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tv   EPA Administrator Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  January 19, 2019 10:24am-12:14pm EST

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>> you spent time in the governor's office. can you talk about that? >> the state government has 14,000 employees, a $4 billion budget. ,hat might not sound like a lot but it sounds big to a country boy like me. it was an incredible opportunity to help the governor put values and views into place. the governor is the ceo of a corporation. -- chief of staff is coo. the average tenure for gubernatorial chief of staff is 18 months. when i stepped down after four years, i was the sixth longest tenured in the country and i was just as happy walking out as i was walking in. >> four years in the governor's
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office and now headed to the governor's mansion, do you have any interest returning? >> that is none of my business. south dakota has a governor that will do a fantastic job. i have got a job to do for the next two years. it would be insulting for me to take my eye off this ball and focus on one down the road. they might throw me out on my ear in 24 months, and that is their prerogative. they are less likely to do that if i take care of business. >> one part of this job that it's a lot of attention is your first floor speech. have you thought about it? >> before i start making speeches on the floor of the house, i want to be relevant. any number -- member of congress can show up and give some great oratory,th flowering
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what if nobody is listening? what if the people listening are not taking it to heart because they do not respect the speaker? maybe they will respect that member two weeks or two years down the line, but if they do not, it means nothing and it is political windowdressing. thecapable of speaking from heart and making an effective point from the podium. before i try to impress upon the people of south dakota or this body, i want to earn their respect and my words will carry more weight. >> new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. >> today is the 29th day of the government shutdown. president trump will make what he is calling a major announcement from the white house on border security and the shutdown, live at 3:00 p.m. eastern. the senate is in session due to tim kaine's objection to a
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adjournment resolution. is expected to speak with colleagues on the shutdown and returning to work. >> the senate held a confirmation hearing for andrew wheeler, president trump's pick to head the environmental protection agency in test protection agency. the senate environment and public works committee held a meeting.
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>> good morning, and welcome. this is a formal senate hearing,
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so to allow the committee to conduct of business i will maintain decorum. if there is disorder or demonstration by a member of the audience, the person will be escorted from the room by the capitol police. i call this hearing to order. we will consider the nomination of andrew wheeler to the administrator of the environmental protection agency. i want to take a moment to welcome the new members of our committee, senators braun and kramer. .elcome to the committee your experience and expertise will strengthen our committee and bring fresh perspective to debates. i would like to welcome back all of the old members of the committee. i look forward to working with each of you as we conduct the committee's business this congress, which brings us to the business of today's hearing.
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president trump has nominated andrew wheeler to serve as the administrator of the agency. he has served as deputy administrator of the epa since april 2018 when the senate confirmed his nomination with high partisan support. since july last year, he has served as the acting administrator of the epa. he has done an outstanding job leading the epa in these last months. leadership, the agency has taken significant actions to protect our environment while supporting economic growth. has takentor wheeler common sense proposals like the clean water. 2017 bipartisan reform of the toxic controlled substances he has reduced lead exposure
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with the federal lead action plan. brought -- acting administrator wheeler is very well qualified to run the environmental protection agency. before his leadership role at the agency, mr. wheeler spent 25 years in the environmental field. committee's clean air director, and finally as the consultant for a large variety of environmental clients. senator joe lieberman, who served as a member of this committee, stated when wheeler was nominated for deputy director that "mr. wheeler
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conducted himself in a fair and professional manner, and i hope that his nomination will receive similarly fair consideration by the senate." he said of mr. wheeler, he cares about the air we breathe, the what we drink, and the planet on which we live. he plays a central role in implementing programs focused on fulfilling the epa mission of protecting human health and the environment. we know how well qualified mr. wheeler is and the expertise that he will bring to this critically important job. i would now like to turn to the ranking member for his statement . thanks, mr. chairman. mr. wheeler, it is good to see you. ago, the president nominated you to be the
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administrator of the environmental protection agency. if i am not mistaken, under the federal vacancies act, you could to serve as the acting administrator and the reesident's nominee for 203 mo staffand with many epa members furloughed on the 26th day of mr. trump's shutdown, a number of democratic committee members are concerned we are rushing forward with the process. i realize we do not always agree on this. 2000-mile-long
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wall the mexicans were supposed to pay for. our environment and public health are increasingly in jeopardy. drinking water and power plant inspections are not been performed. beingund sites are not cleaned up. the safety of chemicals is not being assessed. public meetings are being canceled. and just as important, some 14,000 furloughed epa employees are unsure if they will be able to afford their mortgages, day care providers, or grocery and electricity bills. some of those furloughed have beenapparently asked to help prepare for this very hearing. yet the committee is moving forward with your nomination. i do not believe giving the acting administrator a speedy promotion is more important than protecting the public contamination to our air, water, and lands. our priority should be reopening the government -- certainly reopening the epa -- and federal
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agencies. letter, i reminded mr. wheeler of the challenge and opportunity he was granted to chart a new course for the after scott pruitt. mr. wheeler is certainly not the ethically bereft embarrassment scott pruitt proved to be, and to be fair, he has engaged more frequently than scott pruitt with congress and epa career staff. i know that we will not agree on but i had hoped that he would moderate some of scott pruitt's destructive policies, specifically where industry and the environmental community are in agreement. regrettably, my hopes of not been realized. on examination, mr. wheeler's policies seem to be almost as
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extreme as his predecessor's despite the promise he made when he first appeared before our committee. , he agreed with the goal that many of us share, striking a deal between automakers on the fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. industry, many members of congress, and other stakeholders have asked repeatedly for a compromise that would provide predictability for the industry. however, rather than making a mr. wheelerrt, -- foroff on a proposal the better part of a decade. the administration now plans to increase in5% standards, which is 10 times
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weaker than current rules. this will only lead to extensive litigation and uncertainty for automakers. it is a lose/lose. here's another example of mr. wheeler's forgotten promises. concerning rule mercury like challenges. it no longer found it "necessary" to protect the pollutioninfants from from our electric utilities. cancer, ands, asthma attacks are no longer important to consider. eps is setting a dangerous -- epa is setting a dangerous precedent. epa has gone forward with public comment to see whether this would be eliminated. no court has ordered this
