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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 5, 2013 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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about the fact that natural gas and its availability has been an incredibly important to the country but it also needs to be done safe and responsibly. and i think the kennedy knows that we are working on a large project with other agencies of the federal government to look at what her quality challenges and implications associated with hydro for acting -- fracking. we are in the middle of the study. it's very robust and we have donbeen able to outreach and webinars and we are gathering as much information as we can doing technical workshops and we expect a draft will be out for the peer review in the end of 2014. ..
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we're looking at some other questions that have been raised ability what else we should do and looking at those issues. again, working in cone cert with other agencies as well as states and local communities. so while hydrofracking has
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raised concern about whether it can be done or is being done safe and responsibly. ep is working with states, local government, and the industry to make sure that we understand how to answer those issues effective from a science perspective, and in a way that continues to maintain the availability of inexpensive natural gas that strengths the economy as well as help us reduce air emission. >> i appreciate that. i think it seems like a reasonable response. someone who asked you environmental law far long time. please, do what you can to work with the administration. so we don't have overlapping of potentially inconsistent regulations. very frustrating for the public. we want it to be done responsibly and in a way people can understand. thank you for being here. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. peters. >> the gentle mab from arizona. >> thank you. i only had two things i wanted
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to walk through. everyone in the committee with us here yesterday. i'm sorry, you're going hear the same stheem again. the large data bases that are used particularly in things like pm10 which is a big deal in the desert, southwest we have the thing called dirt. without grass on it. so it really does affect our lives. down to the individual -- because you and i know with all other type of data. you are a social an throw polks when you were being vetted and doing your review of data. you got down to the line item. if there was something personal you do a nonidentifier number. you strip the personal data and put them up on websites where it's a egalitarian. if a collective group or conservative group or business group or grad student can get it down to the line item.
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this is a good, this is bad. and who knows on the conservative side it may not yield what we think it will are liberal side but at least there's that pure fying effect of lot and lots and lots of people being able to drive there analysis through the data sets. why is it such a difficult conversation to have around here? >> i don't think there's anything political or controversial about making data available. >> i should show you the tape from the committee from earlier in the year where that was stunningly. >> all that epa is trying to do is responsibility under a number of laws. which is basically we want to be supportiving to the extent we
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can openness, transparency. sharing information, share dag that. >> but. >> may i finish. the one thing we need to make sure there's a clear understanding we have obligation obligations to protect private information. >> let me tell you that's a bizarre comment. because do what ere else does. strip the personal identify piers. >> re-asking those very same questions. if you -- >> but, i'm not trying to offer -- we need to just be careful in how we maintain that confidentiality. we are working with all the researchers on this. >> there's all sort of protocol. i was involved in a very large project we're doing analysis of how much mortgage fraud happened in our community. we just random identifiers and put it out and everybody said
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study what happened. it's not that hard. and if you're also using data inappropriate. you're making public decisions for the public that affect the public billions and billions of dollars. maybe for the good maybe for the bad. i have something else i want to show real quick. can we put up the slide? this is my fixization. in my maricopa county, pima county, pinal county, i have a metroplex there with a few million people. we have pm10 and monitoring sites. instead of putting the sites where my population lives, we've chosen, you've chosen in the rules i understand there may be a rule once it's there over a
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couple of years it's hard move because you lose the baseline data. take a look at this. for the fun of it. you have put your predecessor, a monitoring site next to a large stockyard next to a railroad track, next to desserting agriculture and next to a series of dirt roads. could you imagine the data you get from the monitoring site? yet this is dozen and dozen and dozen of miles away from where my population base is. how does that not create per view skewing in trying to build good, quality statistics particularly in pm10. this is an outlier. you have two other monitor stations that have the same attributes here. you are getting so much noise in the data, this is where finish those statistical backgrounds, we're just bouncing off the walls livid.
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>> i'm happy to spend some time and bring my folks inspect when we do the rules, we propose a monitoring plan and work with states. we take public comment on the plans as well. >> my county and state and community have been begging for years to put it in a -- >> we should have the conversation. i think our obligation is to look at air quality across the country in a way that reflects. >> the population basis? >> actually, we do most of the monitors are done in a population basis. some of these are not. clearly this one was not one of them. >> this one didn't hit the try feck that. it hit all four outliers. >> i appreciate -- >> i'm sorry. this is one that has been a thorn in our side. >> i think i've been there before. >> in this case. i can't believe we didn't move it the next day. mr. chairman, i yield back. [laughter]
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>> the gent mman from texas is recognized. >> thank you. thank you for being here. the chairman in the opening comments said that the they should answer to the american people. you agree with that? >> we work for the american people, yes. >> ms. mccarthy, have you ever run a business? >> i have ever? no. >> you said in your comments you here to talk about the central role that science plays. >> yes, sir. >> earlier today. have you ever heard the statement all scientists are only sure about one thing. and that is that every scientist before them was wrong? >> i have not. >> you have not heard that? >> you might learn something. does the science ever change or get proven wrong? >> sure. yes, it does. >> frequently, doesn't it? if you're here to talk about the central role science plays in the epa's deliberations, what
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would you say is the second thing that plays a role in the epa's deliberations? >> there are -- if i could say three things. >> science law, and transparency. >> we are off to a good start. you said and i don't remember who the exchange is with. was it to omb. >> omb. okay. >> but not science advisory board. and by law, you said was a second thing that play the part in the deliberations behind science are three things. by law you are supposed to submit the same rule on the same date. or by that date, is that accurate. >> i'm not aware that's specified in the law. we certainly engaged the sab and have a process. >> you said you have a process of doing that. >> yeah. >> if you're submitting at the same time or the same date. i would say that's a pretty exacting science. >> we sometimes consult with them even before it goes in the
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interagency. >> you're to be commended. so if you don't submit it at the same time as the objection was earlier, in essence you're going around the law you just said science, the american people, and following the law; right? so you're actually going around the law. that exact science up to date when you submit the law to the omb and the science advisory panel at the same time, you're circumventing? >> no , sir. >> you're not. >> you're interpreting the law as long as you have the process in effect you're good? >> no , sir, that's not what -- >> that's not what you said. i misunderstood. i apologize. let me go on. you said there are researchers that have contracts to verify data. -- in your earlier comments. you don't recall that. you had researchers that have contracts to verify data. in my question, do you ever get
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biased results? >> well, actual our entire peer review process to minimize any possibility that have. i think we do a good job. >> mr. chairman, mr. hall mentioned parker county earlier to where you had epa had to retract a statement they said they had facting contaminated the water supply. are you aware of that? i am aware that the epa developed data and provided that data. >> okay. okay. >> and when they question our on the standards for fuel efficiency, you said pretty much, quote, you weren't here to speak to manufacturers, warranties, and liabilities. >> i can't speak to the statement about that, no. >> so in essence if it effects the entire car industry, it doesn't matter -- >> very much so it matters. it matters to us and appropriate testing for the reason. i just can't -- that's not my --
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>> let me move quickly. he said on grant recipients, he said you said in response to him that you have procedures to ensure they're fair-minded. let me submit to you as a business owner. if we're going to put business people on the science advisory panel. can't you apply the same proceed your make sure they are fair-minded? >> we provide the same procedure to anybody that is on -- >> so you would be okay with having more business and industry expert on a panel as long as they're fair-minded. >> our job is to bans the panel and make sure they are doing their job. >> very qukly. i have carbon capture sequestration in the -- district four team. 400 million was the cost of that project. of some 60% was supply by the d.o.e. to the arra. american reinvest i are recovery act stimulus.
