come out sometime in april of next year. so there is a substantive replacement forthcoming and a withdrawal already in the marketplace that makes up the response to the february 28th executive order. >> all right, thank you. a lot of us were alarmed when we saw what was defined as a navigable water way under the previous administration. a lot of times these were ditches that didn't hold any water. no stream bed.
3:44 pm
only had water during significant rain event. but yet they were regulated under the waters of the u.s. and that was the -- to the detriment of the developer, the landowner, the farmers and what not. so i thank you and the administration for doing that. i want to shift gears to ports. the south carolina port regulated by the ports authority in south carolina are charleston port is important. one in every 11 jobs in south carolina is attributed to some sort of port activity. so could you explain how under the trump administration the permitting process for ports is carried out in a more timely and efficient manner to ensure that these ports continue to maintain b & a and economic driver? >> it's not just a port issue, but i cthink it's been very inconsistent. i talked about this with respect to the ten regions and how individuals in region 8 or region 6 are being treated differently than in region 5 and region 10. and so we are trying to get
3:45 pm
processes in place to ensure that there are timely responses. you know, a permitting process shouldn't go on for years and years and years. and we have many examples at the agency where literally the decision on whether to deny or grant a permit has taken over a decade. that's entirely unacceptable. and what we are doing is trying to set an outside time limit that a decision will be made, up or down, on whether a permit should issue. in fact, i mentioned the chief operating officer earlier today. it's our goal by the end of 2018 to have processes in place to ensure an answer up or down on permits within six months. as we go forward. so that's something states are doing across the country. it is a major undertaking in our agency, but we're trying to reform the processes internally to provide answers with more clarity and more certainty. >> i applaud you for that. and i wish this committee had jurisdiction over the core of engineers, and we could encourage them to manage river systems in this country on a regional basis instead of a one-size-fits-all. because i can tell you, eastern river systems like the savannah
3:46 pm
river system is different than western river systems, and how the savannah river basin is managed from a corps of engineers standpoint and possibly epa standpoint is different than how a western river system should be managed. that's important to my district that has corps lakes and down strooem flows that affect mr. carter's district. so mr. administrator, i appreciate you being here. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i really appreciate the comment about regional variation. because as we look at the waters of the united states rule as an example, i mentioned this earlier today, states have -- north dakota has something called prairie potholes. and as i spent time in north dakota, i had never seen a prairie pothole. but that's a unique aspect of that state that needs to be taken into consideration as we look at these issues. so i really appreciate your feedback. that's the reason we are reaching out to governors and the deqs -- dnrs across the country to make sure we're making informed decisions, not only on just permitting but
3:47 pm
substantive rules we're talking about. >> that's critical. i yield back. >> the gentleman fields back his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. administrator. appreciate you being here today. very much. >> thank you, members. >> pardon me? >> my apology. talking to another member here. >> no worries. administrator pruitt, i've got a -- during the last administration, toward the end of the last administration, there was a rule that was titled greenhouse gas phase two rule for medium and heavy-duty trucks. in my opinion, this had a lot of overreach in it, because it included regulating truck trailers as self-propelled vehicles. and i've introduced legislation to deal with this, and i just wanted to ask you, you issued a statement on this rule back in november. and in that rule, you issued a statement on the review of glider kits, but you didn't include anything about tractor-trailers. do you intend to do that? are you familiar with this at all? >> i appreciate -- actually appreciate you bringing that to my attention. i was aware of the latter that
3:48 pm
you mentioned, but not the former. so that's something i will definitely take a look at. >> okay. i appreciate it. because it is something that's very important to us, particularly to the tractor-trailer industry, which is a big industry down in our area, as well. also wanted to ask you, in my district, in the coastal region of georgia, the entire coast of georgia, i have the honor and privilege of representing that area. we've got three significant superfund sites. and very briefly, can you just bring me up to date where we're at with that? with the superfund sites and the status of the program and the improvements you may have made with this? >> yeah, there were 42 recommendations that we would be happy to make available to the committee. but -- in the month of may/june time frame, we commissioned this task force to evaluate how we can better fund the portfolio. those recommendations are being implemented as we speak. and the great progress is being made. and we're trying to address, because there are other than areas in portland -- i'm sorry, i can't recall the member that