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action. no utilities are asking for this action, and the proposal is not needed to protect public health. in fact, the utility industries are in full compliance with the standards. full compliance. at one third the expected cost. think about that. one third of the expecting cost. from stakeholder coal-fired utilities to religious leaders urge this administration not to take this step. surprisingly, mr. wheeler has chosen to ignore stakeholders administrationhe would chart more responsible path. the final example of his failure to lead lies in the agency opposition to submitting for the senate for ratification a treaty to phase out harmful refrigerants. iner substitutes are made american louisiana by
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technology. ratification of this treaty is responded by a truly staggering stakeholders. almost everyone, it seems, except epa. mr. wheeler, when you work with us in the senate to identify areas of copper mise were possible, it remains my hope that we can reverse course and /wins to provide protection wethe need. that is what we deserve and expect. based on what we have seen so far on such commitments, that is not the nominee that we have for us today. i say that with no joy. i say that with no joy. thank you. >> thank you, senator carper. mr. interop, would you like to
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introduce senator wheeler? hoffe, would you like to introduce senator wheeler? would like to introduce senator wheeler. it will be no shock to you that i disagree with my good friend senator carper. i think the shutdown is a good time to confirm nominees, and there's not a position that is more important than the one we have right now. when president trump nominated andrew as deputy administrator, i said there is no one more qualified. now that he has been acting administrator for six months, andrew's ability to leave the agency has never been more clear. after earning a law degree at washington university in st. louis, andrew joined the epa as a special assistant at the inncy pollution prevention
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1991. years, a lot of experience. he was an epa employee for four years, transitioning to the george h.w. bush administration and then to the clinton administration and earning three bronze medals for commendable service along the way. for those who do not know, the bronze medal is given -- and this is a quote -- "significant service or achievements in support of the agency's mission or demonstrations of outstanding accomplishments in supervision leftadership." when andrew the agency, he brought that sense of service and leadership to the united states senate or i had a front row seat to his character and witnessed the dedication he brings to every job. andrew started in my office as chief counsel, transition to -- transition to
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staff director and the committee on time at protection. i was chairman of that subcommittee at that time. when ithousand three, became chairman, andrew became the chief counsel. , we the next six years worked closely on highway bills, energy bills, diesel emissions reduction acts, many other pieces of legislation. since leaving the u.s. senate, and he has continued to build on his reputation as a leader in energy and environmental policies and has brought his vast wealth of knowledge and expertise on environmental issues to the epa. the senate confirmed him as deputy administrator last year
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-- april of last year on a bipartisan basis. i was lucky enough to attend his welcome speech to employees of the agency and saw a man who respected the agency and the work that the agency and the career staffers do. i don't think andrew knew i was in the audience. but there were 300 people from the administration and the epa. all of them there with the highest possible respect for andrew wheeler. he has worked on issues of the senate. i am honored he chose to spend half of his time with me and i believe the u.s. senate benefited from his leadership, and i know america will as well. looking at the expressions on the faces of the individuals out there. there were several hundred people and their who had a
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career. a started at the bottom and here is the top. they have done a great job. i'm very excited to be working with him. thank you, mr. chairman. senator barraso: thank you, senator in half. i would like to welcome the nominee. i would like to remind you your ofl testimony will be part the record. i would like you to reintroduce to the committee or family, and then please proceed with your testimony. mr. wheeler: thank you, senator. joining me is my nephew. i have two friends i met my first day in lawsuit back in dawn.judy kim and
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dawn brought her mother with her. she traveled from florida to be here today. i would like to thank all of them for being here today. >> good morning, and welcome. ,r. wheeler: mr. chairman ranking member, i am honored -- [man yelling] please -- >> please restore order. please restore order in the committee room. please restore order in the committee room. chanting] pounding]
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please barrasso: proceed. mr. wheeler: thank you, senator. i am honored mr. trump -- president trump has nominated me . this is a responsibility i take very seriously. just becoming acting administrator, i have focused on providing greater certainty to certainlyan public, in our programs, certainty to the states, tribes, and local governments, and certainty in how we can mitigate risk. personally, i have worked to provide more certainty to congress. i reached out to chairs and ranking members for authorizing and appropriating committees and the house and the senate. i have met many of you on specific issues of concern and i will always make myself available. the american public has the right to know the truth about the risks they face in their daily lives and how we are responding.
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it is our duty to explain it to them clearly and consistently. this is where we have made more progress as a nation and where more progress needs to be made. 260% and wegrew were earning -- ranked number one in the world for access to safe drinking water. in 2018, we finalize 13 major deregulatory actions, saving americans $1.8 billion and regulatory costs. and yet, there are americans who have not shared in this progress -- should i askedo: the officers to please keep the doors closed so the nominee will not -- should i ask the officers to please keep the doors closed so the nominee will not be interrupted? it is these americans the administration remains focused on. americans living near hazardous
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sites, often unaware of the threat that they and their families face. how can these americans prosper if they cannot live, learn, or work in healthy environments? is they cannot. president trump understands this and he is focused on putting americans front. the superfund program is a perfect example. of 22leted all or part sites, the largest number of deletion since 2005 and we are in the process of cleaning up some of the nation's largest, most complex sites. i visited two sites that were the first visits by the head of years. 25 we will continue these lands to productive use. the epa issued our record decision requiring the removal of the worst contaminated
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sediment containing mercury and 's. -- pcb at a refinery site any chicago, we proposed a cleanup plan that will eliminate lead containment and -- contamination in the soil. we convened the first ever national leadership summit to help states address emerging risks. we also arranged a series of visits on communities that were directly impacted i this. we will release -- by this. we will release a management plan. we're taking important actions to protect children from the dangers of lead exposure. we are proposing stronger lead standards and are updating the lead and copper rule for the first time in two decades. these actions and more are detailed in a new federal lead action plan announced in december. in addition we are using our
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programs to help communities upgrade their water infrastructure. seven loans,d and these1.5 billion, will help infrastructure investments. this past year, we invited an additional 39 projects across finance $12o help billion in infrastructure and create up to 183,000 jobs. commonsenseched reforms on the air side, by working closely with states. it is not required by work court order. i have proposed three major rulemakings.