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you said that ccs had demonstrated to be cost-effective. >> i'm sorry i said it was a reasonable cost. >> it was a reasonable cost. okay. let's go with that. so i have a $400 million project. 60% of. is going to come from the federal government. do you think it's reasonable to believe that sphri can duplicate that? if 60% of the money has come from the american taxpayers? >> i think our analysis that has been put out that we're taking comment on would indicate that this cost is reasonable for new facilities moving forward. >> okay. when congressman asked you if you did a cost-benefit analysis. you said no. and essence so you done. you made a judgment decision about your analysis. it is reasonable. >> yes, it is a little different than what would look as being cost -- >> i got you. >> very quickly. looking at new projected rule for ozone standards.
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when are those coming out? >> i do not know the exact date. it's in the middle of the process with the clear air act science advisory committee. i know, the next big step in the process is for them to look at a couple of documents that we're hoping to provide by the end of the year. we are past our five-year time window. >> okay. >> under the law. but we're working as hazard we can. >> epa seems to be in the business of mitigating hazard it might be tricky. will you hazard to guess will it be above november of 2014 or after? >> i do not know -- >> it needs to be both proposed and finalized, and i haven't even been briefed on that. we are still looking at the size. weapon like to keep the policy and legal questions aside and work on the science. >> and if i may, very quickly you did a national survey to see willingness of people to pay? >> we're tawshting the 316 b.? i believe it was a national
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survey. >> did you survey industry to see if they were willing to pay for the epa's opinion on whether or not it was cost-effective? did you also do a survey to see if people are willing to pay for the loss of jobs? when jobs are exported offshore because our plants can't compete. >> i think we're mixing a little bit of apples and oranges, sir. i don't know if there is time for me to clarify what the survey actually was doing and what rule it was applying. >> we'll talk offline. >> okay. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. weber. the gentleman from utah, mr. stewart is recognized for his questions. >> thank you for being here today. i'm sure you have just enjoyed your morning. [laughter] >> you've been looking forward to it for weeks. >> i'm honored to be here. >> thank you. i'm sincere when i say i think we recognize you worked harris county to serve your country. there are so many things we disagree with. and that i believe that the epa
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is working not for but actually against the best interest of the american people. and some of those, not all of them. have been brought up to date in the hear soggy far. let me list a few of them quickly. new interpretation of the waters and the clean water act. new ozone standards that may frame weber mentioned very quickly. it's going to affect huge part of the west. hydraulic fracking and clean water. new standards for the cost of the carbon emissions. and standards we've spent some time talking about the coal fire power plant generation. there are others. thank you together i believe these new rules and proposals make life harder for hard-working american families. they take away economic freedom. they take away economic opportunity, i believe. and they have the effect of making washington, d.c., more
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and more powerful and more and more central to americans' lives. i think, frankly, they make the american people less trustful of washington, d.c. and less trustful of the government. i'm sure so you a sense of that as well. and very clearly some of the questions and concerned expressed in the hearing today indicate that to you. let me focus on one, if i could. it's not particularly partisan issue. it effects democratic and republican districts. it will effect democratic and republican states. i'll start with a simple question. and that is it's not intended to be a got-you question at all. do you think it would be prop for the epa to propose a standard that would be impossible to immediate? >>s if a health-based standard about what is healthy and impact associated with it. we need to rely on the sign to say that. >> i understand. again, would you propose a standard that would be impossible to meet? would that be appropriate for
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the epa to do? >> it really depends on what the question is -- >> if it's a health-based standard. you set the standard based on the health impacts. >> but -- >> once den, madam merit. you said it's impossible to meet. it doesn't matter what your standard might be if it's impossible. i think everyone will recognize that. >> we would not require the impossible, sir. >> and i appreciate that. that's what i was hoping you would say. it wouldn't be appropriate for the epa to set standards, for example, that are actually below naturally occurring background levels. if i could call your attention to a slide. i suppose so you seen it or something like this before. regarding ozone standards. the areas in red reflect epa control monitor county. 60 part per billion standard would be violated. there's an orange indicate unmonitored counties that anticipate the violation of the 60 parts per billion.
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and look, if you see that. i represent parts of utah. we've got, you know, some of the most -- very beautiful but some of the most unpopulated area of our nation. using the example naturally occurring ozone 66 part per billion, which is about what some of the proposed standards are being considered. i guess i would ask you, are you aware some of the most remote, in some cases, pristine parks and parts of the country will have ozone that exceeds the range of this proposed standard? >> there is no propose standard at this point, congressman. let's just make sure people aren't confused by that. but i would also say that i know the science advisory board is looking at this issue with the staff so they can establish some
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recommendations to me moving forward and we can take a look at these issues. >> and i appreciate, okay. maybe there isn't a proposed standard. maybe it's some of the issues that depends on what the meaning of the word is is. and we can go back to very technical definitions. there's certainly some consideration of a standard of 60 parts per billion. would you agree with that? i honestly do not know whether that is part of the consideration that the science advisory board will advise me on. >> and hearings that i chaired earlier this spring, we were very clearly told it was a standard they were considering and the fact they were not only considering. it was one they were leaning toward. and we expected it to be the new proposed standard. i guess i would conclude this. my time being ended. and i wish i had more time. but there is nothing that the western states can do to achieve the kind of standard.
