tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 1, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EDT
year. but i think there are all different contexts, in the wireless context, i've been forng to make infrastructure available in rural areas, where you might not necessarily see a business case doing so. >> we'll come back so we can get into more specifics and i appreciate that. also, there's an issue in terms of -- and once again it has to do with billing for communications carriers in terms of you want to make sure folks like big places in kansas aren't getting their service from nevada because they get a better deal. and i get that. but it also appears that is being done kind of without any regard for what the state public utilities commission
processes are and stuff like that to where it is like, i don't know whether i want to say that's a major charm school faux pas or whatever. but is there anything that prohibits the f.c.c. this is where you need to end up so they can go through the processes so they at least feel like they've had the processes at the state level before you get there? >> and we actually have joint boards that work with the national association regulatory utility commissioners in identifying issues that need to be addressed and how do you address them together and who does that. >> so that's something we can follow up with and ongoing discussion of how that works. >> yes. >> so this issue that you're discussing was adopted in 2011 before we got to the f.c.c. >> before i got here. >> i've spoken out against it because in some areas it will increase the rates rural americans pay up to 46%.
so i hope we reevaluate that policy. >> let me be clear. i didn't realize that was the specific issue you wanted to talk about congressman. >> probably a poor question. go ahead. >> and so as he just said this is something we both inherited that was a unanimous vote of was ommission that following true on the statutory instructions from the congress hat said there must be reasonable comparability between urban and suburban rates and rural rates. and so the commission and i say, a unanimous vote of the commission developed an algorithm. what that spit out was what the commissioner just said, a difference where there is -- there are subsidies going not to the high cost of building, not just to the high cost of building in rural areas, but
there are sbhzizz going from urban, suburban consumers to rural consumers to lower their actual bill. now, the law says they have to be reasonably comparable. the question becomes the implementation so we put this out for comment. comments are due on monday. i am going to be proposing that we do a couple of things. one, we need to be moving the effective date on this to provide more time for people to get ready. and two, we need to be thinking about how do we phase it in so there is not sticker shot. but we have to statutory mandate as to what we're supposed to do. i think our challenge is how do we make sure it doesn't have a big impact. >> i don't disagree with the purpose at all. i would just say that you do not have a mandate to ignore state regulatory processes when you accomplish the federal mandate. and to the extent you can accommodate those that would be
a nice thing for the federal government to endeavor to do. >> mr. yoder. >> thank you. thank you for joining us today. a special welcome to a fellow kansasen. >> objectively spoken. >> appreciate that. and certainly as a jay hawk you won a lot of lot of respect on this side. so you're doing well so far. thanks for coming. thanks for your work and service as we debate what our priorities are as a country, within the f.c.c. budget, certainly our job is to help support those programs and things that have the greatest amount of support and we think are consistent with our values as a country. i know one of the sort of more controversial issues that's come up in recent months is related to the multimarket study of critical information needs. i thought for the benefit of the committee you might give us a little bit of background on how we got to this point and
certainly we have limited agenda in terms of what the f.c.c. can accomplish each year, dollars are scarce, and so clearly this got to be a top agenda item. and i guess chairman as how we got to this point, what the methodology was or the theory was, what you're aiming at, why was it eliminated? you both might speak to the thoughts on that. was this a division on the f.c.c. sf and going forward what does the future look like in terms of the objectedives originally attempted to be achieved? are those going to be achieved in a different way? i think what we all want on either side of the aisle is protection of free speech and ensure that our federal government isn't in a position where they may be putting pressure on our media entities to portray the news in a certain way which we certainly would hope would not be the aim or goal. >> and we identify entirely with that. >> great. do o the act requires us to
occasional studies on the critical information needs of various segments of the economy. it is something that commissions have done whether they're republicans or democrats sitting at the head. when i came in, i discovered that there had been a decision made to move ahead on one of these. and that there had been some concerns raised about some of he specific questions that eemed to tend towards asking for news judgments. and i raised questions about that. we subsequently heard from the energy and commerce committee questions about it. and i asked that those uestions be removed from the
survey. pye quent to that, mr. wrote an op ed piece in the "wall street journal" and in this became a cause celeb despite the fact that the questions were out. i took the whole thing and shut it down, the whole survey. i mean, i think it really became the dog that didn't bark because, a, the questions were taken out, and then b, it was shut down. the reason they were taken out is that we have a strong -- and i can assure you, i have a strong sense of the appropriate role of the federal government in news, period.
period. >> ok. period end of answer. period end of sentence. congressman, my position is pretty simple. the government does not belong in the news rooms of america. government-funded researchers do not belong in the news rooms of america. such as what is your news philosophy? have you ever been told to cover a certain story and been told by management you shouldn't do so? not only is that inappropriate. they're irrelevant to our duty under section 257 to report on barriers. there's no relation whatsoever. moreover, if the goal as stated by some is to increase minority participation in the broadcast business, i'm chock full of ideas. i was the first one to come out over a year-and-a-half ago to increase foreign investment. i've been out front talking about the need to allow women and minority and others the
opportunity to enter this business. i've been up front in saying -- and i champion a revitalization of our a.m. radio rules. historicically one area minorities have been under represented. there's a lot of ways to take action without devoting up to $1 million to a research who has no expertise in f.c.c. related issues. so i applaud the chairman for stopping the study. i look forward to working with him and my other colleagues to focus on what really mattereds. the value underlying section 257. >> i appreciate both of your answers and ink, if this was in the -- i think if this was in the study at one point i think there was a lack of acknowledgment there was a problem at the start. i applaud you for your efforts to move us forward. obviously we have to continue to be vigilant in this regard because if it was thought of as a good idea at one point it doesn't mean someone's not going to ask this in a different way.
so i have to continue to be vigilant and i appreciate both of your efforts to ensure the f.c.c.'s role is one that respects the right of free speech in the country. thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, and thank you both for being here. i was actually in another subcommittee. got a lot of work going on these days. following up on what mr. amaday brought up. commissioner wheeler, what i'm really interested in are details regarding how the data that the commission used to determine the you're bane -- urban rate for specifically the methodology used. a lot of folks in my area are still struggling, especially the rural areas, and i want to know more specifically how the commission determined this rate. because a 46% increase in their phone bill in my view is not leveling the playing field. i think it's putting an unfair
pressure on folks who have the least ability to pay. and i think i would say commissioner you definitely i think hit the nail on the head in your statement on the urf and would love for you to expand on that if there's still remaining time. >> sure. one, we're stalttorl required to do it. two, before either one of us arrived the commission came up with an agga rhythm. i can't cite it to you. but it prodiced these results. now, seeing these results, your response is a legitimate response. a ust say -- we have statutory responsibility. we had a unanimous vote of the commission to use this algorithm. it produced this result. the question becomes, ok, what is the best way to stick with
our statutory responsibility and to cause as little impact as possible? and that's why i'm going to be proposing that, one, we move the date out. and, two, that we have a phase-in process. so that it's not, bam, 46% sticker shock. but you move it out over time. there are parties including in the industries who are opposed to that. that's not my position. and as the chairman of the commission, that's what i intend to propose. >> can i ask, so i understand that as you put data information into an algorithm it's going to pop out something. i guess what i would like to know is the data that went into it. and i want to know the validity and the quality of that data. >> i will be happy to get that for you. >> i would simply add that we do have a statutory responsibility with respect to comparability but that gives the f.c.c. a lot of discretion. and i think if you ask the
average person well if people in washington pay $21 sand people in kansas who receive telephone service from a company who get support pay $14 do you think it makes sense for people in parsons to pay $21 in i don't think people would agree that's very fair and not consistent with the overall promise of the statute that universal service shouldn't mean just that. so i hope we revisit that decision and try to not just focus on the data and algorithm but the entire concept of what it means. >> the joy of being chairman is that you get all of these on your desk. the universal service fund statutorily exists for the purpose of offsetting high construction costs. so that rural consumers can
have equivalent pricing. that is a transfer from urban-suburban consumers to rural companies on behalf of rural consumers. what this study identified -- and your question about the inputs are spot on. but what the study identified was that there is a transfer from urban and suburban consumers not just to companies to offset their higher costs, but to subsidize rural consumers. and that's not provided for in the law. and so my challenge is being incredibly sensitive to the point you raise about the impact on real people, is how do we obey the law and mitigate the impacts on people? and that's what i'm trying to work on.