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through our regulatory reforms, the trump administration has proven that burden some federal regulations are not necessary to drive in my mental progress. progress.mental in 2018, epa enforcement actions required the treatment, disposal, or elimination of 809 pounds of waste, almost twice as much compared to 2017. we also entered into the largest settlement of the enforcement of the risk management program with getting 150party is million dollars on major safety improvements. congressmen'sour and i know that none of this would be possible without a talented career staff. settlementounced a with the chrysler for cheating u.s. and missions standards. years, they told us
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that their vehicles were compliant. the epa in ann arbor caught them cheating and then they proved how they were cheating and that was no easy task. different devices for hidden vehicle software, which contains more than 100 billion lines of code. --give you a 90 a, and f-22 to give you an idea, and after 2 billion jet has lines of code. 22 fighter jet has 2 billion lines of code. this is one of the many reasons i miss our furloughed employees and look forward to getting them back to work as soon as possible. thanks to our hard-working public servants, pollution is on the decline. to accelerates the decline, particularly in
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communities where it poses everlasting harm. mr. wheeler: thank you. we will -- senator barrasso: thank you. we will have 25-minute rounds of nute rounds of questions. i ask senators to limit your five minutes. committee members and the public will have an opportunity to learn more about your community service and your service to our great nation. i asked that you respond to the questions today as well as those submitted for the record. there are questions to ask. are on behalf of the committee. do you agree, if confirmed, to appear before this committee or designated members of the committee that provide information subject to appropriate and necessary security protection with respect to your responsibility is? mr. wheeler: i do. senator barrasso: and do you
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commit to providing that electronic information is provided to this committee and other committees and its staff in a timely manner? mr. wheeler: yes. senator barrasso: do you know of any matters that would pose a conflict of interest if confirmed? mr. wheeler: i do not. will getarrasso: i started. we will be having two rounds, as i stated earlier. of the is one departments directly impacted by the government shutdown. can you explain what actions you ensure that epa continues its role of protecting the environment and human health during the shutdown period? mr. wheeler: yes. i really look forward to our furloughed italy's coming back to work. we are still on the job for any court ordered actions. we still have personnel on the ground in california dealing with the wildfires, people and
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puerto rico dealing with the hurricane, as well as other emergency responses. since the touched it -- shutdown, we have responded to emergencies around the country. we continue to monitor our areine and tips line and we fulfilling our court ordered deadlines. we are taking a look at the deadlines coming up. we have five or six regulations that have court ordered deadlines. we have regulations due in june. i sat down with senior staff and charted out what are the court ordered deadlines? working backwards, when do we have people take care of those? we have 14,000 employees. around 700 exempt from the furlough. we have around 800 doubt, but it dairies on a day-to-day basis.
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the nextarrasso: provides-- the epa hardship relief -- the law refineries can apply at any time. you agree the epa does not have the right to limit when they can apply? mr. wheeler: that is correct. they can apply any point. senator barrasso: do you have the -- do you agree that the epa does not have the authority to delay decisions beyond 90 days. mr. wheeler: i agree, but the petition goes to the department of energy. senator barrasso: there are at least 11 petitions that have been pending for more than 90 days. is that correct? mr. wheeler: i'm not sure of the
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number. never ceaseasso: i to be amazed by the power of innovation. growntion has significantly. one key question is how we can turnss that innovation to green house gas emissions into useful products. i think you have discussed we can use carbon dioxide to get oil out of the ground. what role does the epa play in supporting innovations that would reduce greenhouse gas omissions? emissions? what is important on the regulatory site is we do not try to tip the scale one way or another on -- for example -- sources. we want to encourage new ideas to come forward. thank you.rasso:
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i reserve the balance of my time. senator carper? senator carper: thanks, mr. chairman. employees are not receiving a paycheck. epa is also not carrying out its protecttal mission to human health and the environment. that means scientists collect news related to the deadly california wildfires. many more critical functions will not proceed until the epa -- senator barrasso: without objection. sen. carper:: we will talk about pfos.foa, federalt have a drinking water standard for this chemicals. it has caused a number of states there is legislation we passed a number of years ago,
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but a number of states are basically taking matters in their own hands and states have set their own standards including california, connecticut, maine, massachusetts, minnesota, new jersey, new hampshire, north carolina, and vermont. your management plan was supposed to come out, i think, last fall, but it has been delayed. i am asking you to commit to members of this committee that the epa will set a standard for drinking water chemicals within two years. can you make that commitment today? mr. wheeler: i can't. first of all, we were hoping that our management plan would be done next week. by thes delayed shutdown. i will not prejudge anyone in particular because of the interagency review, but the other agencies have to sign off on the plan itself. we have been in forcing drinking water around the country at a
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number of sites. we are helping states -- carper: two years. were not talking to months or two weeks. we are asking you to make a commitment that epa will set a standard within two years. can you make that commitment? if you can't, just say you can't make it. mr. wheeler: i can't make that commitment. senator carper: i just want to conveywe only have five minutes. is gettingf the epa paid. i want to thank congress for passing. i mentioned i was at the detroit auto show. have been going for a long time. 10 auto companies. they have one message for me. one message is they want predictability. they are building more energy-efficient cars. electric caris vehicles. they need charging stations to
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be deployed, built. they need feeling stations. they need tax credit extended for electric vehicles. they do not want to end up in a lawsuit with california. they need certainty, predictability. they need fuel efficiency. nearwant a flexible in the -- they want flexible in the near term. why is the-- they want epa -- .> we have talked about this i am not going to go through the entire back and forth. nobody wants a 50 state deal more than i do. is -- i have not given up
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hope. we are looking at the calendar and know we need to finalize our proposal by march 30. we are running short of time but mary nicholst with in california three times in my office. my staff has worked with her staff. we would love to have a solution. of carbon source emissions and our planet now is mobile submissions. there is a deal ready to be made. i would urge you -- i am trying to impart us and the virgin. i would have her in my office. i would be in california trying to make this deal. the idea they are waiting for us -- your job is to be the leader for fighting this battle. 40%ns are heating up by faster on average. just urge you to feel
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some sense of urgency on this. >> let's talk about mercury. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. of media over the recent report showing that co2 emissions increased last your. a lot of adversaries are wanting a rollback of the green power actions.g other i would like to enter into the record this forbes article that says this is not surprising, given the unprecedented economic growth the united states has seen in the last year in states co2 emissions in the united states are down 11% since 2005.