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it will have great economic cost. by the epa's own estimate. $90 billion by some estimate maybe ten times that amount. it would -- i would love to talk to you another time about just the wisdom or the sanity, frankly. just the sanity of the epa proposing a standard that sim possible meet but would be imcredibly expensive. once again, coming back to my opening statement. and why that generates so much suspicious and so much ill will in the body of the politics of the american people. with that, thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back my time. >> thank you. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized for his questions. >> sorry. he's not here. we go to the gentleman from texas. >> well, hi, ms. mccarthy. i'm over here. >> thank you.
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>> i know we kind of jumping around. i think you earlier gave me my favorite tweet of the day. which someone sent out. which is i'm lucky enough -- [inaudible] >> the scwoat from you. i love it. i'm lucky enough not to have to sign up for obamacare. [laughter] that's wonderful. i wish my constituents could say the same. >> i think i was referring to i'm lucky enough to have access to good health care, which the -- i still will take your quote. [laughter] i wrote it down. it's really good. if there is -- you said also in your testimony there was $2 billion until new jobs from your epa. i want to point out that one facility alone in my district is the $7 billion. $7 billion in mu construction representing 13,000 job. in your administration, is saying because of the two-week furlough that is going it take many more months to look at the permit. i would request that given the circumstance of our poor economy, and the fact that this
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needs done. it's, i believe, meeting all the epa requirement. i ask that you and i will follow up with you. you look at this and expedite it. the 12,000 jobs. it's a lot of jobs. >> i'm sorry what kind of permit? >> epa permit. it's been in your office, it's been sitting there. they have followed all the rules and regulations. >> i'm happy to -- >> i would appreciate. there's a plan that wants to export coal so it won't be burned here in my district. all together we have $52 billion that is being held up by the epa. which, by the way, is more than the sequester. i'm just saying to you there's a lot of jobs in my district that is dependent, unfortunely, by your decisions. i would like to give the information to you so we can facility the jobs. i know, the president wants. he's the job president. i want to help him out in doing that. and this much activity in our district, which texas, as you probably know. represents 50 percent of the jobs in the united states that are created. in my district we've had 30,000
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people move to my district. there's been over a million wells fracked. there's been a lot of fracking. there's a generally history in the united states of people independently drilling for oil and producing products that this nation relies on. we're going produce more oil than saab. i think it's because the independence and the drive this american spirit. i just want the boot off the neck of the americans response question see a future where we have independents from the middle east inspect is great implications on our foreign policy and great implications on their future. i'm frustrated when i come back to my district and i have people come together town hall meetings and saying we want jobs. i have to say, i'm sorry, someone from the epa is not letting us have the job. i beg you, please, open your heart. up. they have done the work and come threed -- complied with the regulation.
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ii don't know i had a plant that is any district be a lead plant. now all the led plants are closed in the united. they are willing to spend $100 million. now the chinese produce the lead. the batters, come from there. i'm really frustrated that we have so much opportunity in this country and again and again and it comes back to your administration where i hear, okay, locked up there. it's locked up there. it's locked up there. and i go to town hall meetings. i would love for you to come with me. i'll invite you where we can share the podium. and hear from the people individually who are losing jobs because we can't get permits. i'm troubled that, again, time and time again. i can't get any satisfaction -- from your administration. so if question work together.
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>> yeah. go for it. >> if we can work together on this. i would appreciate it. i welcome you to any town hall meeting. >> this is an issue, frankly, have not heard for a listening time. i think we've been trying to do our best to expedite permit as much as question knowing the economic implications that have. so if you do have concerns, we should tackle them together. >> i appreciate it. thank you. >> i have one thing i want to add. this is for my colleague. who wanted to clarify is like -- quick clarification on the cr report in a places since the record. it i can, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> gentleman from kentucky. >> thank you. throughout the hearing you have touted the importance of transpant sei. and i agree. consistent with your promise of transparency on september 30th, 2013, your agency announced it would hold public
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listening sessions on reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants. to consider the public concerns. but i was disappointed to learn that all of the epa's sessions are in major metro poll contain areas. and none of the sessions would be in the ten states most relied on coal. in november our congressional delegation sent you a letter informing you kentucky is already lost more than 6200 coal jobs. in 1927. unfortunately the job losses are forecast to continue to increase as additional epa regulations targeting coal come online. for the sake of open pes and transparency you have espoused today. in the eye of kentucky began and american people will you commit to us today that the epa will hold listening sessions in the
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commonwealth of kentucky and other similar states like north dakota where my colleague is from. that are reliant on coal production and coal-fired electricity? as you seek public comment? >> congressman we have received a number of request for additional listening sessions. i would like to explain the 11 sites are our regional offices. because it's -- we appreciate that. we appreciate you have held before listening sessions outside of your offices. i think you should get out outside of the office, you know. go out and see the people you're going affect once awhile. hopefully you certainly most realize if you fail to hold the listening sessions on greenhouse gas emissions in the states whose economies most depend on the coal industry and coal-fired electricity. this will be perceived as an effort to avoid negative public opinion. >> you realize it's going to be perceived that way. >> i think people should recognize that this is even
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before we're proposing never mind entering in to the rigorous public -- >> can you -- kentucky? there's also opportunity for individuals to -- >> okay. i can't let you take all of my time. >> okay. if you won't answer the question. >> smog and most other air pollution is a function of urban concentration. in fact the epa recognized 66 of 3,000 counties in the united states as having air quality issues. those are urban issue if the most part. so residents of rural areas like myself who rely on wood, heat, as an affordable, abundant, and renewable, and carbon neutral source of heat energy. perpetually perplex by the epa's as if nation with regulating this form of heat. since its primarily a rule form of heat. we believe that one size fits all rule that comes from washington, d.c., from
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bureaucrats who have never experienced the warmth of the heat that comes from wood or maybe even the exercise of collecting it themselves. really weren't qualified to regulate our source of energy. especially when they're taking away our other sources of new jersey. let me read for you from the epa's website on the new rules that are being proposed. or maybe this is preproproposal but certainly from your website. quote, epa is revising the new source performance standards for new residential wood heaters. i'll skip some. -- wood heating appliances wood heaters, stoves, high dronnic heaters. the list goes on. it finishes with this. these standards apply only to new residential wood hearts and not to existing residential wood heating appliances. >> right. >> is that your impression the rules would apply to heaters? >> that's all they apply to,
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yes. >> you can promise us today if americans like the wood stove they have, they can keep it? period? >> this particular part of the clean air act does not address existing these type of plew -- pollutant. and one more question and only 30 second to ask. i hope that's a promise you keep. there's one other issue that affects rule america that has scratching our heads. i hope it's an urban lenged. is anybody in the epa looking at regulating cow -- >> we've heard that on farms. have you been aware at the usada. >> the met than e makes from cattle. can you assure -- >> i'm not looking that the. >> nobody in the epa is. [laughter] >> not that i'm aware of. thank you.