3:49 pm
brought it up this morning but the city of portland and harbor, there were substantial issues. it was a large area impacted. there was progress that could be made in certain parts of the superfund area, and not others. and so we made a call to get started on those areas. because what's happened historically is that we delayed taking any positive action until the entire area had been decided upon. so we are trying to make those kind of changes to provide clarity to the communities. also ensuring that we're hearing the voices of those cities and towns and citizens about those decisions. i think that's been neglected in the past. so there are many things we're looking at that ultimately it's to ensure we get outcomes and decisive outcomes and decisions are made and responsible parties are held responsible for the harm they have caused in those areas. >> is there any kind of legislative actions that you feel like you need that we would be able to make that would help you in that area? >> you know, it's a good question. because in the brownfield program, is an example. this body has been very, very successful with respect to changes in the brownfield
3:50 pm
program. i think there are some reusability options with respect to superfund sites. ultimately our goal in the portfolio should be to remediate those sites, protect human health and see those sites and see those sites redeemed going forward. so maybe that's something we can do together to adopt a brownfield sort of approach. >> i represent the entire coast of georgia, over 100 miles of coastline. so as you can imagine we have a lot of boaters in that area. and our office has been getting a lot of calls for tiers of specialization, particularly among boats, bar pilots and harbor pilots. we have heard requirements of them forcing people to, in the scenarios where the manufacturers don't necessarily make an approved engine for a boat type. and they're having a lot of trouble with this and it's causing problems with being able
3:51 pm
to order these boats. is this something you've been addressing at all? >> it's not something i have been privy to on the part of the agency. but i would be happy to look into it. >> my office would like to send you some information to you can review it, because this is a serious problem down here, they want to comply and do the right thing, but they need some flexibility with it as well. >> okay. >> one last question, as i understand it, mr. administrator, are you from oklahoma, is that correct? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i recognize the gentleman from mississippi mr. harper for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman, and thanks so much for being here, administrator pruitt and congratulations on almost 10 months you've been in this role.
3:52 pm
while i was born in mississippi, my late father was born in altus, oklahoma and grew up there, so we have a great affinity for the state of oklahoma in my house hold. . yesterday i was appointed chairman on the subcommittee on oversight and investigations here in energy and commerce. an important responsibility that i'll now have and i certainly don't take that lightly. many of the matters that we have reviewed and will review will concern the epa. while i cannot comment on the mi minorities interest in the agenda, but i pledge to my colleagues across the aisle that i will work with you and i will be working with the chairman of the full committee and committee staff to determine our oversight agenda regarding the many
3:53 pm
agencies under our jurisdiction, including the epa, i'll also work closely with the chairman of the other committees to clarify issues that we think deserve focus and attention. i want to emphasize as to all agencies in the committee jurisdictions, we do anticipate and expect that the epa will cooperate with our inquiries and i hope you administrator pruitt will respect our constitutional progresso preogories. >> yes, sir. >> the obama administration's rule on wood heaters had two effects. step one took effect in 2015 that reduced emissions up to 90%. step two is supposed to take
3:54 pm
effect in to 20 and it will be a bit more. the wood heater industry, many of them are having great difficulty developing models that meet the 2020 step two standards. so one of the things we have looked at is giving more time, in a matter that was actually marked up yesterday, to extend that by three years. do you believe it makes sense to give this industry a little more time to meet the step two standards, rather than see companies going out of business and letting workers go? >> i think it's always prudent for the committee to provide that kind of direction to the agency, and i'm glad this bode is giving us the path forward in that regard and we will make sure that we work with you to address the issue. >> many of the customers for
3:55 pm