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can you address this? >> yes, senator. you are correct. our co2 emissions peaked in 2005. it has been on the decline since then. i was briefed yesterday. we are going to see a decline. last year, we had a hot summer and cold winter but we had an uptick in manufacturing and that put ourtput co2 emissions up slightly. overall, we do not expect that to continue. we think the downward trend is going to continue in the long run. >> economic growth has been phenomenal so i assume we continue a general downward trend in co2. >> it will. we expect co2 levels to decrease an additional 34% by 2005 from the electric power sector. >> of all regulations from the invious administration oklahoma, the one the farmers of
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america, not just in my state but through the country found the role to be the scariest of all of them. reworked and have i have heard nothing but praise about this and i would like to us theu share with successes you have had. that is the one rule that means the most. >> us thank you. we put out our proposal in december and the overarching guiding principle i gave the fortisn crafting the rule is any property owner should be able to stand on his or her property and be able to tell whether they have waters of the u.s. on their property without having to hire an outside consultant. beay that knowing i used to an outside consultant. people should be able to tell for themselves whether they have wetland on their property. i want to make the distinction that is not discussed in the media, that we are working in
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partnership with the states. -- it does not mean it is not protected at the state level. a lot of the wetlands that would no longer be considered a federal waterway under the water's proposal will be protected under state laws and it does not impact our recovery efforts with our national priority areas of the chesapeake bay, the great lakes, the everglades, the gulf coast. all of those recovery efforts will continue in this does not impact any of those. >> i appreciate that. i will share with you i was in weston oklahoma, in the panhandle and their concern was if we had not done this, we would be considered a wetland. i do not have to tell you the position that -- my position on rss but in light of rumors about the possible actions the
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administration is considering, i would like to take a moment to remind everyone that corn is not only be stakeholder in this program. you have the real world costs borne by not just refiners by -- but by consumers, operators, lawn equipment, the use of gas blended with ethanol. there are growing -- is growing concern the administration is listening to one side of the argument and those arguments are not based on actual conditions. making beeset rule based on market realities, including the increased demand that the market is seeing today? >> thank you, senator. we will take of those issues and to consideration -- into consideration as part of the reset.
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the president is committed to the e 15 and for the last two years, we have gotten the deals setting the levels for the fuels for the next your. we have gotten those out on time, the first time that has happened. we are committed to doing that this year. writing certainty to the marketplace is important not just for the farmers but the oil industry. >> you are doing a great job. carper?or >> i want to submit for the climate --national , if we do, the costs nothing on climate change and you keep rolling back rules. >> thank you for that objection. mr. chairman. thank you for your willingness to serve the public.
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i want to underscore the point to senator carper in regards to this shutdown. this shutdown is devastating to the individuals involved through their families, paying their bills, but to the missions these agencies have to carry out. and the epa you have a large percentage of workforce furloughed without pay. it is not possible under these circumstances for epa to carry out their mission to protect our environment, clean air and clean water and you and i had a chance to talk about this in my office but as you reach certain required deadlines, you need to have the personnel in place. it is challenging to have workers work without pay but i want to underscore how tragic this shutdown is and support senator carper in this regard. you talked about partnership with the states and there has
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been no better example than the chesapeake bay program. we also had a chance to talk about this. the chesapeake bay program was developed by the states. in partnership with the stakeholders, developers, local government, farmers, private groups and it was based upon what every state can do based upon science, collaboration in .rder to improve the quality the washington post published the importance of the chesapeake bay health cannot be overstated. it is -- the federal role is important. that is the umpire. that is the one that holds it together using the mdl to establish how we are making progress in every state doing what it can and should do. my question is, will you support the chesapeake bay program and working collaboratively with the other agencies and protecting the chesapeake bay watershed,
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including through the partners of the program in the office in annapolis? the chesapeake bay program recommended that end congress funded the office. >> i fully commit to that. i live in a chesapeake resource in virginia. chesapeake aiding in the sea i attended a large meeting in baltimore with the governors. we had one lieutenant governor there but i am very much committed to the chesapeake bay and the chesapeake bay program. >> for the office to be located in annapolis? >> yes. >> i appreciate that. i want to talk about related issues with clean air. senator carper talked about
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mercury standards. i support him in regards to the admissions standards. that is a huge issue in regards to the bay. you mentioned the reduction of corporate omissions but remember the auto industry is one of the said the cafes standards are important. in regards to mercury, i do not understand epa's position. the mercury standards have worked. in your recent announcements, will there be any reduction in enforcement of the current make three toxic standards? >> we believe every piece of mercury controlled equipment installed on a power plant will remain under our proposal. the important thing to remember on a mercury regulation is it has already been fully implemented. what we had was his up in court case, the michigan versus epa case that directed us to take a look at the cost-benefit
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analysis that the obama administration conducted for weir original regulation and did that and at the same time, we conducted the risk in technology review. by conducting both of those at the same time, also under adc circuit court decision, we believe -- although we do not find it appropriate necessarily -- but under the risk and technology review the technologies have already been implemented will remain in place. that is our preferred option. we are taking comment. we issued this before the shutdown began. i do not believe it has been published in the federal register because the federal register is closed. we would like to have comment but at the end of the day, i do not believe a single piece of mercury controlled technology will be removed from any powerplant. just say, under section 4101 of the bipartisan words bill, there is the epa to establish a storm order, funding
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task force composed of butter up -- federal representatives and local government to improve public and private sources. we have an operation of maintaining infrastructure critical to the bay. are you committed to setting up that task force? >> we believe it would have to --fafta.nder have to we are committed to getting that done. mr. chairman, i will submit three things to the record. one is these items in the record highlight the flow and assumptions that make up the fourth national climate assessment, released by the cato institute, one by the competitive enterprise institute one on article by nicholas torres. >> without objection, senator.