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i yield back. >> thank you. the gentlewoman from wisconsin is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, administrator. in your agency recently proposed new source performance standards for power plants. you set levels for coal-fire plants based on the use of carbonture and sequestration technologies. you did not require the same technology for gas-fired power plants. >> yes. >> by requiring ccs for coal units only, are aren't you applying a standard that is higher regarding the carbon emitted from coal-generating power? it sounds like it's not an all of the above energy plan. it singles out coal for punitive treatment. can it really be transparent and equitable application was clean air act? i like the administration that you have testified supports
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opportunity in natural gas. so do i. i support them also for new coal-fired plants. and coal liquids. all the reasons epa gives for declining to find the ccs technology to -- for gas-fired units. apply with equal use to coal-fired units imrp require of it coal. it strikes me the answer to the question is to set a precedent. epa is under a consent decree -- on greenhouse refrien i are in the new future. will that -- emission reduction also require implementing technology that is unproven on a commercial scale? >> it seems to be the new definition of adequately demonstrated. when epa requires the technology for new coal plants that is not
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yet in commercial operations, what is to stop it from doing the same for other sources of carbon? i night add earlier in response to him, you said that your ccs technology is ready according to the d.o.e. but d.o.e. was in front of this committee in the summer. and they couldn't give us a date for the technology to be ready. then former secretary of energy was here two weeks ago. he testified that commercial ccs technology is currently not available to meet epa's proposed rule. so our problem is the committee received conflicting testimony from the former secretary of d.o.e. at your sister agency. i find it interesting that epa claims that regardless of the new rule, no one plans to build traditional coal plants.
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so does this role achieve any epa carbon reduction goals? by its own emission epa is requiring carbon reducing technology for plants that will never be built. but at the same time it's requiring no reductions from new natural gas plants. even though they are being built in greater numbers than ever before. this doesn't make sense to me. i just want to ask if it makes sense to you. >> could i have address the issues you have raised? >> yes. >> okay. in terms of why we wouldn't be proposing ccs on natural gas, we do not have the kind of wealthy of data we have for the demonstration of ccs on natural gas as we do on coal. we know they run differently. we know the technology is different. we know that the gas stream for natural gas is different.
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we did not have the data available to be able to propose ccs on natural gas. we went with what we knew to be demonstrated technology moving forward. we do have data on the coal side that addresses the requirements we have being robust. we'll look at comments that come in. relative to d.o.e., i think the d.o.e. employees have been and staff as well as the secretary have been very supportive of the way we looking at data in the industry sector moving forward. >> thank you. i want to squeeze in one more question before i run out of time. >> okay. sorry. >> that's okay. let me ask you, this is kind of a yes or no question. is it epa's view that section 111 d. of the clean air act gives states privacy in the development and implementation of new source performance standards for existing power plants? >> yes, state implementation
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plans that need to be developed. >> thank you. it now you have three seconds to answer my previous question. [laughter] >> the other one was this idea we're not going to be making any progress moving forward. most of them are natural gas. what we're trying to do is make sure that new facilities like power plants that are around for 60 or 70 years take advantage of the technologies available to them today. so that they can be part of the mix moving forward. >> thank you. coal is important now. it will be in the future. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. the gentman from north carolina, mr. kramer is recognized for questions. >> i'm sorry. from north dakota? >> yes. yeah. i thought -- north dakota. [laughter] >> thank you. thank you, all administrator. i misspoke if i said anything other than north dakota. >> that's fine. [laughter] thank you for being here today.
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and i want to ask some questions about the hydraulic frawrg study. before i do that. i want to follow up on mr. maises sei's invitation to for you to go to kentucky and hold a listening session on the way to north dakota to hold a new listening session on new performance standard. i would like to submit my letter of invitation to october 18th to the record, if i could, mr. chairman. and it just seem likes like in the transparency that having these listening sessions in the cities where you granted, have regional offices, is okay as far as it goes. but what wonderful opportunity it would be to add some more listening sessions. and so i would love to you have submit to considering the other places including bismarck north dakota. >> i appreciate that. i want to tell you it's not extend what we're doing. those are the major listening sessions. the regional offices in our administrators are really
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branching out to the individual states. >> and i understand that. but i also nones a place like north dakota there's 17,000 jobs at stake and 3.5 billion is at stake. there are bunch of really wonderful smart expert scientists who work in this every single day. can provides lot of good information. a better method might be to hold a listening session there in public view for everybody to participate. so i would appreciate. i would love it if you commit we'll work out the details later. what time and cities. i want to get to the hydraulic infrastructuring study you are engaged in. i have concerns about it especially the study dined and some of the goal of the study. as e discussed in this committee previously with other witnesses. this idea of the epa search forking what is possible what is probably is problematic i think from a real scientific
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standpoint. because one of the primary goal of the study stated primary goal of the study is to answer questions like what are the possible impact of hydraulic fracking on -- drinking water resources. the science advisory board shares this concern as women. one expert commented, quote, there's no risk assessment included in epa's research effort. thus, the reader have no sense of how risky any operation may be and ultimately impacting drinking water. it's also a significant limitation of the work, end quote. is a mere possibility of an event occurring sufficient to justify regulatory action in your find. >> i think this is pure lay scientific research project. we understand the potential implication. it's not a regulatory decision. >> sure. but again, the possible versus
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probable. what is the standard of probability before you continue with more using more resources? given the fact that hydraulic infrastructuring is not a new technology. it's been around for awhile. is there a line. you can understand why they can be concerned we go down the path with a mere possibility as a standard and uncertainty it creates in the investment community we try to become more energy secure in the country? >> my understanding this is a number of research projects that are looking at the potential for impact on water supplies. it's the first step. >> as i understand that. >> in looking at this in a more comprehensive way to be sure we are doing things safe and responsible. >> i agree.
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to determine hole may allow for additional oversight. is this part of the comprehensive look for holes in opportunities to regulate further? >> my understanding is we can certainly follow up. is this is purely a research project. it is not, at this point, talking about what laws we might utilize or what regulation we might want to do. >> have you any holes that might present an opportunity for further regulation by the epa? tbhaws is standard is frightening. we are purely looking at whether or not there are implications we need understand from hydraulic fracking both on water quality. that is it.