>> thank you. i think we have time for another round of questions if people have more questions. i would like to ask one question to start with. we talked about earlier you've been involved in the telecommunications industry and now you're head of an agency that regulates that industry. sometimes people's perspective changes from being regulated to being the regulator. and so i would like to ask you, when you're in the private sector, can you give me an example of one or two complaints you might have had about the f.c.c. when you were not the chairman? >> yes, sir. two things. one, i think my philosophy in the chair -- as chairman, is based upon what i learned in
business. and that is that competition is the root of everything. competition encourages investment, protects consumers, is the goal that ought to be primary. the thing that business people hate more than anything else is uncertainty. is not knowing what the rules are. and when an agency is not decisive in terms of saying, like it or not here are the rules, we're not going to run ay from tough decisions, people get paid a lot of money to figure out how to exist within the rules just tell me what the rules are. and so my goal has been, one, how to be competition driven, how to have competition as the goal. and, two, how to make sure that we don't keep skettors in
limbo. and that means you have to make decisions. >> now, so i guess the second part of my question would be, having outlined those criticisms, complaints, how do you plan to address those now that you're the chairman? >> so i hope that the first five months of my chairmanship we've demonstrated that we're going to make decisions. and that we are prow competition. and that we believe in the regulatory see saw. and i hope to keep pursuing that kind of a path. >> thank you. comment on that because you're there. and also i would like you to maybe you to comment because you mentioned in your written statement we talk about a jsa and that controversy there. but as i recall, that's a new rule and i think you mentioned
in your testimony that there's some of the things that are statutory requirements that the commission hadn't done yet, one of the things has to do with wnership which i guess the gsa has the quadrennial review which i think is required but hasn't been done yet. maybe first comment on what we talked about how you observe what the commission is doing to address the complaints that the chairman talked about. and, two, touch on your view of new rules versus statutory required things to do. >> sure. thanks for the question. i agree 100% with the chairman that uncertainty is one of the things that fruss straits businesses most. and i certainly defer to him in his 29 years he has accumulated vast expertise. in my 28 years i can only say -- >> where's your math? >> but speaking for myself two of the things i've found in my
somewhat shorter time in public service are, number one, beware of industries and companies seeking the regulation of rivals. a lot of companies would support a particular regulation because probably entirely because it would disadvantage some of their rivals. we see it on nonch f.c.c., we see it all the time at the f.c.c. number two, be restrained about regulation of dynamic markets. i can tell you when i first got into this industry in 1998 at the department of justice the hot issue considered to be the burning issue was whether to let local telephone companies into the long distance business. a few years later we were told that if we allowed a merger to e cons mated a.o.l. would have a stranglehold. a few years later we were told my space had to be scruteniesed. what i've come to understood through this position is that markets change and ideally
regulations would be tailored o the marketplace. things go in unexpected directions. just before the hearing the chairman and i were talking about the fact that the i phone, a platform for innovation that we now take for granted, didn't even exist a few years ago and now we see all sorts of applications and services being delivered. so the lesson i take is that regulators should be modest. certainly stay within the constructs of the statute. but more importantly i think they should have a sense of restraint because consumers benefit the best when the market place is left generally unfettered from government intervention. if there's an ant competitive actor or a harm then we have a rule to step and play in. but otherwise i think we should -- we do well when we regulate a little bit more modestly. with respect to your question about ownership, as i pointed out, congress charges to reevaluate our media ownership rules every four years. we still have not completed the
2010 quadrennial long before the chairman and i got there and needless to say some of the rules have not been updated since 1975. they're screaming out for updates. i support pro competitive regulation that is reflect the marketplace as it is as opposed to 1975 and i hope my colleagues agree with me on that score. >> i would hope you all would talk about that some as a commission. because so often the agencies pick and choose what they do and don't do. and i'm sure there are probably reasons why things happen slower or faster. but just something to bear in mind as you seek to restructure the agency bring it up to date do all those kinds of things i think that would be something to consider doing. study. now, about the i understand why some of our colleagues, especially from the majority party, would be concerned about an intrusion or
a lack of freedom of the press and so on. but then there's the other side of the story. and i play in two of those and one i understand. as an elected official i know i'll never get a positive story. that's just the way it works. you read franklin and all those guys and they never got a positive story either. but as a latino, i would like to know at times how people decide to pick what stories they put forth and why it seems that there's so much negative stories about what we do and very few positive stories about what we do on a daily basis like any other community. we're no different. so i find myself -- and this is really going to sound like a politician -- agreeing with both of you. because i don't want intrusion. i don't want government to tell people what they must print and what they must put on the amplete but then i also say, as
we said back growing up in the public housing project, give me a break. i mean, why does it always have to be so negative? so i wonder if you could comment in your new-found unity that i see today. if there is a middle ground where we can not intrude, where we can get my colleagues on the other side not to say that it's a violation of freedom of speech, of freedom of the press but at the same time find out why some groups are treated in a certain way and some groups do not play a role at all in any positive stories. >> so you wrote the article. you want to respond? > you're the chairman. >> i think that the information is needed. the question is, what's the impact of a survey that aries with a federal eagle on it?
so i would hope that we will see academics, we will see foundations, we will see groups such as that conducting these kinds of surveys. >> i think the question you raise is entirely appropriate. and i think that mr. yoder's question about the role of a federal agency in that is legitimate as well. >> we've been agreeing a lot. >> we're all agreeing. >> we're agreeing a lot lately which worries me. >> but there are solutions and not all solutions reside in the federal government. >> so how do we get to protect those who don't get a chance to be seen properly? >> congressman, i'm certainly sensitive to that issue. growing up in a small town in kansas, in late 70's, early 1980s it never occurred to me that someone like me could be commissioner or even a lawyer.