these wood heaters, many of whom will be in rural areas, many low income individuals or households. so it is a feeling i would assume that you would agree, that the epa needs to make sure that its rules don't drive up prices unnecessarily. >> all of those things have to be considered in the regulatory process, but i very much appreciate the congressional committee's deadlines. >> the oversight and government reform committee held a hearing on the regulatory reform task force. during the hearing the deputy administrator testified that retrospective review of regulation was nothing new to epa. what are some regulations that have been repealed and what are some others that have been proposed but not yet finalized? >> goodness. are you talking about brittany
3:56 pm
boland? >> yes. >> i haven't reviewed her testimony. but are there any particular areas that you're concerned about? >> just if there's anything that's on your radar that we need to be aware of. >> regulatory reform, pursuant to executive order and that task force is something that's going to be ongoing as we head into 2018, the agenda that we have spelled out there is very apparent, and i believe we have addressed those here today. if there are more concerns of you or the other committee members, but i can't think of any that haven't been addressed already. >> we want to thank you for your time and your insight and look forward to working with you in the years ahead. >> just an announcement and apologies to those who have been here for a long time. i would ask that members that -- go by seniority on the full committee. so i recognize mr. rush for five
3:57 pm
minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank you administrator pruitt for your attendance here. after your confirmation hearing in january you were submitted questions on the record asking you to define environmental justice and whether you consider it a serious issue. and in your response, you seemed to give the issue, in my opinion, short shrift and you said in your opinion, that you were, quote, familiar with the concept of environmental justice, end of quote. you then went on to say, in a vague way, and i hope you remember, the administrator plays an important role
3:58 pm
regarding environmental justice, end of quote. in this statement, you repeated 11 times in your written response. then a few months later, asking you to open the agency, your former assistant associate administrator for environmental justice, mr. stephen arlene, an individual who worked in my office on several occasions. mr. arlene resigned in march after 24 years of service, stating that he did not see any indication that you or the rest of the administration are interested in any way in helping vulnerable communities. i just want to say this is deeply disturbing to me because as you know, protecting these
3:59 pm
communities is an essential aspect of the epa's mission. and it's one that appears to have been, in my opinion, severely neglected. so mr. administrator, how would you prioritize the epa's responsibility to protect the nature's most vulnerab nature's -- nation's most vulnerable populations from pollution. is it a high, medium or low priority in your -- how would you define it? >> congressman, thank you for your concerns and i will give you a priority. >> is it a high, medium or low priority. >> it's a very high priority at the agency. i'll give you an example.
4:00 pm
in chicago, with respect to superfund sites there, there's a problem regarding water supply. and there's a number of communities that have faced such threat for a number of years. i traveled to chicago, met with individuals there who make up the constituency group, those who felt like they hadn't had an answer in this area. in fact we have sent staff there multiple times to ensure progre progress. it's something i consider a high priority. i met with teams as recently as yesterday. and we talked about these very issues that making sure individuals who historically have not had voice, to impact outcomes with respect to superfund or other issues that we take that seriously and take that into account going forward, so it something that's an important priority going
4:01 pm
forward. >> so it's an important priority. all right the record shows that -- let me ask you another question men. the record shows that you have met either in person or by phone with the ati on at least three different occasions, on the 28th of june, the 29th and also on the 6th of november. my question to you as an individual who is a scientific advisor for the api, and her name is miss una blink. are you familiar with this individual? >> the name doesn't sound familiar, congressman. >> have you had any occasion to discuss her position on hydraulic fracturing,? she indicated that fracking is a
4:02 pm
health benefit to minority communities, to african-american communities specifically. and this is in contrast to a naacp study that many african-american communities face an elevated risk of cancer due to air toxin emissions and natural gas. are you familiar with that naacp study? >> the person to whom you refer, i'm not familiar with that person, so i'm sorry. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, administrator prui pruitt, i want to thank you for meeting with my earlier this year to discuss the issues specific to tmy community.