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all right. thank you. my time is expired, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam administrator for your testimony today. it's been largely direct responses. and i really appreciate that. >> thank you. following up on some of the questions we had earlier today concerning science-based management, how many ice ages have we had on this planet, do you know? >> i'm sorry, sir, i don't. >> i have read different things. some say three. some say five. do you think we have had ice ages before? >> i'm quite sure. of reading about those. i'm not a scientist and don't want to pretended to be. question get our scientists to respond, if you want a more direct. >> i really would like that.
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normally you -- you must have a warming period between the ice ages. and i was just wondering for you happen to know the temperature on earth between the last two ice ages. >> i'm sorry, sir, i can't answer those questions. >> i if i told you the earth was 30 degrees warmer before the last ice age. would that surprise you? >> it would not influence my decision in term of listening to the science consensus around climate. i leave the science to the scientists. >> don't you think the history of the earth should have some bearing on science? >> i'm sure it does. i just don't want to pretended i'm a scientist and have the discussion, with you sir. i'm not. i listen to the scientists and look listen to the consensus being drawn. >> i listen to the scientists too.
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and i don't claim to be a scientist. i don't want to put my head in the sand and ignore. >> i'm not -- >> and i was wondering what impact you thought carbon emissions had on previous global warming between ice ages. >> the information i have available to me relates to all of the work that is done by the number of scientists looking at the climate issues. and i pay attention to that. and apply the science and decisions moving forward. i'm not -- either comfortable or qualified to have a science discussion with you on these issues. >> do you see the promulgation of any rule enact of carbon tax in the future?
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>> say again? >> do you see the promise promulgation enact a carbon tax for this country in the future? if only if congress provides that mechanism. no. okay. >> mr. chairman, i can't get my questions answered. i guess i'm pretty much finished and yield back. >> thank you. i don't believe we have any other members for the questions. administrator mccarthy. thank you for your presence today. we may have additional questions that would be submitted to you in writing. we hope you will reply in a next couple of weeks. >> i didn't mean, can i ask you one favor? >> i know we ask you a lot of information about the subpoena issues. i want to make sure we understood one another. if we meet after ward. i want to make sure i gave perfectly correct answers our expectations are the same on what you're looking for and whether or not we've complied with that and with a you're looking for next. i want to be very respectful you and the wishes of this --
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>> thank you. you will. i'm somewhat encourage bid your answers today. ly hope you will give us the data we would like to have and would like to have independently verified. didn't you once tell us if you like it you have it? [laughter] thank you for your appearance today. we stand adjourned. african president nelson mandela died today. he was 95. south africa's current president made the announcement in the south africa capitol. "the guardian" niewp reports that nelson died in his home surrounded by his wife and family. house speaker spoke with
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reporters in the u.s. capitol today. he's hopeful that senator murray and paul ryan can come to an agreement on next year's budget. and he said he's open to a one-month extension of the farm bill. i'm hopeful that paul ryan and patty murray will come to a budget agreement that they can pass both the house and the senate. paul ryan gave us an update on where they were. i'm hopeful they'll be able to work this out. but there's clearly no agreement. on the farm bill, i've not seen any real progress on the farm bill. and we've got to pass a one-month extension of the farm bill. i think we've been prepared to do that. [inaudible] i'll let the chairman answer that question. but i think all of it probably i've extended for a month. listen, i've been that the house
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is going leave next friday. and you all know me pretty well. i mean what i say, i say what i mean. emergency unemployment benefits are scheduled to expire on new year's eve. coming 1.3 million people without jobs. the house democratic steering committee held a hearing on the issue today. one of the witnesses spoke about the eight month she spent searching for a job. i have worked my entire adult life having had three jobs my whole career. and i had never been unemployed until now. as soon as i lost my job, i immediately began my furious search for employment and began navigating the world of online boards, job boards, and diligently networking. my goal was to place my resume
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in the hands of every one i knew. i have spent the majority of my waking hours looking for work. during this time, i was able to support myself because i received those vital unemployment insurance benefits. i not only was looking for jobs in my field, or only for the jobs at the same salary level. i'm smart enough to know that most likely i would be changing careers and taking pay cut. i applied for everything and anything. eventually, i began applying for entry-level call center jobs. jobs that have resulted in a $30,000 a year pay cut. or to put this another way, a
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42% reduction in my pay. that was monday of this week. in a box, on the floor by my desk, i have a stack of job application receipts, job descriptions, research, and various, various forms of my resume and cover letters. this stack is two-fetal. and i know because i measured it. in addition, my online networking connections have literally gone viral. my regular state unemployment benefits ended in early november. and i immediately began receiving federal emergency unemployment company situation. i wouldn't have been able to pay my mortgage and would been at
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risk of losing my beloved little house. i was raised by my mother, a single parent, we never owned a home but we lived in apartments. so i'm a especially proud of my home. i know, my deceased mother would have been proud to know that she raised me right. i am somebody. i own a home! now in the eighth month of my job search, i'm happy to say i have secured a job just three days ago. [applause] again, that was monday. although my new job pays much, much less than what i was making, it is a good job with a
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livable wage, and for that i'm very grateful. without unemployment insurance, and the federal emergency benefits, i would have not been able to sustain myself in my job search. so for me, these programs have done what they are supposed to. they kept me in my home. i could still by groceries and pay my bills. my anxiety was kept to a manageable level. and i was able to keep sending out applications and going on interviews. if it had not been fortunate in finding this job, i would have
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faced the year end cutoff of federal emergency unemployment company situation benefits absent congressional action. for millions, that would be devastating. for me, it could have meant the loss of my beloved home. i'm so relieved and grateful i won't have to nice now. but i know millions of others are at the same risk i was just two days ago. again, monday. i am here on their behalf pleading with congress to renew the federal emergency unemployment compensation program for 2014. and please give the other 1.3 3 million americans a fighting chance to become reemployed.
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i am an emergency unemployment compensation success story. won't you, please, allow this to be america's story? thank you. [applause] friday on c-span. "washington journal" look at the national institute of health. starting live at 7:30 eastern.