everyone in my family was a doctor or engineer and i never saw from the popular media anything depicting indian americans as participating in american public life in the way they are now. so i think it's important for us to make sure that the media landscape represents all americans. the question is how do you get there? and so my own view is that nothing certainly from the f.c.c. or from the law itself preventses anybody from studying these issues, from talking about them, from publicizing gaps in coverage or poor coverage as you might say. but when it comes to the government, there's a special limitation on what we are able to do. it's not just what we are permitted to do but the mere appearance of what we might be doing to others is -- raises constitutional concerns. and i think that's where with this particular study you saw a lot of the concerns being raised. i will say, i feel like i personally represent both of your poll's. i was born in new york and raised in kansas. so i am quite confident we can
come together on this as well as many other issues. >> a new yorker. let me ask one more question. and i do hope that we reach a middle ground, because we need to have that information. and the last point on that would be yes government should not intrude. but in this area it's different because those air waves don't belong to the government. they belong to the people. and everybody knows that. so if you are lucky enough to get an air wave to traps mitt, i think you have a responsibility to be fair to all the people that you're reaching or ignoring or whatever. let me just talk to you very quickly about the gsa's. your claim that gast support minority ownership is undermined by the fact that nearly every minority media group including the minority media and telecommunications council, national association of black journalists and national hispanic media
coalition decry these arrangements as harmful to promoting a diversity of voices. they claim the consolidation deny them ownership opportunities and result in the loss of jobs. how do you explain this difference between those advocacy groups who do a job on a daley basis, and your view? >> i work well with many of those groups on a regular basis. all i can tell you is what the facts on the ground are. in my home state of kansas, a gsa between two wichita stations allow to provide the only spanish news in the entire state of kansas. without that they have told me that news goes away. >> one clarification just to be clear here. there is nothing in what we're doing that would make that go away. >> we hope. i mean, wall street has spoken. you've seen the stocks. >> that's a whole different issue. are we talking about
encouraging minority voices or protecting wall street barnse? >> well, i'm certainly not -- never having spent any time in the industry, i don't certainly don't chill for them. but the point is access to capital is the life blood to a lot of these broadcasters. a lot of broadcasting companies across the country have told me that these have been pro competitive arrangements that have allowed them to do things that otherwise they cannot do. so similar, across the border in joplin, missouri, allowed the stations to save $3.5 million in costs. they poured that into better news and radar. when the tornado hit i would vouch for the number of lives saved precisely because they had those cost savings. so my point is not that the chairman is acting in bad faith. i would never believe that. what i think is if his concern
is correct that you have a bucket of apples and there are a few bad ones in there let's pluck out the bad ones. and not throw away the entire bucket. i certainly would never advocate that for any. >> the reality is we're trying to deal with the situation where as i said before there are people hiding behind the skirts of good people. we are not -- there is no way shape or form that the kinds of positive things that you have been talking about here will not be allowed under the process going forward. but the decision has to be made n public, on the record, transparently with a known set of rules. because what used to happen is that truly broadcast attorneys would go and meet with the media bureau of the f.c.c.
they would sit there and say what do we have to do to get this through? we what we have done is say want this to be out in the open. and we want there to be a known set of rules. and that when there are these situations, which i stipulate to, we want those to continue as well. but we don't want the people that are doing a good job getting spanish language into kansas to be the excuse why thers have an opportunity to flaunt the rules established by the commission on the basis of the instructions from the congress. >> we'll give you the last word. >> quick word. so i think it's all too easy to say that the waiver process of the f.c.c. is about to adopt will allow the good ones through and keep the bad ones out.
but point number one this goes to certainty. how is any broadcaster supposed to know in advance whether or not the f.c.c. is going to approve one or not? >> they didn't before. >> well now they won't know. >> they didn't before until he started sitting down and dealing. >> that's why i had them getting along. >> no. number two, i don't think that the fortunes of a broadcasters that are involved should depend on a temporary efemoral majority of political appointed commissioners. it should be based on the facts on the ground. let's address problems discreetly without changing the overall rule structure and then setting up a waiver process where people have to come in individually and hope they can get relief. >> thank you. >> we'll follow your admission. >> unless he wants to keep going i'm going to have mr. graves ask a question. >> well, the topic left with me last time and i want to point
out i appreciate that there's a debate and dialogue and it's very respectful and two different opinions. i think coming into this meeting today there was the understanding this was going to be a rule that takes place without a lot of open discussion or debate or without a vote from the commission. so maybe there's some confusion in the industry. there's a lot of uncertainty. you've had some aneck dotes in which individuals say they would lose potentially their station or the ability to connect with those whom they're trying to share their information with. i haven't heard you provide which it would advance or give additional licenses or broadcasting in areas with minority ownership either. so i think there's different opinions and i hope that the process moves forward continues an open and robust and maybe slow down the process a little bit to make sure that all voices are heard because there's clearly some division here. and what the outcome is. >> thank you.
>> chairman i hope you'll take that in conversation. one thought that was on my mind and i would like both of your all's opinion on this because in my district i've heard a lot about it and it was a few weeks ago when it was announced that they would relinquish control of the internet. and something that i think we see as a space of where a lot of enterprise takes place, a lot of freedom of expression, talk about freedom of speech. d then you have the united nations secretary general praising this decision from the administration and i guess it's the department of commerce and not i guess moving forward with signing a contract in 2015. is this something that each of you support? is this the right direction moving forward for the department? i know it's not your agency or department but there's an overlap and i think you've made some comments on the record previously. so commissioner, i know you've publicly spoken. and mr. chairman. >> as i said in my statement
that the multistakeholder model has worked tremendously well over the past several years and when ever there are changes to that model, suggest there could be risks. so i think it is critical as we move forward that there is rigorous scrutiny from this body as well as many others to make sure that that model preserves whatever the next model is going to be if there is one it preserves the internet freedom that we have come to enjoy. and that comes into particularly sharp relief when you consider some of the things going around the world from turkey banning twitter to russia blocking particular websites. a recent study suggesting that overwhelming majorities of -- not governments but people want there to be free internet. i think it's critical for the united states to make sure that multistakeholder model which has yielded so many benefits continues into the future. >> i think we agree on the importance of the multistake holder model. i think we also both agree that we're grateful that this is not on our plate. we have enough thing that is we
can wrestle with. but it is interesting that this was used by other countries of the world as an example of american control over the internet. and, therefore, why they had to restrict internet freedoms in their country. and these two responses are indicative of the decisions that you all have to make every day, that we have to make, that here -- you know, the commissioner is saying that it hurts internet freedom if you do this. , the other hand, countries one coming up this next month in rio, are arguing that america's role in this, and i can't give the basis for why they themselves can't trust the
internet and have to get in and do it themselves. that's the challenge that we all face. and in a dynamic situation like the internet, as the commissioner said, the multistake holder process has proven itself to be far smarter than people like us. and my understanding is that what this is allowing for the multistakeholder process to work. >> on c-span this morning, e.p.a. gina mccarthy testified before the public works committee. then a discussion with the reporters regarding the snowden leaks storyifment live at 7:00 a.m. eastern washington journal examines rising rates of
>> we have to remember two things, i think. first, we're there because we were attacked in new york city and 3,000 americans were murdered. that's why we went to afghanistan to get those people who were killing us. and second, president obama has said there's a limit to this within two years we're not doing it any more. so i agree with you at some
point you have to let them do it. but in our first goal, if we get away from the afghans et cetera and look at what our first goal was. if i had told you or any listeners in 2001 that we would not be attacked again in the united states of america for the next decade, none of us would have believed that because at that point al qaeda had more of the advantage. now we really have al qaeda and the terrorists definitely on the defensive. so we can at this point get out most of our forces from afghanistan. so i agree with you. but we've been successful in what we really wanted to do as a country. and that is to protect ourselves.