4:03 pm
the problem that i have is that the prior administration wanted to regulate both the tractor and the trailer. but the code says that the motor vehicle, which is the area where the authority comes from, the term motor vehicle means anything self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons on a street or highway and a trailer is not self-propelled. it has to have the tractor component. we have both in my district, we have volvo that makes the tractors, and a company that makes the trailers. so it's a very important question. so i guess what i have to ask you, but with that reading of the law and i ask you to reconsider those regulations overall, but at some point the epa has to acknowledge that it
4:04 pm
has no jurisdiction over the trailers or come to congress and ask for that authority? >> it's one of those areas where the text or statute doesn't provide clarity on whether there's a deficiencideficiency. so i agree wholeheartedly with that position. >> someone before said you had to have goods in the trailer to move anything, that's why they have the authority. so therefore that gives the epa the authority to restrict the weight to the driver. until we get to the driverless trucks, you're still going to have a driver in the truck, and if you want to get to weights and things that aren't self-propelled motor vehicles, you can do anything. i am concerned that the epa has been using new source review-using enforcement actions
4:05 pm
to change the way the program is supposed to work and making it hard for these plants to do the type of maintenance projects to keep them running reliably and efficiently. i have introduced legislation that will help on this problem. will you give me yes or no answers to the following questions. have you taken action against coal fired power plants because they have taken steps to become more aware of this? >> yes. >> do you think that a power plant should be required to go through a long and costly permitting process before it can do something to improve its efficiency, including less pollutants? >> i don't. >> and do you believe that such a regulation might actually discourage owners from doing things to make their trucks for efficient? >> i think that is a problem.
4:06 pm
i mentioned today that bill warren which is an aa recently confirmed there's a task force within the agency to address nsr steps going forward in 2018. it's a very important area. there are companies across this country that seek to invest capital to improve emissions, and they're concerned that if they do that it will require new permitting requirements and it's a disincentive. and we're trying to address that and believe it's a very important issue. >> i appreciate you working to improve that. because i believe it's a very important issue, and because i represent a coal district, i think it's also important for those who are concerned about pollution, because we're going to continue to need coal well into the future, at least at some percentage level to keep our grid reliable. and as we use that coal we want to do it more cleanly, more efficiently and more
4:07 pm
effectsively. and to take on new technology that might put them out of business is not a good idea. >> this is true for all utility companies that seek to improve, we should celebrate that and encourage that. we don't what there to be disincentives in place to impact that adversely. >> i know the technology has changed, but i would like to alay some people's fears, every rock, every rock system is a little bit different and i know that too. but they have been fracking in my district for probably about 40, 45 years so for those people who are afraid of it, if you have the right rock and you're taking a look at the ingredients that are being put into that rock, i think it can be done very safely. >> to your point, congressman, hydraulic fracking itself is not new technology. it has been around for decades. the uniqueness of the shale
4:08 pm
revelation -- >> gentleman's time has expired i now recognize the gentle lady from michigan. >> i appreciate being allowed to be at this hearing today. thank you secretary pruitt. i have a number of questions so i'm going to try and push through these. last congress assistant secretary mccabe appeared to discuss epa and nitsa, technical assistance report. the technical analysis that reported the decision to detain epa's greenhouse gas standards for the 2022 to '25 model year cars and light trucks. i have a number of questions that may help me understand why you agree to their request. so first, let me ask you this, is there a revised technical report that you used as a basis
4:09 pm