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chairman andmr. mr. wheeler for your willingness to serve. you have been a great acting administrator at the epa and would fill that role in a permanent capacity. say -- senator cardin, i have go his concerns. west virginia has impacts there and i am supportive of any work being done that benefits not just maryland but the whole virginia as we talked about. i would like to make a comment about the shutdown. i am speaking for myself. a government shutdown is a useless process. it is painful for your agency and others impacted and for the american people. it is within the realm of both of our republican and democrat colleagues to come to a and iable conclusion
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implore the other side to come to the table. would like to ask about some of the criticisms that have been launched against you and give you a chance to respond. some colleagues have talked about the responsiveness of the epa to congressional letter sent inquiries. if you could flesh that out and there was a letter that was published that talked about your negligence in recusing yourself from certain matters. i would like to give you a chance to address those. if you could do it briefly, that would be great. >> we have been responsive to the letters from congress as well as alexander foye. increase and 400% foye requested. we have added additional employees. on the recusal side, i worked with the career ethics officials
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of the agency since day one. i recused myself from any work involving my prior law firm and my prior clients under the ethics regulations as well as the trump ethics pledge and i have not violated that and i continue to consult with essex -- ethics officials on a regular basis. >> you and i have talked about this in the concerns i have. you mentioned a management plan has more out and it than one agency weighing in on that. i could not tell from your answer whether you are going to set a standard in that management plan or not. >> we are recommending and moving forward on a number of areas we are looking at the waterside as well as the superfund site. this is a multimedia approach.
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>> ok. >> we were hoping with the shutdown it is going to be delayed slightly. >> there have been a series of reports. in west virginia, it is 55%. it is significant cost to taxpayers and to the environment . four areas that were short on water. a challengeto be for water systems around the country. i was wondering if this is something you see being addressed or if there are specific programs under the state revolving fund that we might have possibilities to help these systems get more efficient and be better stewards of the
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environment. and wouldbe helpful be more than happy to work with you and your staff on trying to adjust those issues in west virginia. andt is a countrywide issue a lot of it has to do with the age of when the systems were .uilt also on the clean power plan replacement, we heard there was an emissions ride in 2018 that attributed to the cold winter, hot summer and also to more economic activity. you said you expect that to go down over time. what gives you the confidence if this economy rolls the way we think it is going to that will resolve?
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>> we believe greenhouse gas emissions will continue to go down. >> senator sanders. >> thank you for being with us. has indicatedp his belief climate change is a hoax perhaps traded by the chinese. do you agree? >> i believe china -- kind of change is real. >> the president said climate change is a hoax. >> i would not use the hoax worked myself. >> leading scientists around the
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world looking at hundreds of reports have indicated that we have 12 years in order to stop the worst impacts of climate talkingnd what they are about a rising sea levels, more drought, more extreme weather disturbances, more wildfires more migrations of people. do you agree with the scientific ismunity that climate change a global crisis that must be addressed in an aggressive way? >> i believe i'm a change is a global issue that must be addressed globally. that was not my question. i read appreciate dust would appreciate you answer the question. the scientific community's climate change is one of the great crises facing our planet and if there is not unprecedented action to
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transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy and energy efficiency there will be irreparable damage in the united states and every country on earth. do you agree with the scientific community? >> i would not call it the greatest crisis, no sir. i consider it a huge issue that has to be addressed globally. interesting, mr. wheeler. you are the nominee to be head of the environmental protection agency -- you did not mention the word climate change. how does it happen that the nominee to be head of the environmental protection agency does not mention the words climate change at a time when the scientific community thinks climate change is a great environmental crisis facing this planet? should the american people have confidence you're going to help us do with this global crisis? >> they should have confidence because we are moving forward.
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our is proposal where he did co2 , approximately the same levels would implemented and we are reducing co2 from our cap they standards and we're addressing greenhouse gases to our methane program. >> the scientific community tells us we have a crisis and we need unprecedented action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, not only in this country but around the world. we are the strongest economy in the world. if the leadership of the environmental protection agency in the united states says to china, enter india and to countries all over the world we have a aggressively protect our planet from our dust for our children and grandchildren, we can have impact on the community. are you prepared to do that? you are the leader. that is not what i am talking
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about. we have people here who do not believe climate change is real. for thethe nominee leadership of the environmental protection agency. we you provide leadership in this country in the world? to say we are concerned about the future of this planet for our kids and grandchildren. >> we are concerned about the future of this planet and we are implement in the laws passed by congress, including the clean air act and moving forward with the is proposal. we are moving forward with the safe cafe proposal to reduce co2 levels. sea levels are a concern or is that a hoax? >> rising sea levels is a atcern and we are looking adaptation to help rising sea levels. >> here is the point.
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we have people who do not believe in climate change but you are the leader of the environmental protection agency. we need your assistance. a rising sea levels real, what are we going to do to minimize that? what are we going to do on the wildfires we have seen in california? are those related to climate change? >> there is some relation to climate change. the issues that with the wild -- with the wildfire is forest management. >> not the droughts? >> that is the biggest issue in my opinion. >> we have already heard from administrator wheeler. i have recently written a new york times op-ed called cut carbon through innovation, not regulation. i look forward to working with wheeler to support innovation in
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ways that respect the law and do not unfairly punish businesses. , cut unanimous consent carbon through innovation, not regulation. >> so long as my response to it may be put in the record. >> it was a nice letter to the editor. >> i will bring it over here and --will have it be a >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. wheeler, i am going to give you an opportunity to share a bit in terms of the approach we need on an international basis. i would like specific thoughts with regards to an item you do have control over and that is the nationwide plan to a develop the 50 markets. commented on the
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dust which is 15% ethanol and 85% regular point products. the quote that was given was this: this is a priority for president trump and acting administrator wheeler. the ongoing shutdown will not impede the ability to keep our deadline. concernspart of the the upper midwest have that in order to get into the summer driving season, we need to have the guidelines laid out as quickly as possible. would you believe you would be a what a commit to finalizing the epa's rule before the summer driving season starts? >> as of today, yes. i do caveat that with we were unable to work on it now during the government shutdown. >> where are you in the process? what is your best guess? either stand you have a government shutdown you have to work around it.