e.p.a. administrator gina mccarthy testified before the senate environment and public works committee about president obama's 7.9 billion budget request for the e.p.a. topics including e.p.a. regulations on the coal industry. this is an hour and 20 minutes. e.p.a.'s mission is to protect the public health and the environment through programs that address clean air childrens health safe drinking water toxics and water quality. like other federal angesizz e.p.a. has been asked to do more with less. five years ago their budget was
10.3 billion and the 2015 budget request we're going to discuss today has been reduced to 7.9. a 23% cut. and i am particularly concerned about the proposed cut to the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds and the diesel emissions grant programs. these are critical to protecting our public health. in addition to funding cuts e.p.a. has faced other challenges including a rogue employee who has been sentenced to prison for defrauding the american taxpayers. i appreciate the work the inspector general did to ferret out this employee and i would like to commend the administrator for bringing his actions to light. e.p.a. has over 15,000 employees and just like any organization public private even the military there are bound to be a few outliars who must be held accountable. but with thousands of dedicated employees e.p.a. has demonstrated repeated success
in improving our families' health by keeping the nation's air and water clean and safe. for example, in 2010 alone the clean air standard and program under the clean air act prevented 13 million lost work days, prevented more than 160,000 deaths from air pollution, prevented 3.2 million lost school days, prevented 1.7 million as ma attacks. i can't find very many agencies that could say that. i want to show a picture of the clean air or what happens when you don't pay attention. this is a photograph china. we don't need to have a theory on this. we see what happens when countries don't value their people enough to protect them from dirty air. and actually there was a new study that shows 3.7 million people worldwide have died prematurely from outdoor air pollution. we also know over the last 40 years while there are people
railing against e.p.a., the economy has grown 212% while air pollution has dropped 68%. a responsible budget must not lose sight of our top priorities including protecting the health and safety of the people. what's at stake if we do not have adequate safeguards in place. just look at west texas where 15 people died in chemical explosion or look at west virginia where a spill contaminated the water supply. by taking preventive action we can help communities avoid similar disasters and i intend next week to mark up a bill that senator manchen wrote with senator rock if he willer and myself. i really do pray we can get that done next week here in a bipartisan way. we'll get it done but i'm hoping for bipartisanship because when you have chemicals that are not regulated and they are sitting on top of a
drinking water supply look what happened to that town economically when their drinking water was destroyed. i think we need to act. i also want to thank e.p.a. for proposal a rule to clarify the jurisdiction of the clean water act. many colleagues on both sides of the aisle along with dozens of organizations including ducks unlimited, the farm bureau, national mining association, national association of home builders have repeatedly called on e.p.a. and the corps to go through a formal rule making to clear up the uncertainty created by two confusing supreme court decisions. this will now proceed through an open and transparent process where all views can be heard including those whose views dimp. the proposed rule ensures protections for the wetlands and small streams that could be a source of drinking water for over 117 million americans. for the first time e.p.a. has listed bodies of water exempted
from this, including ditches, reflecting pools and swimming pools. scuke to enter into the record the full list of exemptions. without objection. e.p.a. has a record that americans can be proud of. and i want to show you the support that e.p.a. has in the public. we have it on a chart here. the american people know what you're doing. and they appreciate what you're doing. 66% of voters favor e.p.a. updating air pollution standards by setting stricter limits. 72% of voters support new standards for carbon pollution from power plants. so i have to stop. i'm holding myself to 5 minutes. thank you for being here. i would call on our ranking member senator vitter. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you for being with us. this is a very important oversight hearing about e.p.a.'s budget and overall what's going on at e.p.a., its management practices, how it's
being run. this committee obviously has that fundamental oversight responsibility. the starkest example of concerns about how e.p.a. is being run what i would characterize as a long-term culture at e.p.a. is the case of the former senior e.p.a. official john beal. of course he has turned out to be a manipulator and charlotten of renowned proportions. we now know that e.p.a. rather than take action against a fake c.i.a. agent who stole over $1 million of taxpayer money, this and other failings are detailed in a series of memoranda issued by my committee staff which i would like to enter into the record at this time. this memorandum exposes an indisputeable time line that raises questions not just about
john beal but about e.p.a. in january 2011, ms. mccarthy was informed that beal had been receiving erroneous bonus payments but actually elevated his salary above a statutory cap. and was advised by her human resources staff and legal counsel to cancel the bonus. instead, she deferred to an e.p.a. official equal to her in rank at the time allegedly because of uncertainty over beal's c.i.a. status. however, a senior e.p.a. official directly informed ms. mccarthy that there were no c.i.a. employees at e.p.a. while it appears ms. mccarthy believed the matter was closed when beal announced his retirement, in may 2011, she learned in march 2012 that beal had not retired and in fact collected full pay plus the legal retention bonus of
$42,768. ms. mccarthy took no action against beal for nearly a year after this. finally, cansling the illegal bonus in february 2013. and instead of firing beal, ms. mccarthy allowed him to row tire two months later with full benefits. it's now clear that beal also led one of e.p.a.'s most significant rule makings prior to that the 199 97 national air quality standards for ozone and plart matter. this effort codified e.p.a.'s tick of using fine par emission.e agency's still the agency refuses to provide the data underpinning these costly regulations. collectively beal and his best friend robert brener's work on the standard introduced a series of dubious actions at
that the agency has continued to follow and comprised my committee staff has referred to as e.p.a.'s playbook as detailed in a staff report issued last week on this issue. i would like to enter that into the record. >> wousmed. >> the obama e.p.a. has embraced the strategies of this playbook and pursued ideologically driven agendas as much the way beal did pushing through controversial regulations where the ends justifies the means done by subtle agreements, excluding public participation, employing heavy handed management of the review process, inflating purported benefits, and quite frankly just hiding science. e.p.a.'s continued use of the playbook has led to dire consequences for americans. for example, in march 10 of this year the "new york times" reported on the story of 81-year-old earnstein cundiff of columbus, ohio, a bibetic
with deteriorating health living on a fixed income. she now struggles to pay her energy bills as a direct result of e.p.a. air regulations that have shut down electricity generation in her part of the country. to advance e.p.a.'s extreme agenda, it is also clear that this e.p.a. extends its regulatory arm with complete disregard for american taxpayer dollars. and we have many examples of that. these examples of waste and abuse make congressional oversight absolutely critical. that is why this learg and follow-up work is so enormously important to get at this concerning culture of which unfortunately john beal is just the poster child not the full extent. thank you. >> i want to place in the record a counter to some of these things. an article in the "washington post" that says outside of
zpwina mccarthy, there wasn't ever in all the years under the bush administration republican and democratic administration no one ever stopped beal except gina mccarthy. we'll put that in the record. we'll call on senator white house. >> thank you madam chair and administrator mccarthy for being here. you exercise one of the most important responsibilities of the federal government to protect human health and the environment. and i applaud your service. i'm sorry this issue has become so partisan. i have the seat of senator john chafee who was both a republican and environmentalist and i'm sorry that combination of features no longer seems possible in washington. you had to do more with less. i appreciate that.
there are people here who want you to do less with less. they don't want e.p.a. to be efficient they want it to be wounded and to be unable to protect the american public. but i urge you to continue your work. your tier 3 motor vehicle rule for instance will prevent as many as 2,000 premature deaths and 30,000 respiratory illnesses in children every year. the health benefits of the rule can actually be quantity fid and have been quantity fid to between 6.7 and $19 billion in value to the american public every year. this is a particularly important health victory in states like rhode island where more than one in ten of our citizens suffer from as ma. there may be people here who don't care about that but i do and i think it's important that the public health side of the equation be recognized as well. i also applaud your efforts to regulate the carbon emissions that are coming from first to
be new power plants and then shortly the regulations we hope for on existing power plants. we hope that we can do some work on your funding. it is unfortunate that because of cuts funding for clean water and drinking water state resolving funds had to be reduced by 30% and 17% respectively. those are important programs for our home states. it is also unfortunate that lack of resources has required e.p.a. to delay some of its work at least in part due to the lack of resources. the coal ash standards the obama administration committed to was the result of a dam collapse in tennessee and a coal ash spill 100 times the size of the exxon valdez oil spill. in the last few weeks tens of thousands of tons of coal ash
contaminated 70 miles of river in north carolina and virginia. e.p.a.'s finally published the proposed rules in june 2010. there has not been action since. the federal court has finally instructed e.p.a. to complete the rule this year. i hope the recent episodes with coal ash disaster have motivated you despite the cuts. but that is the price of putting e.p.a. under the kind of financial pressure when you want people not to do more with less but less with less then that's what you get and i think it's very unfortunate for north carolina and virginia. so i look forward to working with you. we actually at last have a budget time frame that will allow appropriators to work through budgets and get into some detail rather than have at ashes and brinkmanship tend between the president and the speaker, for instance, without senators having an opportunity to participate.