for reopening the midterm review of the epa fuel efficiency standards? >> the reopening, congresswoman, was to keep consistent with what was committed on the midterm review when it was supposed to happen initially. it was suppose occur april of 2018. this was not a change of that date, it was just a commitment to keep the date that was agreed to at the beginning. and that date was not actually accelerated by the previous administration, december of '16, january of '17, so this was just to make sure that this was upheld and enforced and it occurred in the time it was supposed to occur initially. >> are you saying that the investigation is closed now? >> the review is ongoing because the commitment was through 2018. this was a restore ration process, to say that it should occur by april of 2018 as we
4:10 pm
originally discussed. >> my understanding was that it was already approved in the last congress. so in answer to my question, is there a revised technical report that you used as a basis for reopening -- >> the agency accelerated the review process, incanonsistent with the original understanding and this is correcting that process. >> i would like to know if your agency provided to us last congress -- >> what time frame would that be? >> that was in september of 2016. do you have new -- agree or disagree with the information that your agency did provide, now your agency, provided to us at that time? >> i think my comment is what i said earlier, congresswoman, it's consistent with the commitments that were made, that the midterm review would occur in 2018. >> i'm a bit confused because ms. mccabe testified that the fuel efficiency technology
4:11 pm
development was moving faster than they had expected and is being implemented in the early years of the program. has this finding changed? >> i'm not aware, congresswoman. >> the epa found that to meet the proposed standards, automakers do not have to manufacture and sell high legals of hybrid and electric vehicles, the '22 through '25 standard can be met with more fuel efficient cars. >> all of these are dependent on a review that was opened earlier than expected. in other words, you decided -- >> the agency concluded their process, congresswoman, inconsistent with the original time frame that was established. and we restored that process. so this review will culminate in april of 2018. >> the transportation sector occurs for a third of the total
4:12 pm
greenhouse gas emissions in the united states, with light duty truck emissions making up more than 60% of the epa standards in that sector. these standards are a critical part of any program to reduce greenhouse gasses. would you agree and do you expect that that finding may change? >> the progress made in the mobile source category has been significant. and the auto industry has made significant process over the years, that's why the process matters and we're going to go through that and culminate in april of '18. >> the epa found that the average cost increase for a car by 2025 due to the standards will be about $1,200 and that cost would be offset by an estimated fuel cost savings of about $1,900, are you aware of that finding, that there could actually be a savings in the cost of a car?
4:13 pm
>> the vehicle emissions are -- there's been great progress, as i indicated. >> i now recognize the chairman from florida for five minutes. >> thanks for letting me sit in on the subcommittee as well and i thank you for your testimony administrator and your patience. administrator pruitt, this subcommittee recently held a hearing regarding the status of the hurricane response texas, florida and the virgin islands. the key concern was how the epa addressed the superfund sites, both in advance of andhurricane. i want to thank you for having your staff be so responsive, again, during and leading up to the hurricanes as well. appreciate that very much. can you walk us through epa's process to secure superfund sites before and after a
4:14 pm
hurricane and how this epa coordinates with state and local agencies? >> thank you, congressman. there are assessments that are made concerning governors, governor abbott in texas and -- the florida governor, governor scott. that's going to be bad because he's going to call me a little bit later. the governor of florida and the governor of texas, we were in conversations with them leading up to the hurricanes in both instances to talk about how to secure those sites, so you have conversations going on with the responsib -- and there's constant evaluation during the storms and then postscript, a determination whether there's been any relief. so it's been a pre, during and post process with those states and members of our agency. >> okay, thank you.
4:15 pm
>> governor scott is a great governor. >> and governor scott, i'll repeat it, governor scott is a great governor and did a great job. >> i will say, he showed tremendous leadership and i'll tell you with respect to the fuel issues. access is an issue for them in those kinds of storms, governor abbott in texas and governor scott in florida we were able to address that to ensure better access to fuel during those storms. and governor scott was very importancive as well. >> regarding the superfund site, is -- that the remedy is largely in place and the most recent five-year review found that the remedy was protective of people and the environment.