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>> we are planning on issuing the proposal in february. i kept the apa opening -- epa open an additional week longer than the rest of the federal government. we have not been shut down as long. exchange a day for day as far as how much longer it will take on the proposal, but we may be delayed at this point. we will get it done before the summer driving season provided we are back. in a reasonable time. to the smalld petroleum refineries upper the opportunity to request a rollback on their requirements to incorporate ethanol in their products. a $2.25 billion reduction incorporated into the field supplies. i do not think the original content of congress that reduces
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the total amount of ethanol that is actually being marketed. can you share with us your thoughts of the options we have got? recognize the law allows those refineries to take a reduction to apply for reduction, what guidelines or alternatives or authority do you have to still meet the original goals for ethanol production, while at the same time honoring the guidelines of the lock to allow small refineries a hardship exemption, and can that exemption be reduced if you feel you cannot meet the guidelines congress established with regard as you know, we have had three court cases on the small refinery program instigated .uring the obama administration
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the epa has lost all three in the courts. we look forward to implementing this small refinery exemption as air -- the energy clean act. it is encouraged through the appropriations process. you are correct that there are two competing issues there. theakes bills away from goal of $15 billion. there's not a lot of leeway for us there. it's on the timing of the applications. if we reduce a 15 million gallons by the amount we grant
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-- what we have tried to do is wevide more transparency, started the dashboard this false everybody understands what we are doing and we are taking a hard look at the overall members , we tend to -- and tend to move are hoping to proposal through those in february. >> thank you. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you. welcome mr. wheeler. i appreciate the polite and professional demeanor that you have -- that you have brought to your task. i continue to believe that you have your thumb, wrist, forearm and elbow on the scales in virtually every determination that you can't in the fossil fuel industry, i think that is
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unfortunate. i do think that there is a baseline that we should work off , straight answers that are truthful and complete. i would note with respect to use certain europe -- about the caée federal register analysis -- your analysis, the café standard proposal you have increases co2 emissions year after year after year after year, up to 9% increase co2 increase in emissions by 2035 relative to the baseline. i don't think it is fair to say you are taking action to help the carbon emissions problems when your proposal is worse than the beat -- baseline that you began with. in the record
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43327. you referred to your ace program replacing your powerplant is something that would replace -- reduce carbon emissions. completed --that compared to the powerplant your proposal would raise carbon emissions by tens of millions of tons every single year, including, for example in 2030, raising it i 60 million tons in that year. i would like to put those into the record. here in 2017,last i asked what you knew about your client bob murray's so-called action plan. that he was running around bragging that it was being
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implemented by scott pruitt and the trump administration. you said you did not work on the plan and you do not have a copy of it. i look at it and handed it back to bob marie. i think the conclusion from that testimony that you really only had a hand on it recently and only saw it recently. to december 6, when we learned that in march 29 2017 you attended the meeting between your client bob murray and rick perry where the action plan was discussed. there you are and there is go on to thef we next photograph you can see the action plan is right there in the room.
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it was a nice, cozy meeting here -- >> for the record does not meet your >> turns out it was provided to vice president pence and former epa administrator prewitt. you arrange for murray to meet with perry and you try to schedule a meeting with prewitt but he fell ill and the meeting did not take place. he was scheduled to meet with prewitt the same daycare can you tell me how many meetings with trump administration officials for bob murray did you arrange, attempt to arrange or attend and with whom? >> yes there.
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i didn't try to arrange the meeting with scott pruitt, someone else did that. the meeting was secretary. , i forget what it was called -- >> how many meetings with trump administrating -- trump administration official said you attempt by mr. murray? >> the meeting with secretary perry, and an additional meeting -- and energyouse advisor there. i did not attempt to arrange or attend any meetings. >> my time has expired. i don't want to play gotcha with you, what i do want is true for, factual answers about this. i'm going to expand on these questions for the record, and i expect you to provide complete
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and truthful answers under oath here at the hearing. >> absolutely. >> thank you. there's an editorial in the business daily that says there is a government chop that map out hurricanes, tornadoes and drought and all that and there is no upward trend in extreme weather but shows there is no trend in any of them. i ask that this be made a part of the record. >> without objection. >> sen. boozman: >> you, yourso thank you and your staff for your timely response.
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your staff is being very good, this is a state problem but you do have the expertise on staff to help them. >> could i interrupt? i drop the ball. ernst,ee to help senator allowing her to go first. would you like her to still do that? >> i'm sorry. for doing that. i think it is a great example of the agency working with states and situations like that, we need more of that. thank you very much. were a partrs you of this committee passed many important pieces of legislation. you understand the work that goes into getting bipartisan legislation passed which this committee can be very proud of. this hasu feel
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bring people to the table and develop important epa regulations? >> i think it's helped me a lot. for thee staff director whole five highway bill that we did. we brought together people on both sides, oftentimes on the highway side there were people from not necessarily different parties but different size states. impacts tout the states, populated states, sparsely populated states, alaska and wyoming in particular. tohelps to educate on how to address this in the entire country. during the previous
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administration there was concerned that rules were developed not by sun sound science but on political ideology. under your leadership can we expect the epa to be more transparent regarding how rules are developed? as administrator can we count on you to base all your decisions on the rule of a and not on the administration's or your own political ideology? >> absolutely. we are following up the statutes and supreme court cases as well. i know there are cases where people on the left are not happy that we are moving forward was solutions, and people on the right are not happy. it is my job as the administrative to follow the law and supreme court cases. yout your time at epa worked hard to improve environmental outcomes while
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providing regulatory certainty for the country. can you explain the environmental and economic hear so, that's what we much, if you'd know what the rules are -- if you don't know what the rules are as difficult. as a mentioned it is important for property owners to be able to stay on his or her own property. by clearly defining what is and is not, a lot of the time it is just as important as to finding what is. it will allow people to use their property, land and prosper and help the country. many hard-working americans
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in wirral states did not -- wirral states said they do not have a voice. i've tried to get out of d.c. as much as i can. i have met with farmers all over the country. i was in california meeting with montanaand kentucky and and tennessee. it is important for me to hear from people as to what their issues and concerns are about. particularly farmers in the agricultural community. of the land.ards we need to make sure we are working in conjunction to protect the land. >> thank you. i ask unanimous consent to submit an article regarding the
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epa's dismissal on moving forward with its sacred science or postal. -- proposal. madeata has not been public. available science to protect health and the environment. yesterday when we talked the things affecting organ through client -- climate chaos affecting our fishing, how concerned are you about these on my constituents, the people of the united states. you shifted to saying my job is to follow rules and obey lawsuits. i said again, these are tremendous impacts that we are
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seeing, hugely damaging. you said you are looking forward to going to africa to talk about clean drinking water for north africans. i'm going to give you a third chance to answer this question. the calamities we are seeing are enormous in my state and across the country. powerful hurricanes, devastating forest fires, more water affecting our shellfish. time beetles that are eating up our forests. on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being used state up at night concerned are you about this devastating impact on our nation and the world? night >> awake at thinking about a lot of things. please answer my question. >> eight or nine. >> really.