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when it comes to metal mining the mining district surpasses anything that existed in excess of 1.2 ounces. is that it makes the mining district the number one mining silver mining producer in the history of the u.s. they want to keep them sharp. that blacks smith was an important job. they had a blacks smith. they can't see very well. whether they are drifting back in. they were doing a technique called scaling. they want to hear the nice,
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solid sharp sound as they tapping on rocks. it sounds like a hallow sound. there's loose material. they can't see it very well. it sounds funny. that's when they get the pick and tools and start scaling the loose rock off. working hard scaling the loose rock downtown -- down to the nice solid rock. they like to hold their hands for safety like this. it's the proper way. a lot of them didn't a natural intoing tholed like this. they had tricks. they like to use the thumbnail to give thement a target to swing at. imagine your hands going and slip. that might put you out of business. the safe way was considered to hold it like this. they hit it, turn a quarter of turn, hit it, turn it a quarter of the turn. that's how they drilled the handle in candle light. it's important to maintain the
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round hole. it's called a starter drill. they start with a short one. move to a longer one. keep single and quarter after turn drilling holes all day. some historians believe at this point they blow out the light source to conserve them. the mine district is one of the richest metal mining districts in the area. find out more this weekend as booktv and american history tv look at the history and life of dpoo. saturday at noon on c-span2. and sunday at 5:00 on c-span 3. former south african president nelson mandela died today. he was 95. south africa's current president made the announcement in the south south african capital. the newspaper of johannesburg reports that nelson mandela died in his home surrounded by his wife and family.
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columbian president was in washington this week for talks with president obama. on tuesday, he spoke at the national press club about his country's free trade agreement with the u.s., the war on drugs, and peace talks with columbian rebels. this is an hour. good afternoon. welcome to the national press club. my name is angela keane. i'm a reporter for "bloomberg news" and the 106th president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future through our programming with the event such as this, while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, please visit our website at
7:01 pm to donate to programs offered to the public through the national press club journalism institute. on behalf of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker and those in the audience today. if you hear applause, i note that members of the general public are also attending. so it's not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. i would like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action today on twitter using the #npc lunch. after our guest speech concludes, we'll have a question and answer session. now i would like to introduce our head table guests. ..
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currently a professor at george washington university in the press club member who organized today's event. thank you. our guest today could well have been a member of the national press club if you are not the president of colombia. as a journalist, president juan manuel santos was a columnist and deputy director of the newspaper ltm poet and the present of the freedom of expression commission for the interim america press association. he has also published several
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books including the third way co-written with british prime minister toni blair and check on terror where he describes the most important actions against the farc rebel group during his tenure as the ministry of defense. he ultimately entered politics and perhaps he will tell us all why he made a career change in rows to be present at columbia in 2010. he was elected for four-year term extending until august 2014 obtaining more than 9 million votes, the highest amount obtained by any candidate in the history of colombian democracy. two weeks ago he announced he will run for re-election in next year's presidential election saying he wants to be able to finish the peace process he started. president sub two campaigned in 2010 on a platform to carry on the offensive against the leftist guerrillas that have waged war against the government for decades.
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as president however he opened talks with the revolutionary armed forces of colombia or farc. negotiators reached a draft agreement on november 6 as 1 aspect of the talks and we expect president santos will tell us about the negotiations in the chances for an ultimate peace agreement. the peace negotiations could well be a central issue in next year's elections with one leading opponent calling for an and to the peace talks. also opposing the peace negotiations is former president uribe a former national press club speaker who says he favors someone who has president will take a harder stance against the rebels. please help me give a warm national press club welcome to colombia and president juan manuel santos. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. thank you all for attending this session. it's a great pleasure to be here among my fellow journalists. why did i switch from journalism to politics? i still ask that question myself. i was seeing the letterhead in one of the rooms first amendment launch about thomas jefferson when he said he was struggling for the first amendment and he said there can be no good government without absolute freedom of expression in the press and after he was president he said there could not be a good government with complete freedom of expression in the press.
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[laughter] i will tell you at the end of my government, that is true. but thank you very much for being here. i will try to summarize what i have been doing in washington and the u.s. and give you some basic messages and open it up for questions. today and yesterday in miami, i went to miami and then had a meeting with the colombian community in miami and this morning i went to a meeting with the inter-american dialogue. i was a member for many years. i was the co-vice chairman and then i had a interesting and fruitful visit to the white house with president obama. i am here as his guest on official visit. then i went to the oes and spoke
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to the general assembly of the oes with the ambassadors and other guests that they had invited. i then went to speak with the head of the democratic party and the house nancy pelosi and a few of the members of the house of the democratic party. then i went to speak with speaker boehner and a few of the republicans in the house, with whom i have been working for many years not only as president but also as foreign minister and now i am here. last night i had dinner with the center for american progress, the members of that think-tank and i was there tonight with the
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council and they invited me to address them. what has been the main message i have tried to convey to the u.s. officials and to the u.s. public first, i think the u.s. government and both parties for the help that they have given us since we started collaborating in colombia. i was studying -- with the present at the university of miami to see how things have changed in these 13 years because that was in the year 2000. the four and a president came to miami, went to southcom. this time i came to miami and went to the university. that describes how things have
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changed in my country and in our relations. we have been trying to make an effort to go beyond the security challenge. we have fortunately made tremendous progress there but colombia needs much more security and that is why i took the decision when i won the election also to work in other fronts besides security and opened the agenda with the world also to other matters besides security. that does not mean that we have neglected security. we have continued to advance in terms of security and in these three years we have given the worst blows to the farc and we took down the number one and
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number two, 47 of their leaders and the number of people in arms of these organizations are at their lowest in history since we take some kind of counting of their members. but i also decided to open a peace process with them simply because every war has to end through some kind of negotiation and i saw the conditions were correct. the conditions were present and i took the decision to open negotiations. very conscious of the fact that it would be more complex and difficult, that it would have enemies but also very conscious that this was the correct step and the corrective check if. making war is more popular and
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easier than making peace and i can tell you because i have been on both sides as the minister of defense and now as president. we have advance the peace process much more than any other moment in our history in many attempts that we have made to have peace after 50 years of war. we managed to negotiate first the agenda. that is a major step in any process to end conflict. if you agree on the agenda, you have agreed on 50% of what you need and we did that more than a year ago and we negotiated five points in the agenda and we have agreed on two of those five
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points. the first is then an agreement on what to do with our rural areas, rural development. this is extremely important because they were rural, they were born there, they grew there and so for them this issue is very important and we already have an agreement on that point. the second very important point is political participation, how are they going to participate in politics and transition from bullets to floats, from arms to arguments and how is it that we are going to open the space for them and this point is something that the colombian democracy
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needed anyway. progress in strengthening our ratification of the people in our democratic process. we have reached agreement on those two points. we are at this very moment negotiating a third item which is rug trafficking. i put it on the agenda deliberately with one very simple reason. they have always said that they are not drug traffickers. they profit from drug trafficking but they are not drug traffickers. if that is so i told them, if that is so and you want to become legal if you have to become allies of the state against drug trafficking and if we succeed in the objective which is already agreed to the two parts, colombia without cok.