so i'm looking forward to working on that process. and please continue to go forward on compliment change. it is way past the denial as the recorrect report shows, as nasa scientists have showed. i find it remarkable that people contend that nasa doesn't know what it's doing when they have an suv-sized vehicle driving around on the surface of mars right now. that's a good sign these people know their science. so thank you for being here. you have fans and supporters. we will have your back. >> senator thank you for staying so well within your time. the reason i am going to have a tough gavel is we have votes. so we will now turn to senator crapeo followed by -- he came before you did but it's up to you. either way. >> go ahead. >> thank you for holding this important hearing on the fiscal year budget proposal.
thank you ministrator mccarthy for us today. i would like to ecothe concerns about john beal. it seems difficult to conclude that any of mr. beal's work on the many initiatives under his purview can be trusted at face value. as such i would like to take this opportunity to urge for a robust review of all rule makings and regulatory actions connected with mr. beal's service. moving to the budget in particular, the federal government continues to face siver budget challenges and further attention is need bid congress in order to improve our long term fiscal outlook. and knowing the funding priorities of executive branch agency is an important resource as congress prepares its own budget. i understand the e.p.a. like all federal agencies has been working to do its part in achieving deficit reduction. however, i am perplexed by some of what i see in the e.p.a.'s budget proposal.
in reviewing the budget proposal i'm concerned the agency has proposed funding reductions for programs that enjoy strong bipartisan support and are critical programs while increasing funding for programs on initiatives that remain controversial. specifically, at a time when we've just heard about a new proposal for what i consider to be nothing more than a jurisdictional power grab over water with regard to our clean water act and safe drinking water statutes, we also see in the budget proposal the proposed reduction of funding for the clean water and safe drinking water state revolving loan funds. that's a big concern to me. i think we all in america know that we're facing over 200 billion of infrastructure needs in these arenas and we have been working for years to try to get adequate budgets to help our nation deal with its aging water infrastructure. and to see over $580 million in reduction of that budget when
other parts of the e.p.a. budget could have been looked to for the necessary savings is disturbing. the small communities who need this assistance to ensure that their water system meet regulations are going to be badly harmed by this decision. additionally, the proposed reduction in funding for the brownfields programs is discouraging. just last summer i cochaired a subcommittee hearing in which we heard about the positive impact this program has had in idaho and across the nation. also many of my colleagues and i continue to have serious concerns with the president's climate action plan. and the use of executive authority to circumvent congress. the e.p.a.'s 2015 budget proposal clearly advocates the continuation of this alarming process. there are many other things i could say be in terms of trying to pay attention to the hairman's admon mission keep it brief i will add with -- i will end with this.
i encourage you to find a way to help us move forward in correcting that trend and in fact help us to get increased resources into this critical part of our nation's water infrastructure. thank you. >> senator thank you so much. senator booker. >> thank you very much chairwoman for this opportunity. i want to thank not only the chairwoman but ranking member vitter for holding this hearing. i just want to welcome you. i'm very excited about your leadership and opportunity as a new senator to serve with you because for me it's very obvious that the e.p.a.'s mission to protect public health is severely urgent in the state of new jersey we have more super fund sites than any other state. it is appalling how we in the past have not stepped up to hold people accountable for the messes they are making and we're spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money. i believe unnecessarily. and costs should have been
internalized by industry. so i believe right now it's appropriate and important that the proposed e.p.a. budget for 2015 needs to make addressing climate change as one of the agency's top objectives. we must address the threats posed by climate change before it's too late. and that we're cleaning up the more expensive damage it will do in the future. i'm pleased to see in your budget proposed requests to allocate increased resources to climate change and air quality work and to see funding specifically dedicated -- and this gets me very excited -- for preparing for the impacts of climate change. that includes technical assistance, adapttation, planning for risks, association with storm surges, a threat we're familiar with in new jersey. new jersey is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. scientists at rutgers estimate the new jersey shore will likely experience a sea level 2050. 1.5 feet by
the projections for new jersey are higher than average sea level rise it also demonstrates the continued commitment to addressing the issues of environmental justice, an area i would like to work closely with you as we move forward. lima change does not impact everyone equally. they will be just poor shortly impacted. in today's economy many people live in vulnerable and many fees and are one paycheck away from the devastating impact of poverty. one major storm can do story fragile networks. we must be prepared for increasing climate change.
low income and minority communities are systematically more likely to lack parks and trees and have a higher concentration of pavement and we welcome your communities and when i was mayor, is approximately 70% of the service impervious. it has only 15% canopy coverage. this can be 50 or 90 degrees above the temperature of a green surface. this results in increased bikes -- increased spikes in asthma rates and more cases of heatstroke. epa has taken important first steps to work carbon emissions by setting standards that will cut this
nearly in half by 2025. we know the power plants make up at least a third. i commend the work to limit greenhouse gas emissions from both new and existing power plants. the epa has the authority and responsibility to reduce pollution from these plants. i look forward to working with you on these issues. i admire your courage in this overly artisan debate. we share one common destiny, the the truth is, threats to our climate are real and obvious. we can do things to address it that increase economic opportunity for our nation to make this a country with liberty and justice for all. for that i thank you for stepping forward. i look forward to working with you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. even though we have a good personal relationship, i am growing increasingly concerned about the epa's systematic
distortion of costs and benefits. we hear a lot about the benefits but not the cost. agency exerts just as much effort to cut corners and ignore the realities that they can downplay the true economic cost of these regulation. this enables the agency to enact outlandish rules that cause harm to the economy. without any respect to the cost-benefit balance enshrined in the foundation of our environmental laws. this topic has been focused to the committee by the recent report we are to talked about. -- we have already talked about. it is more damage than the money he stole from the taxpayers. he and others wrote the playbook on how to get away from this -- get away with this distortion
of cost and benefit. it is time to aggressively rein in this crisis. the clean air act requires the roles to be updated periodically but only as technology allows him to the extent that the benefits outweigh the rules to the economy. the epa stated the rule would create 46,000 temporary construction jobs and 8000 net new permanent jobs. now that this rule has set in, we are starting to see the real impact. the rule has not only have had a devastating impact on coal production but it resulted in dozens of power plants being shut down which has caused significant increases in electricity prices around the country. the new york times reported on these impacts to underline the -- underlying the growing
concern among consumers and regulators is a second phenomenon that can lead to even bigger price increases. old coal-fired power plants could close in the next year because of rules. it could lead to a squeeze and -- in supplies, making it even harder and much more than sent to supply power. that is all in a quote from the "new york times." this is already happening. they received permission to raise prices 12% over the previous year. in pennsylvania, utility bills have tripled in some places. shocking to me is "the new york what is times" is connecting these increases back to the epa regulations. is it even remotely possible that they created a thousand i
-- 8000 net permanent jobs as the epa said it would. how is that possible? when business cost goes up it lowers profits. it puts strains on the margins of the business. when an input cost begins to soar and cost or wobble in -- the impactnd is negative and felt across the entire economy. it destroys jobs. that the obama epa can get away with this distortion cruise the -- proves that the agency is out of control. it is too important for us not to. the epa's impact may be cold now but we know next it will be natural gas. they are content to carry out
what the sierra club has named its beyond natural gas campaign. beyond they did with the coal campaign. we in the senate are charged with stewarding this nation. they are most at risk for reason -- losing their own. -- for losing their homes and health due to skyrocketing this utility bills. is exactly what will happen. it is our job to watch out for them. these are the most vulnerable people. i would only say that i'm going to have to excuse myself for a while foreign armed services obligation but i will be coming right back. hopefully we'll have a chance to respond to some of these comments concerning climate change.