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let's turn to the issue of ace, affordable clean energy plan. you tell me this gets just as reduction as the steam power plant. itever, your own agency said will revoke 3.5% higher co2 production by 2030 than the clean power plant. why do you come to my office and tell me it's the same when your agency expert say it will be producing a lot more carbon dioxide. >> i am told we would get a 30% carbon dioxide reduction once this regulation is fully implemented. when you shift statistics, that is not transparency. that is not integrity. a study from boston university and others because eight has no meaningful reductions in co2 per because it allows plants to
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bypass pollution controls that in 20 states you have a significant increase in suffered , in six states an increase in co2 expert -- compared to no regulation at all. how would the plant have morerity when you get reductions from no regulations than from your plan? >> are you for into the article they came up yesterday or today? i am not sure how they are calculating that but that is not what the people at the agency are telling me. >> let's turn to fire forced -- forest fires. all the conditions of longer, hotter summers have increased the fire pretension at forests. we saw devastating idaho, washington, california and others. is force management an issue? yes.
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is not the reason these fires are so much longer. it is because the summer season is so much hotter and longer. we have different types of storms that are a starting a lot more fires. i encourage you to become informed on this subject. will you agree to read literature on this? >> i will agree to continue to read the literature on this. >> i asked yesterday if you were aware of how much carbon dioxide rates levels have increased in your lifetime. can you share me the answer to the question >>? it is closer to 100% increase. case.t's not the 100% with jury -- would be dramatic. in my lifetime is about 100 , more like a 30% increase. that's a significant change in
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the chemistry of our air on this planet. the other thing i talk to you about this when we were born it was the rate of a third of the point for a year and now it's ..5 points a year despite all the conversation we have been having, it is accelerating. this is of enormous concern. the rate is accelerating despite the international conversations. my time is up. i hope you become more familiar with these issues and with the entire echo system and the agricultural base, fishing, farming, forest are at grave risk. thank you. i met 100 points, not percent. that was mistake. you, i want to commend you, because you have been engaged with me, with my staff
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and i do appreciate the time you have taken to address some of our concerns. what i would like to have you , that thee today commitment that we will see if 15 for our summer driving season. >> we are still on schedule for that. when i listed some of the states that i visited to talk to farmers, in iowa talking to farmers and i didn't mention that. >> i appreciate that. this is very important to iowa farm is -- farmers. i understand that we are in a government shut down and i hope we can resolve this very soon. have you been able to take any
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steps that would mitigate any sort of delay that we may see for the shut down for the implementation of the e 15 year round? >>. on the e 15. it's not a court-ordered deadline for us and not considered an emergency. work on constitutional authority. just this past monday the president reiterated again that 5 year e1 we will hope for the best. when the president was elected when prices were more than one dollar at that time and during 2016 and 2017 we saw over four dozen small refinery exemption petitions granted during that time. have dramatically
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dropped. they are down to $.10 and lower now. with the wind prices being so much lower today than they were two years ago, do you agree that this means there is less economic hardship associated with having to purchase those? >> that is one criteria to be looked at. the analysis for that is done by the department of energy. >> in terms of addressing those ,hat are sent over from the doe they evaluate for that hardship, and then being 1/10 of what they were many years ago, the d.o.a. evaluates for that hardship and makes that recommendation to you . what is the epa's role and granting or denying a full or partial waiver?
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>> it's done by a technical team in the air office where they review the information from the doe. then they move forward with their recommendation. >> can you assure me that you will be examining those exemptions and not giving like it exemptions? yes. we will be examining each one but we don't agree that every exemption is due to a hardship.
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thank you for working on that issue. can you elaborate on how the rule provides for clarity to land owners and farmers? we specifically define what is what is and what is not. my goal from the watchers program is so that the property owner candace scott -- decide if they need higher outside consultant. >> you are aware of the
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intergovernmental on climate change? >> yes. i have been briefed once by my staff. they gave me a number of background information to read and we scheduled additional briefings for early january. those have been postponed. i am still under -- examining the findings. find that frustrating because of the urgency of the challenge that we find ourselves. totalks about the urgency keep the greenhouse gas emissions below 1.5 degrees, disasters,c natural seeing upwards of a trillion dollars. what about the national climate
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?ssessment i'm talking to my staff about this. >> this is cost agencies that have included that we are going to suffer impacts, heat related death, coastal flooding, infrastructure damage. the federal government scientists range from the military to your own agency, the overwhelming science of this is an urgency to move as quickly as the consistency of the different regulatory changes you are making flies in the face -- when it comes to the clean car standards, according to the epa's own analysis of the
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proposal you estimated over time your approach would result in 7.4 trillion tons of additional carbon pollution. do you not agree with that? >> my staff has told me it is an incremental increase. a lot of people don't understand is the obama numbers they offered a number of exemptions so the number itself in effect would be lower -- epa ownpulling from the analysis. ,our clean power plant repeal appealing the clean power plan your own analysis from your agency estimates this will lead to substantially higher levels of co2. if you go to your air pollution
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from oil and gas infrastructure, your own scientists, epa released those rules, looking at very powerful greenhouse gas, your own analysis shows that your weakening of this rule will lead to more greenhouse gas pollution. your air pollution from landfield's efforts and october you released a proposed rule to the deadline years for landfill in mission guidelines that would limit these methane emissions. this two-year delay seems to again and to that larger problem. consistency of the actions you are taken to weakening rules to undermining the sense of urgency that agencies are telling us that we face are growing talent just, not just now but over the next 25 years. i'm wondering if you are mission
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at the epa which is to protect human health and the environment , which you swore an oath to, duties butged your you seem to consistently do things that undermines the health and safety of this nation. peril.ting into further i'm trying to understand what is motivating this. on are you pulling back regulations that will help us to climateh what are scientists say we need to do in terms of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. are movinge we forward on a proactive basis. 34 percent reduction in co2. we do a number of different scenarios and data runs. i would happy to serve apply
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this in writing. this will give us a 34% reduction in co2 and obama would have gotten between 33 and 35% reduction. >> i like to introduce for the record the data from his own scientists that show what he is saying. contradict the claims that he is making. >> without objection. the epa's decision to withdraw this clean power act. the supreme court stayed the rule, it was bad policy and against the law. it's good to be on a committee like this. it means a lot to me. steward of the land for a lot of years.