4:16 pm
i know that not all sites are ton the national priorities list are in such good shape. i have a few questions for you about the superfund cleanup project. number one, how does the epa plan to work through the sites on the national priorities list. and how does the epa prioritize the sites that are on the national priorities list. >> historically regions have been the primary place where that's been decided and we have had inconsistency on large sites, based upon it being a region by region evaluation. so what we did was institute a change that on sites over $50 million that would actually be a decision made at headquarters, to conform to urgency and those are based on the reports that came out in june of this year. and the other thing we were
4:17 pm
looking at is to ensure that if we have sites, as i indicated earlier, that have the ability to be cleaned up, partially, where it's a large site, and we can make progress, instead of waiting until there's a remedy or proposed remedy for the entire site, we're trying to address those hot spots, if you will, throughout the process to get some clarity and success, if you will, through the cleanup process, so those are just a couple of examples. but the superfund program overall in my view has lacked a sense of focus, a sense of leadership and management in making decisions. it's really unacceptable for an agency to take a decade to make a decision on how you clean up sites. i have had individuals in the land and emergency management office that have been in epa for a number of years thatvitalized that area and are actually
4:18 pm
making a difference as early as the time we have been in in. >> i'm going to ask my colleague to yield back that time. and also make an announcement that they're going to call votes real soon, we're going to try to drive through our last colleagues. >> i might ask that the defense across the defense line issued by the clean air task force and naacp referenced by congressman rush be entered into the record. >> kathy caster is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pruitt, i appreciate at the epa after the natural disasters. clean air and clean water are vital to our economy in florida. i had to choke when you called our governor a great governor. one of the things he has done is to deny the rising cost of the
4:19 pm
changing climate. florida is probably one of the most impacted states when it comes to that, looking at flood insurance, property insurance, property taxes and extreme weather events and i hope that epa wasn't taking a page out of governor scott's book. governor scott prohibited our folks at our environmental agencies from using the term climate change and also scrubbed websites and you have an unfortunate, and now you're laying down that same legacy and i think that is unfortunate as well. to do great things you have to work in the public interest and not in the private interest. >> i think the governor did exercise great leadership during the hurricane. >> and that's going to cost us dearly in the state of florida. prior to becoming administrator of epa, you served as attorney general of oklahoma, in that role you sued epa repeatedly, in
4:20 pm
fact 14 different times, fighting clean air protections, fighting clean water protections, and interestingly, one private company, murray energy was a co-plaintiff in eight of those lawsuit suits, and you have represented peabody energy, the american petro fuel and chemical manufacturers. oklahoma gas and electric and others. how many of these groups have you met with during your ten-month tenure at the epa. >> the claims that were made from that company were separate from the claims of the state. >> how many times have you met with those companies? >> i don't know. >> please submit that for the record. these groups also reportedly contributed money to your political action committee. bob murray was a donor no your
4:21 pm
super pac. you have received over $345,000 in campaign contributions from these fossil fuel interests. you previously served two terms as -- >> that's correct. >> and murray energy not only donate fod your super pac, but in 2014, there's a quote, secret alliance between energy firms and attorneys general. according to this report, under your leadership at the raga that set up a separate entity called the rule of law defense fund, which could accept unlimited anonymous donations from companies benefiting from your lawsuits. under this arrangement, fundraising reportedly skyrocketed. the report also states that, quote, the work in mr. pruitt's office have sometimed seemed to blur the line between -- many of
4:22 pm