>> i am excited about what you said about the elderly. must there is objection, we're going to hear from the two senators who have not been heard from and then i'm going to shut down the comments so that we can get to jenny mccarthy and colleagues can do their opening statements. that is excellent. >> i think that is a very good solution. i would like to ask unanimous consent to place in the record and op-ed from the "wall street journal" entitled how carbon dioxide became a pollutant. >> without objection. >> i do it for this purpose. we have had a lots of discussion in the form of opening statements about the proven dreaded result of particulate
pollution and poisons put into our environment. everyone in this room agrees. with her discussions and statements about respiratory illnesses, endorsements by the american lung association, we have talked about asthma and particulate pollution in china. this awful picture that the chairman assured of smog in china. of coal ash. super funds sites. then without making any distinction at all between these poisons and particulate pollution's, my friends on the other side switched almost in the same sentence to climate change. the target there is greenhouse gases. making no distinction between the fact that co2 and greenhouse gases have nothing to do with respiratory illnesses or lung disease or asthma.
something we're are all very much interested in. i would point out to my colleagues that toward the end of this op-ed, epa acknowledged some positive impacts from higher co2 concentration. one is faster growing trees that helps offset deforestation. epa has acknowledged that. another is that marshes can grow more quickly above rising sea levels against particular ravages of rising sea levels. i would just point out that there are differences on this committee about the effect of co2 on climate change. no one is suggesting that co2 causes lung disease, asthma, or
the kind of smog that the chairman talked about. i will tell you what we do agree on. we agree that there are some mighty fine programs that the administration is posing cuts for. the budget of the administration proposes cutting $430 million from the clean water revolving loan fund. $150 million from the drinking water fund, $5 million from the brownfield program. this is something we can all agree on. these are proven programs that are well received by state and local communities that have encouraged to work with communities in a cooperative manner. these are more troubling considering that some estimate the amount to bring local what -- local water infrastructure with compliance is over $2.5
trillion. we need to be helping local communities rather than putting unfunded mandates on them. federal agencies are having to make tough decisions to rein in the countries. i would rather we help communities with safe drinking water and safe air rather than putting some funding of dubious value into co2 regulation in the name of climate change. i'm also concerned that the epa addresses out of compliance communities with subpoenas and civil action when we should be coming to them with technical assistance and grants. small and rural communities must funnel funds away from schools and hospitals, i question the efficacy of this approach. i raise many of these questions.
i look forward to questioning her about these in the future. i hope we can work together on -- to strengthen the partnership between the epa and small, rural communities in developing regulations to protect our environment and our citizens. this is an issue upon which republicans and democrats can agree. >> thank you. senator sessions. >> senator wicker, thank you for saying what you said. it was very important. co2 is odorless, tasteless. plants breathe it in and grow faster when there is more co2. a fact that which cannot be denied. we need to differentiate that between the kinds of actual
pollutants that make people sick. we can do that. we have made a lot of progress in america to clean up the air. we need to keep at it but be smart about it. it is a bit disingenuous when i hear people say carbon, carbon, carbon, when they really mean co2. it makes people think of soot they use the word carbon andit makes people think of soot in particular its and things of that nature. issue somewhat. wereally misrepresents the will see interest on our debt grow from $211 billion last year according to the congressional budget office to $880 billion in one year, 10 years from now. every agency has got to watch it spending. congress has a clear duty to monitor spending. the ozone standard that you saw
, or your department saw to advance early is an example i believe of wasted money. in 2008 after a process that took eight years, epa tightened significantly the ozone standard. that was done in a proper way under the clean air act the . standard was to be reviewed ozone again in five years. almost immediately upon coming yet in the office, the obama epa , began a costly and premature process of reconsidering the ozone standard to make it even more stringent. this reconsideration was recognized as one of the most expensive environmental regulations ever proposed with some estimates reaching $90 billion in annual costs i . objected to that. 30 senators wrote to object to that. that decision was reversed. i simply asked how much did this cost?
, how much was it undertaken before it was abandoned? how much money was spent on that? i have inquired of it on several different occasions. i would offer for the record a letter that i wrote the letter that you wrote to me, a letter that was written by members of this committee asking about an analysis of what you spent. in effect, eu responded this -- you responded this way. or at least your system administrator did. it is difficult for them to estimate with any precision the expenses and equivalent employees used for the reconsideration of the 2008 ozone standard specifically. it is not difficult for you to
answer that question. it is a direct refusal to answer. you said at the hearing here that you would do that. i asked you to provide a response. can you not provide us the information we ask? i think it is the responsible action for us to ask about. we will continue to press it. i will wrap up. madam chairman thank you for the , opportunity to ask these questions. i will share senator wicker's
are moving money from state programs for clean water and water treatment to the bureaucracy at epa. i think that is the wrong path to take. >> thank you so much for keeping it under the time limit. yes, administrator mccarthy, it is your turn. welcome. >> thank you for the opportunity to discuss the proposed 2015 budget. i am joined by the agency's acting chief financial officer. the budget request is $7.980 billion dollars for the 2015 fiscal year. this meets the challenges of domestic spending constraints while still fulfilling our mission to protect public health. the budget reflects the epa's plans to take advantage of
new technologies and regulatory and nonregulatory approaches. it recognizes that epa is part of a larger network of environmental programs. this budget will provide the support for a smaller workforce by focusing on real progress in priority areas, and communities about lima change and air quality, toxics and air safety as well as clean water. for $7.5 million 64 staff in fiscal year 2015 to help provide green infrastructure technical assistance for up to 100 communities to promote cost-effective approaches. the budget request continues. we will do more to partner with state and local government and other federal agencies. this is the largest percentage of the epa budget. addressing the threat from a changing climate is one of the
greatest challenges of this and future generations. the request designates money specifically for this work or at the agency is adding $10 million in fiscal year 2015 to support the action plan. the agency will develop common sense and achievable power plants. the single largest source of carbon pollution. the epa budget requests money to support work to improve chemical safety for all americans, especially our children. we are requesting $23 million in 2015 to support activities under the president's executive order on chemical safety as well as agency outfits on chemical prioritization. the nation's water resources are the lifeblood of our communities.
we are requesting $1.775 billion for the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds. the agency is also directing $8 million to advance clean water infrastructure and sustainable design. e-enterprise is a major joint initiative between epa and the states to modernize our business practices to get us into the 21st century to develop a new business model that looks toward the future. the benefits of implementing that enterprise initiative can be seen in the budget. just the e-enterprise alone is estimated senate finally in dollars.
in fiscal year 2015, the agency is requesting $1.33 billion to continue to apply effective approaches. this strategy will $1.16 billion ensure land is returned to beneficial use. for superfunds for remedial work and an increase of $9.2 million for emergency response and removal. the fiscal year 2015 budget includes a total of $1.13 billion in categorical grants. within that total is over $96 million for tribal general assistance program grants. an $18 million increase for pollution control, $16 million for environmental grants and $50
-- and a $15 million increase for state and local air quality management. science is supported by the president's budget request of $537.3 million. lastly across the administration we recognize the importance of , the two-year budget agreement congress reached in december. but the resulting funding levels are not sufficient to expand opportunities to all americans to drive the growth. the epa would be the beneficiary of approximately $15 million. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i'll take your questions. >> i'm taken by some of the
comments by my colleagues. i have such great relationships. this idea that the republican support cracking down on the ozone and particulate matter is not true. all you have to do is listen to these comments. i want to put in the record the endangerment finding started under the bush administration from too much carbon pollution. we know you need a certain amount in the air but too much is dangerous. this is what it says. it started with bush and completed under obama. was climate change threatens human health in many ways including impacts from extreme weather events, wildfire, diseases air quality, transmitted by insects, food and water. there are cases of kids swimming in lakes that used to be much colder.
now they are warmer and there's different kinds of bacteria and amoebas. one child got a brain disease swimming in a lake in ohio. we will put that into the wrecker. -- into the record. for people to say it is no danger is simply contradicted by the facts and science. also i want to ask you a couple , of things. there is intent to blame this on this rogue employee who is now in jail. is it not true that any kind of proposed rule goes through public comments, peer review, and isency review subjected to judicial review? is that not so? ok. that is the case with all of these rules. i also want to show you what is happening in california. i think you know this.
i want to show you what happened but in the clean air with the dirty air. in our state, we used to have days where there were health advisories and people cannot -- could not go out. every time i hear others complain about these rules, saying this is baloney and there were no benefits, i say excuse me. open your eyes. look what happened in a lay in -- in los angeles in southern california. we had 166 advisories. people were warned not to go out. everyone said they care about the elderly. we all do. this was huge for the elderly population to be able to go out and breathe air. now in 2010, we had zero health advisories. i would say were you aware of this in southern california? are there other places you could find similar results in the country? >> yes.