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talking about the things we believe in that makes a difference. i have been a tree farmer for nearly 40 years involved in our culture. -- in high school. to me i always view something in the process about how we you will accomplish a goal. clean air and clean water is important to everyone. i also look at the fact that over the weekend and i know it has been discussed before were three different armors approached me about dealing with the technicalities. i'm going to ask you a couple questions, then i want to get your viewpoint on how we navigate this dynamic, wanting to adhere to what all of us believe in, clean air, clean water, good health and the
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practicality of doing what you do through the epa to make sure we take care of the big action or an not unduly complicate lives for people on the firing line. the ruling is given in 2015 has it changed at all in the meantime or has it been in the process of being looked at? proposal was stayed by some courts and deferred by others. right now we have a patchwork quilt on what is the current regulatory process, which is why going forward. i believe that we will provide the certainty that the public needs in order to protect the waters of the united states. >> my state of indiana is the
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regulation component being administered more through state agencies trying to figure out what the ruling is, the is itretation of it, or being mandated more from the epa. i get the feeling that in our case we might be not fully -- what that that regulation is and the enforcement of it. >> it is rulemaking in conjunction with the army corps of engineers. they issue the permits on the ground and working with your constituents in indiana. it is bearing from state to state because of the district court's as far as which standards -- prior to 2015 or current. >> what is your goal to have been fully clarified so farmers soon -- state agencies know what is what. >> we issued our proposal in
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december and it is out for public comment. in thenot been published federal register because of the shutdown but it should be completed by the end of the year. >> do you consider yourself a conservationist? how will you measure your own success in this job once you get into it? >> i do consider myself a conservationist. i am an eagle scout, a hiker and can --camper. weeki met with you last the favorite job of my life has been as a boy scout summer camp counselor. i believe in the outdoors and i think we have moved the ball forward on this pollution and helping communities that are ravaged by superfund sites, it
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low incomeacts americans, often times and in most cases minority communities and to try to help those some sites are contaminated by lead, people and families are living today and to get those areas cleaned up so those children are not exposed to lead. there is one thing i didn't mention in colorado where he was on track to get cleaned up over 20 years and we are speeding that up to get it cleaned in the next couple of years. >> thank you. >> senator duckworth. >> thank you. i am very proud that mice date is -- my state is home to the
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epa region five. i am concerned that the administrator cap the step and other appointees are working to undermine that important work. a report published last year indicated an elevated cancer and i do want to thank you for how you have been on this issue. some calls that you personally got on and thank you for how accessible you have been. however, my office received alarming information alleging not tonior appointees emits --ny system that oxide. when we checked the echo to we
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found that there had been no off-site inspection across the country in at least the last six months. is-- this disclosure disappointing to me. an independent investigation should be started immediately that political appointees of the epa are issuing orders to not conduct oxide inspections. we'll commit with me now to start the investigation into this public health matter? >> i'd like to talk to my staff about it, this is news to me. i'd like to know whether or not it is accurate before we go further. will you at least commit to issuing a document and retention order for region five and promised to me the epa will monitor all facilities in my state with regard to this carcinogen? we are looking at not just
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this region but all come -- across the country. . we are looking at the in missions around the country. i know that is taking place. >> what about issuing a document retention order to all personnel >>? certainly we would want these documents retained. >> thank you. you announce the release of the administration's lead action plan. i was disappointed to see the earlier goal of limiting let it oh sure and the new plan has the objective to reduce exposure as opposed to a lemonade exposure in homes with lead-based hazards. will you commit to the goal of eliminating lead exposure in
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children? >> certainly we do want to do that. we are moving forward with a number of regulatory programs to accomplish that. this will be the first time in seriouslyars, we take lead contamination and superfund sites across the nation. she is on investigative leave because of allegations by her employees and i cannot go into more detail. i would be happy to brief you -- i want to make sure my general counsel is involved to go into more detail on the circumstances
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surrounding that. >> thank you. the state of renewables in this history -- industries that a turning point. is granting hardship waivers and my colleague sen. ernst: to stop. these companies are earning record profits. they were able to obtain these hardship waivers on their earnings calls contribute to their profitability. we you also promise that you will end this abuse of the hardship waivers by companies like exxon or chevron. >> this is based on the refinery itself not the refiner. it doesn't matter who the parent
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company is. there could be a hardship at a refinery. just because you are a large company if they were cut -- if a refinery is not economical we don't want to shut down. located inhey are rocky mountains where they are the only supplier of gasoline in the region. >> the issue we have is -- >> the senator's time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman and thankllie are -- wheeler you for your service to our country. times entailten whole teams and i know some of them are here. we appreciate you guys being here. i appreciate also the time you
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spent with me and this proves .ow responsive you are that's an important part of the job. our discussion on alaska related , working on clean water , cleaning upstate contaminated lands. transboundary mining issues which is a big challenge. one commitment i want to get from you is get up to alaska soon after your confirmation. can i get a commitment from you on that? >> yes sir. august sounds great.
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>> this is a confirmation hearing and we are supposed to look at your past qualifications and experience for the job. what was your first job out of law school? >> i was a career employee working in a toxic program at the epa. i do that for four years. >> you received some towards? >> i received three bronze medals. >> >> what does that mean? >>they were still gold or silver but they are still pretty important. >> you are one of the first career employees to run the agency. >> stephen johnson was probably the first. you there? were
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>> 14 years as counsel. >> i was staff counsel for the last six years. >> you were the main guy running the committee. we leave this programming tips to take you to the women's march. the first was held in 27 chain. thisding to the organizers marks two years of resistance to the trump presidency. a little over two hours. i come from and indigenous and like my sister says


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