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just think what that would mean not only to colombia touched to the whole region or the u.s.. colombia has been the major provider of cocaine to the world and to the u.s. for 40 years. can you imagine what this would mean if there was a change that suddenly disrupts the flow of cocaine to the american cities or to the region? it would be a major breakthrough and that itself is extremely important point besides the other points of having peace in our country. so i have thanked both president obama and the authorities that have been supporting this peace process. the peace process needs support. there are enemies who don't want the process to have a good
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ending for various reasons. some people think that you are legitimizing the farc and my answer is if we don't sit down and speak with our enemy then how are we going to reach peace? if they think that we can kill the last of the guerrilla, it would take another 50 years in order to do that. so the way to end a conflict of this sort is by sitting down and negotiating a final agreement and that is what we have tried to do. some people are saying that we are giving in to the farc or we are giving in to castro or the chavez regime. this is nonsense. this is absolute nonsense. we have sought help from
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venezuela and cuba precisely because they have influence in farc and they have been held old and i thank them for their help. what we want is a very simple object it, all of us, to have peace in my country. we are not negotiating our political institutions. we are not negotiating our democratic and civil's. we are simply negotiating the transition of these people from their violence and their hirsute of power through violent means to their or pseudo-power through democratic amenities. that is how we are negotiating and today you asked me how optimistic i am. i continue to say i am
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cautiously optimistic. this is a very complex process. 50 years of war, you don't resolve in 50 weeks of conversations, but i am today more optimistic than i was a year ago. i think we are moving in the right direction. i m. finding political will on the other side of the table and i think that if we continue with the progress we have been making we will find an agreement which will change the history not only of colombia but of the whole region. simultaneously when i took over the presidency i said, we need to build the conditions for peace because peace is not made only by laying down the arms.
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peace is made in the house, in the schools, in the social investment so i decided to make a very progressive reforms and i've followed the example of great former american president abraham lincoln and i invited my former rivals from the campaign to become a member of the government. we have here the head of the liberal party. he is now a labour minister. we created national unity that has allowed us to approve reforms that nobody imagined possible for or five years ago in colombia or 10 or 20. for decades it had been thought
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that it seemed impossible. with this national union we have been able to approve reforms that are giving us the instruments to have a very strong economy and especially for me more important airy good social results. the facts are there. the economy is growing almost at the average of five are sent and we have been creating jobs for 40 months in a row. we have a performance of 40 months, month after month the unemployment rate coming down and we can say very proudly that colombia has created more jobs than any other country in latin america including brazil which has four times our population. this is something which i think
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is extremely important because also the jobs created for the first time bar formal jobs instead of in formal jobs. not only that, we have put in place specific focused public policies and taken action to fight poverty and extreme poverty and besides peru, which has been the country that has performed better, but after peru we are the best performer of the whole region in terms of decreasing poverty. and also against extreme poverty, we have also put in place specific actions and we have been able to take out of extreme poverty more than 1,300,000 colombians. not only that, one of the big problems we had that was one of the bottlenecks for
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sustainability in the long run was how unequal the country was. the social injustice of the country. we were the second most unequal country in the whole of latin america after haiti. it was something completely unacceptable to me and to all colombians and we said we were going to break this trend, this perverse trend that we had for so many years whereby the economy grew but also the inequality grew. the rich became richer, the port became poorer. we put in place specific actions we have wrote this trend and we can also proudly say in the last three years colombia has lowered its inequality more than any other country except for ecuador. ecuador performs better than we did but we are not anymore the
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number two. on the average of course we still have tremendous inequalities. of course we still have almost 2 million people unemployed and of course we still have among 30% of the colombians living in poverty. at the progress has been tremendous and what i hope is that if we reach a peace agreement, then we can concentrate even more of our resources in achieving a better social indicators and more progress in that respect. in our international relations, i also decided to change the way we were doing things.
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when i arrived to the government we were in bad shape with that respect. the free trade agreement was blocked. the free trade agreement with europe was blocked. we were on the verge of war with their neighbors with venezuela and ecuador and i said we must change this. we have to be relevant players in the work scenario if we want to have a good internal performance and we decided to start changing the situation. the first thing i did was to call my until then one of the worst enemies, mr. chavez. i invited him to come to colombia. we sat down with each other and i said, we are -- we have been at odds for a long
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time because as a journalist and also as a minister i had written the worst things about mr. chavez and he had said the worst things about me. and i said why don't we act with a certain degree of maturity? you are the head of state in venezuela and then the head of state in colombia. let's work together respecting our differences. i'm not going to become a revolutionary and you are not going to become a liberal democrat that but we can agree to disagree and respect our differences and try to identify those areas where we can work together for the benefit of the venezuelans in the colombians. this is the correct mature way to handle a situation like we have and stop insulting each other through the media and stop threatening each other with war. let's work together for the benefit of oath people and
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things changed medically. we have a working relation with venezuela. venezuela has helped us in the peace process, something that i vitiate and that i value very much. and ecuador just last week i had a meeting with the president who also we had no diplomatic relations when i came. we were also insulting each other. i would meet with my my predecessor every day and i said let's fix things and act with maturity. we did so and we said the relations between ecuador and colombia were at the best level in our history. that has given us room to play in a positive sense in the region. we were elected as secretary
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generals. we have played a role in the caribbean, central america. we are helping caribbean and central america with the u.s. on their security issues. we are trying to transfer the technology and the know-how that we have acquired through more than 40 years of fighting drug traffickers in fighting terrorism and fighting organized crime. we are now using that know how to help the caribbean islands and the central americans and we are now also promoting the integration through initiatives like the pacific alliance with mexico, chile and peru and colombia, the four best performing economies in latin america. we got together and we decided to integrate more profoundly and things are working quite well.
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it has become the attraction for many investors and for the world and we will continue with that initiative in trying to integrate the whole continent. therefore i think we are doing well on the economic side. we are doing well on the social front. we are performing well on the international front but of course the cherry on the pie would be the peace process. if we are able to finish this peace process, then i think the future for colombia in the region would be much better. the question i put to the people is if we have achieved those results in the middle of the conflict, just imagine what we could do without the conflict. what i say is the conflict is like a dead-end in the road.