>> i also wanted to share something else with you which is this is about climate change. a poll number on all of this. my colleagues are railing against it. that we had an all-nighter is a fact, they are. that was organized and we did hear from senator inhof. he railed against what we were he came down and doing. he said it is a hoax. we respect him and his view. but no one came down here. this is where people are. i am so sorry to have to say this in partisan terms. i served with the great john chafee. i served with the great john warner.
i saw bipartisan support to move. i see none of it now. it is sad. it is sad. the reasons i do not even want to go into. i think i know why. the bottom line is 81% of americans think climate change will be a serious problem if nothing is done to reduce it. thank you for doing what you do. despite all the pressure, despite all the insults, send of the population thinks that america should take action. we do not wait for china to decide how to treat our people. we are america. the american people get it. i do not have a lots of questions for you. you will get plenty. keep going. i just want to say keep doing what you are doing based on science. >> thank you.
i am going to use my very limited time to ask some questions about the jon biel case. i believe it reflects a deeply broken bureaucracy long-term. it is not an isolated incident. they are developing key epa regulations. isn't it true that you receive -- you received a memo on january 12th 2011 in form and you that the salary was illegal and exceeded the statutory cap and recommending that. >> it is true that i became aware of the bonus, yes. >> isn't it true that you did not cancel that illegal bonus until over two years later?
>> what is true is i did pursue that issue effectively. i think the agency was adjusting it effectively. >> you knew it was illegal january 12 2011. it was canceled 2013. this is a criminal that had systematically intended to defraud the agency. he is in federal prison right the good news is that now. >> you knew the bonus was illegal and it went on for two years. >> i understood it was being investigated. i sent it to the people who investigated it. >> why were you reluctant to take action? >> i understood the issue would be referred to the office of
inspector general. you need to give them the opportunity to see if it will be managed criminally. they have stated gina is reluctant to finalize cancellation of the bonus unless oarm gives the indication that they are aware. >> i do know what you are -- i do not know what you are reading. >> that was an e-mail from susan smith. that was a direct quote from her. >> i have never had a conversation with her. >> were you concerned to act until the white house looked into it and made sure that there will not be any political fallout? >> i have no interaction with the white house on this issue whatsoever. >> that was not the question. were you concerned the white house looked at this first?
>> there was never a concern of mine. >> did you ever talk to scott munroe about that? >> many times. i spoke to him about mr. biel. >> this same e-mail says scott munroe told her that you had those concerns. is that just not true? about the white house >> i never have concerns interference. >> he is not speaking correctly? >> not based on any conversation he had with me. >> why did it take two years to cancel this bonus? it is just flat out illegal. why did it take two years to cancel that? >> i referred this to the appropriate authorities. we did get to the bottom of it. it might have taken longer than any of us would have liked. he did not go off into the sunshine.
>> he did. he did go out. >> you knew it was about the cap. >> every employee has the right to retirement. i am sure he exercised that right. >> you told the oig that you be relied on great looks for advice. they're asking to stand down on the matter. is that accurate? >> that was my recollection. >> are you aware that said he never told you to stand down? >> i am not aware of that.
>> you stand by your previous statement. >> sure. >> thank you very much. it looks like we are going to hear a lot more about it. his seat representatives of the employees at epa in terms of work ethic or any other feature? should the misconduct he engaged in find attribution by association to the rest of the employees at epa? >> i'm so glad you asked that question.
he is in no way indicative of employees at epa. they are hard-working, professional, dedicated public servants. i have 16,000 people who in no way represent him or anything having to do with him. in fact the most devastating , part of all of this is any indication that is the case. i am extraordinarily honored to be in the position i am in with them. >> over the years. i have known epa employees over the years. in the effort to tar all employees with the misconduct of one criminal is reprehensible. >> let's go to the merits of all of this. where are you on methane leakage?
this is over burning coals from the point of view of polluting our environment. if it is not burned, if it leaks, it is actually worse than carbon dioxide. getting after this and making sure it is not leaking is important. without that, they cannot make the argument that it is an improved fossil fuel. it loses the battle and becomes just as bad or perhaps worse than coal. the leakage becomes very vital. can you let us know where you are on that? >> it is a big issue. you know the epa has arty issued -- has already issued rules that are driving the recapture of methane and natural gas well. we're also working with the
larger administration to look at all of the challenges to see potential solutions for reducing methane. you will be seeing that shortly. >> i appreciate it. i feel that my time. >> i want to ask three questions real quick. we will talk fast, here. on january 10, 2014 you sent a letter to the president of the national resource defense -- of the natural resources defense council. they are undertaking this related to shale gas development.
you state that epa is working on the national research study on the potential impacts of drinking. -- as you know, we can call as impacts on drinking water sources. many things as we want. would you commit to me that the study evaluates potential impacts, the epa will work with the industry to determine the probability of attentional actions occurring and feature those together with what is so -- what is very similar to what united did before? >> i will make that commitment to work. >> in the same e say they are working closely and supporting the efforts for onshore oil and gas order. can you provide the committee with any data or summaries?
my concern is i would like to have industry and we can talk about how to set this and evaluate the data. would you be willing to do that? >> i am quite sure that blm is doing their outreach. we're just providing >> i would comment to blm. >> i would like to see the data. i could do that myself. >> it would be data that is already readily available. >> fair enough. the reason i'm introducing the 321 legislation is because i know the epa is not looking at the cascading impacts of the rules to determine the costs it will have on the economy. you look for the benefits and not the costs. i want to ask you do you think , the regulations have a cost on the economy beyond the regulating?
you know what i am talking about here. looking down the road, do you agree with that? >> we do the best we can to a value of all costs and benefits. his is an issue that senator vitter raise with us. >> ok. they're going to be meeting. this will be on the ozone standard. it is my understanding that they recommend a review of standards as low as 60 parts per billion. it was 80 part and then we went down 60 parts. behind me you will see a map if these were lowered to that level. we talked about 60 parts per billion. nearly every county would be
out. if you notice, even the grand canyon area. it was happened, essentially closed the whole nation for business. it would result in millions of job losses. do you think this was not acceptable? >> we are in the middle of the science process. i would rather not speak of any outcome. >> i will give you a hypothetical. if it should come to 60, i do not think you can refute the accuracy of these charts. find that to be unacceptable? >> this is established. >> this is the problem. i've lived with this for several do youi've lived with this for several think that is wise? years. they say you cannot talk about
the cost of these things. why not? people out there are hurting. the senator from new jersey was saying where i disagreed with him. i think all of these regulations are going to cost the poor more than the more affluent people. they spend a higher percentage of their income on heating their homes. do you think it is right that we should do that? >> i think it is absolutely right that the science question that asks what is healthy should be answered [inaudible] we're talking about how, to the exclusion of looking at it in terms of the public -- >> we have to move on. please keep it to your five minutes. >> i certainly will. my colleagues were talking about mistaking the impact of co2 in the air.