us are very concerned that you continue to blur the distinction between your official duties and your political ambitions. you pledged that while you are administrator, you would recuse yourself from any active cases where oklahoma is a party, petitioner or intervener, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> so you now oversee vast amounts of money you have raised from the fossil fuel industry offering to recuse yourself from only active cases and only cases where oklahoma itself is a party is grossly inadequate. so will you commit to recusing yourself from cases involving your past co-litigants and donors to the rule of law defense fund? >> it's not been inadequate according to the ethics official at the epa who is an employee. >> so you are saying you will not commit today? >> i will follow the advice of counsel. >> so you're saying you will not -- >> if i may --
4:23 pm
>> so. >> let the gentle lady ask the question. >> you will not do that, you will serve your legacy as one w who -- regulatory proceedings on specific rules you have previously targeted, despite the fact that your position on the argument is clearly already established. will you commit to recusing yourself from rule makings and other regulatory actions that were subjects of your past lawsuits? >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> he needs to answer that question. >> the time has expired. >> these issues have been addressed at the epa. >> the gentleman will suspend. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here mr. pruitt and staying until the end. the american president said he and his administration would drain the swamp in washington
4:24 pm
and get rid of, quote decades of -- do you admit that your job is to serve -- >> they're a key mission of the agency? >> yes. >> that's a yes answer? >> the democracy reform task force which i'm privileged to chair has been monitoring the administration's progress with respect to draining the swamp. and as you might suspect from the title of our most recent report, it's still swamped and it only getting deeper. we didn't want to do this report, but we felt compelled to do it when we looked at all the ethical lapses that exist within this administration. you met with crop america, which is a trade association with several large pesticide companies including dow chemical is that correct? >> if that's what the record reflects. >> a day after, you signed a ban of a widely used pesticide
4:25 pm
related to developmental delays in children. and that action was supported by dow chemical that i will mention donated a million dollars to president trump's campaign. and had dinner with alliance resources partners, a major coal mining company, is that correct? >> if that's what the record reflects. >> that's what the calendar shows. roll back rule that protect mining communities are coal ash. seton donated almost $2 million to elect the president. i'm not mentioning this as a gotcha thing, but it really makes a lot of americans anxious when you consider the conflicts of interests this suggests. let me turn now to a topic that's important to my home steady of maryland, the
4:26 pm
chesapeake bay program. in your testimony you commented the state and federal partnership to restore the chesapeake bay and you committed to enforcing the bay pollution diet or the tmdls is that correct? >> me and senator card had wonderful conversations about it. >> i'm going to get to that. despite the fact that as oklahoma attorney general, you sued the epa, challenging the bay tmdls previously, you also supported senator card through funding critically important programs and supporting the grant making role of the epa, iis that correct? >> that's correct. >> and yet, if you look at the president's fy-18 budget it eliminated the chesapeake bay project in the budget. that falls short of the pledge you made to senator card and the
4:27 pm
pledge that you made by the chesapeake bay program. that's not standing up and enforcing the tmdls, and make -- it appears rather that under your leadership, that commitment is being stored out. >> i think the comments i made during the preparations process should also be referenced. i spoke to members of this body as well as members of the senate on the issue. zplt i guess what i'm looking for is a followthrough on the original commitment that you made in the sense of fighting back inside the administration and saying programs like the chesapeake bay program are valuable, the funding needs to be there, don't just rely on congress to restore these things, which, by the way, we have tried to do on a bipartisan basis. become an ally of ours. >> conversations have taken place in that respect.
4:28 pm
>> i appreciate you continuing to do that. let me speak to executive order number 13770, which relates to -- every executive agency appointed on or after january 20, 2017, agency employee to be, quote, contractually committed to an ethics pledge, is that correct? >> yes. >> and that pledge stipulates that -- prohibited for two years on any party that is directly or substantially related to the former employer or former clients including regulations and contracts. executive order 13770 states that appointees have a two-year cooling off period in terms of handling matters in related to their previous lobbying. but i'm concerned that several of your personnel decisions deviate from those guidelines. there's a growing list of employees at epa that appear to have substantial conflict.
4:29 pm
so i hope you can bring some real attention to these conflicts as we move forward. and i yield back my time. and thank you for allowing us to participate off the committee. and i ask for unanimous nice consent -- >> without objections, ordered. the chair welcomes the gentleman from iowa for five minutes. >> i do appreciate the opportunity to be here today and administrator pruitt, i'm sorry i haven't been able to meet you yet, even though i am from iowa and i know you were just there last week, thank you for coming to iowa. i'm sure you heard a lot about our festival. i'm sure you have learned a lot about it. we have concerns about making sure that the administration lives up to what the rfs demands and what the statute says we should be doing. i am a democrat, but i also held the obama administration
4:30 pm
accountable. theo the renewable fuel district supports over 40,000 jobs in iowa. i think it works for iowa, i think it works for america. i think it works to make our economy grow, i think it works for our environment and there's no question it works for our energy security. because when we are able to produce biofuels, i think that contributes to a reduction of our dependence on foreign oil and i think that's very important. it's a security issue as well as a economics issue, you said that you believed congress intended for congress to -- yet on november 30th, as you know, you finalized the 2018 rvo that lowers the amount of biofuels called for in the statute and biodiesel volumes.
4:31 pm
how can you explain these actions when it's clear that these two industries have enormous potential for growth? >> the visit to iowa last week was very good, i enjoyed the conversation with your constituents, met with many farmers and rarnls on these issues. and it was a very good dialogue. as you know under the statute, there's a waiver authority that is given to the epa for production levels. the most we have ever produced is 190 million gallons, and the agency set those levels higher than that and i think it was 280 million gallons, so it is in excess of production that we have seen? >> you increased it 50 million over your previous proposal, but it's down 23 million from last year, far short of what the statute calls for. >> the statute calls for billions of gallons and that waiver of authority is there for a reason, congress gave us to
4:32 pm
address real market issues and dema demand. and it's been useful in that area. for biodiesels, we did keep it flat. we never breached the 2.1 billion in production. in fact we imported about 700 million gallons last year from argentina. so that's one of the reasons those numbers flat lined. >> and a lot of us have issues with the logic of what you're saying, and i understand what you're saying and i have heard that from jean mccarthy and also from you, but a lot of us have real concerns about the logic of those statements. i'll move on. when it comes to the revapor issue, i know that's something that the epa is looking into. i have introduced bipartisan legislation. we have bipartisan support for the rfs to lift the restrictions on the sale of e-15 in the summer months. i'm a strong supporter of that, it will put more biofuel into
4:33 pm
the market. it will help stabilize the ren market. if we had more infrastructure out there, if we had more opportunities for 315. i know at least in iowa, folks would in fact buy the e-15. i know you've talked about legislative effects achieving that goal. members of this administration have said that the rvp can be done through the administrations process. can you update us at this point in where you are on the analysis? >> i will say to you, i have been personally involved in the evaluation of the statutory authority for us to grant a national waiver 12 months a year, and it is something we are evaluating but that's not been concluded yet. >> i hope you'll move in that direction, that we wouldn't have to have a legislative fix, it's clear that the demand is there
4:34 pm
for that. i think the action by the previous epa was a mistake. >> as i shared with folks there on friday, if the statutes allow us to do that, we will do it, otherwise we will have to go back to congress. >> i would like to thank our witness again for being here. we have a anonymous consent request, earlier today we entered into the record 2012 letter to administrator pruitt from mr. mccarthy. this letter was also entered into the record last year. to ensure this hearing is just as complete, i ask for unanimous consent to ask for full information surrounding that letter. so ordered. i remind all members that they have 10 business days to submit additional questions for the record and ask the witnesses to submit within 10 days the
4:35 pm
answers to those questions. with those comments, this committee is adjourned. environmental protection agency administrator scott pruitt wrapping up testimony on capitol hill this afternoon. he was also on the hill this morning, testifying before the same subcommittee before he had to leave for a meeting at the white house. we're going to show you his testimony from this morning here on c-span 3, it's one hour.
4:36 pm
. let's go, guys. let's go. the subcommittee will now come to order. before i begin my opening statement, i want to make a general announcement to members about the process today. after months of trying to find a mutually acceptable date for a hearing, the committee was finally able to get a date with


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on