please help me understand, co2 in the air causes global warming. if you have a preponderance of warming, it has effects on our climates. if you have effects on the climate, it affects everything from the health of our oceans, from coral reefs to the fishing patterns. correct? >> that is correct. >> when you're talking about issues of regulatory health, when the air gets warmer, i have seen it, i have a lot of experience in public schools. when the temperatures warm you have a lot more pieces of regulatory. there is a direct correlation between respiratory problems and disruptions of fisheries and
disruptions of economies and sea levels rising. >> that is correct. >> when epa issues propose carbon and pollution standards for existing power plants this year, do you contemplate the states that are not participating in the greenhouse gas initiatives will be able to use that program to meet their new obligations? >> we think it could be quite preferable. we're going to make sure the standard is flexible enough for states to consider the choices. >> i think these are phenomenal things. if new jersey fails to rejoin the regional work on this, what types of actions will new jersey need to take in order to comply? likely >> we have not put out the new regulations. they have other opportunities for greenhouse gas reductions. having participated in the
reggie process is a pretty cost effective program to achieve significant reduction. >> it is an easy way for new jersey to meet this by being a part of our surrounding state. we have a lot more burden if we are not part of that. a lot more levels to hit in order to comply. >> it certainly would be a good choice. >> lastly, i know that your epa has a tremendous amount on your plate during 30 years is too long to wait. can i have your commitment that it will be a priority? when you see what happens you allow pollutants to answer this. poor people suffer. they would go to the river and fish. this has been taken away.
corporations have polluted the river and have taken that away. collects i have already had two briefings. i look forward to talking to you about it. i usually give her a raise. -- you should give her a raise. >> ok. it, senator? >> i would be happy to preside over this hearing if you would like. >> thank you for the offer. i will take it under advisement. don't you want to vote? >> i'm going to vote when the chair builds. somehow i believe the president somehow i believe the president -- when the chair votes.
of the senate is going to wait for senator boxer to vote. senator booker, sometimes it is 10 degrees in newark. sometimes it is 85 or 90 degrees. a wide range of temperatures in newark. is it your testimony that temperatures have risen 1.i over theby 1.5 degrees last two decades because of climate change? i you telling me that there is scientific evidence that that fact more lung disease among causes children? >> you look generally at three decade or longer. decades.
one of the lines of evidence has increased. >> in the brief time you have to answer the question my question , is that increases in the cause moreperature lung disease among children. is that supported by the science? >> the science tells us when the temperature gets warmer it increases the level of ozone and the ozone pollution actually has an impact on rest for tory -- on respiratory health, as well as cardiac health. >> i would be interested in any for theic basis statement that increased average temperatures actually increase
respiratory disease among children. >> we have it on the webpage. >> let me ask you briefly. if i can talk about air grant money. this is something we ought to be able to agree on. money ought to go where the problem is. there is a decades old epa allocation formula that gives the southeast region 12%. actually we have 20% of the nation's population. it is limiting access to resources for the state to get their fair share. >> we have been proposing to change that formula and to allocate resources differently giving the changes that have
happened over the past deck -- past decade. we certainly feel there is a need for change over time. congress has provided language that does not allow us to do that last year. we will see what happens in fiscal year 2015. >> was this a rider to an appropriation bill or statute? >> it is a congressional report act language prohibited epa from implementing the revised allocation methodology. they have done that since fiscal year 11 when we first proposed it. >> i would like to work with you on that problem. let's talk about helping local governments implements the upgrades required to waste water treatment facilities.
many of these towns do not have the tax base to meet the cost of grading their waste water -- of upgrading their wastewater systems. not acting results in harsh fines by the epa. as several questions regarding clean water. you said you would work with me on that. i am just concerned that we do not have a proposal going forward. we're announcing proposal to cut -- we are now seeing a proposal from the administration to cut this $581 million to the state revolving funds. >> i am sorry. we have to move on.
>> as a witness get to answer the question? >> we have five minutes they are spending a lot of time and resources on keeping their units and compliance with regulations. i do not think they are able to spend the time and resources on innovations that could lessen our dependence on coal. we have an example. we have a nebraska utility which is les. it owns 10% of the coal powered power plants in wyoming. the wyoming department of environmental quality proposed a
plan to address regional haze that would require technology costing approximately $100 million. so the shares of about 10 million. the epa rejected the wyoming deq plan and substituted its own plant that requires technology at 800 million which is about 80 million for the city of lincoln. they would have to provide that. there would be very small improvements in visibility. this difference is going to deprive the utility of moving forward. we are talking of a fairly small city. it is small nationally. this is just one example. i believe this is replicated across the country. les is a leader.
the citizens in the city of lincoln want to move forward in that direction. polls have shown they are not willing to pay for it. think that is also replicated across the country. the costs especially when they that are incurred some time, and have to meet requirements from the epa. what are your feelings on that? do you see that policy moving forward? are you going to try to reach out more to help utilities be responsible? >> we are doing our best to understand how we can keep the lights on and keep it reliable. we're also working very closely with the states on the regional haze issue. we understand there are important environmental benefits
but they have to be looked at in , the context of how much they cost and what they do in terms of moving the clean energy system forward. we hear about war on coal. collectswe hear about war on coal. you hear about that as well? is there a war on coal? a lot of people in nebraska think there is. do you think it is fair to say the epa has somewhat of a war on coal? i do not think that is fair to say. >> i have a few seconds left. i am very concerned about the water rules that are coming up from the epa. i believe we managed this in a very responsible way.
i hope that you will have a long time there. >> thank you. we will put your questions and get those into the record. andy versus epa. a county resident faces $75,000 in daily fines for response. i want to ask about the epa's specific website for the new proposed waters of the u.s. role. the apa has a section entitled fact sheet. how the proposed waters of the u.s. rules benefits agriculture. rule, theproposed army corps will exempt 53 farming practices.
this means that any farmer or rancher uses those 53 practices would be exempt. does not cover all existing agriculture practices. there are a number of farming and ranching practices that aren't covered on the list. rule,the new proposed will those farmers and ranchers need to get a permit or find that they are penalized if they continue to use those noncovered 53 practices? >> actually, it is not taking away any of the agriculture exemptions. it is trying to provide clarity so you don't have to go and ask. that is what this rule does. it actually works in the agricultural community to identify those practices that we could highlight. good process to expand on that. it didn't take away a single agriculture exemption are currently exists.
farmers andt the ranchers that use these new covered practices, but the farmers and ranchers don't specifically follow the natural resource conservation services federal definition of these farming practices perfectly to a t in the newly expanded federal waters. with a need to get new clean water act permit or be penalized? >> nobody needs to get a permit today. should the rule go forward as , that didn't need it today. about whether you would expand to 180 days. that?e to comment on >> i can certainly respond to the senator. i don't believe that is what we are currently proposing, but as always, it able, and, we will respond to that. >> i would request as well. go right ahead, please.
toi ask unanimous consent insert into the record a letter to the administrative side but every minority member requesting that the agency provide all documents relating to the epa's proposal to cut funding for the clean water and drinking -- >> absolutely. in thegoing to put record the statement by the academy of pediatrics, american academy, quote, he caused by climate disruption is especially harmful to children. i think if you could send that to senator wicker. lastly, i must put in the record in response to senator vendors attack on you, administrative mccarthy, on deal. 26 of the and page committees briefing where the ig said you are the first person and the only senior person to call attention to this rogue employee. i want to again thank you.
i'm really sorry that you have been vilified by certain members. gu should be lauded at the i -- as the ig lauded you. 15,000nization of you are going to have some bad actors. but the vast majority of all of these people in the private sector and public sector and the epa and military are fantastic. so let's just try not to brush everybody with the ugliness and i thank you for doing what you did to call attention. >> i am incredibly proud of the folks that work at epa. >> thank you.