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it has inhibited the colombians to realize our full potential and we have great potential. colombia is very rich in almost everything. not only are we the richest country in biodiversity in the world, we have the largest number of frogs or birds in the world but we also have a tremendous human capital and we now have a tremendous soccer team and we are now one of the best four teams in the world. so there is a good future for colombia. i tried to reiterate that every day to my fellow colombians into the world. of course we have problems. of course we have challenges. of course there are still many
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problems. you don't fix a country that has been at war for 50 years in three years but we are making progress. we are making progress in their relations with the u.s. also couldn't be better. i am proud to say we have good relations with vote parties. we have very good relations with the obama administration and working very well. both sides. it's been a win-win situation and we are now cooperating in things like education and technology. for example, we are connecting every single -- with broadband in fiber optics. this will be the first country that will be completely connected in latin america. how can we use that infrastructure and technology to better combat poverty, to take
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the benefits of technology. those are the types of challenges that the u.s. could help us a lot. you have the know-how. you have the universities. you have the software industries and there we can really create a lot of synergies. so, i come here full of optimism and full of good intentions, good intentions that are becoming realities. the facts are there. i don't say the international monetary fund says colombia's one of the best performing in the world and the social indicators. i'm not saying it. it's the human development or graham of oxford university that assaying colombia has a model that should be replicated worldwide. i am proud that this is happening in my country and that
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is the success story of that i wanted to share with you. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. we have lots of questions on lots of topics. starting out the u.s. has had to limit its military presence in south america due to sequestration and prioritizing the pacific. how concerned are you about this especially for drug interdiction? this is something you talked about with president obama today >> well, we value extremely to the help that the u.s. has given us. it has been extremely useful. not because of the quantity because when you add up what colombia has given us versus what we have had to invest
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ourselves, it's a very small percentage. the quality of that help in terms of intelligence, of practical ways to be more if in for example the fight against drug trafficking has been very useful but that is the knowledge that we have already acquired and as i mentioned it's the knowledge that we are sharing with other countries and in a way what we are doing with the u.s. is lowering the costs and expanding and strengthening the results through you would say a proxy procedure whereby colombia is providing this help with the help of the u.s. and in that case you could make the resources much more efficient.
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>> is the u.s. going in the right direction by evolving from security aide to economic development help then what more should the u.s. be doing? >> you well i think yes it's going in the right direction but they should never ignore that security is the basis for any society. but in the case of colombia, we have learned and we have been improving all our security indicators. it makes a lot of sense to invest those resources where you have a better return especially a better social return so i think that is a wise way to use the resources better and that is what is happening in colombia. we have made tremendous progress
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in security and now we have to make more progress on the social agenda and if the u.s. is ready to help it will be more than welcomed. >> you talked about income inequality decreasing in colombia and of course in the u.s. it's increasing. did you offer president obama any advice on that? [laughter] >> no, i didn't. i forgot. [laughter] but we are making a lot of progress there and threw very effective mechanisms. for example we have a program whereby we have identified 1.2 million families in each family has one person who is the manager of that family. it has 45 different factors that
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have to be solved in order for that family to graduate from extreme poverty and we have 18 institutions of the state and government providing help in that process. that has been extremely successful and we have brought a lot of people out of extreme poverty through mechanisms like this. i tell my people always to innovate, in debate especially on the social agenda and social policies. people have many times great ideas on how to do that. this is something that i think should be shared with other countries because it's working and what works should be copied. >> you mentioned that free trade agreement signed a year to have to a year and half ago. was there discussion today with president obama on how that's
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going and whether anything should change with the? >> yes. we came to the conclusion that it's working quite well. the u.s. is exporting more to colombia and vice versa. there are specific issues where we have mutual, not complaints but mutual efforts and obstacles to overcome. they mentioned something with the labor, some issues with the labor situation in colombia. we addressed those issues very clearly on what we are doing their. i wanted the u.s. to be more helpful in lifting obstacles that would allow us our example to export our avocados to the u.s.. i was given in the white house a
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delicious salad and the first plate in the lunch and there was an avocado. i said this is not a colombian avocado because we have restrictions. we need those restrictions to be lifted. those types of items are the ones that we shared but in general we are very happy with the way it is performing performing. >> there has been concern about the protection of workers under the free trade agreement. do you think that workers are being adequately protected? >> yes. we still have to go further but the difference for the protection of workers in colombia in the last two or three years what it was then and what it is now, is a major difference.
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again, i recognize that we have to go further. the progress is there and the facts demonstrate it. >> what is your take on the protests by farmers and other workers in rural areas? to what do you attribute the protests and what resolution do you see for the future? >> the rural areas have been neglected not for years, for decades or even for centuries and that is where the poverty and the inequality is concentrated much more than in the urban areas. what happened there is, because of the commodity prices for example, the price of coffee went down from $3 to 1 dollar per pound in the international markets and people with good
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reason went out to protest. what are we doing to address this problem? as i mentioned the peace proces, this vision of shared, a shared vision of how we can give more importance to the rural areas. we are increasing the budget to be invested in rural areas. this year we approved for next year 5 billion pesos. five billion pesos is a huge amount of money compared to what they have received before the rural sector but more importantly we are constructing a long-term policy for the rural areas with the participation of everybody, especially the peasants. for them to be on the locomotive and not on the wagon on this train that we think is going to be extremely useful for colombia
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and the world. the world is seeking more and more food and colombia is one of the few countries that can expand in a short period of time the production of food. so there we have an opportunity and that is what i'm trying to build through different policies and different discussions. overall a greater policy that will help the rural areas to deliver at a faster rate. >> you for an agreement was reached two months ago why are protests continuing? >> sorry? >> why are protest continuing if an agreement has been made? >> they are very small. some coffee growers claim that the help has not arrived to the region but this is very marginal protest.
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if you analyze the protests we are receiving today compared to what we had some time ago, it's completely different from what has happened before. >> do you think that conditions were colombian farmers will truly improve only when a peace agreement is reached? >> i hope they will improve. with or without agreement. what i have said is we have a set of objectives that are not dependent on the farc. we need to invest in rural areas we need to take public goods to rural areas, roads, schools, hospitals, regardless if there is agreement with the farc or not.
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what i have said is we need to establish a policy that is shared by everybody and with that policy we have to find the resources to finance those projects. >> in your talks with president obama today did he give support for the peace talks with farc? >> definitely yes and i appreciate that very much. he has good supported the peace process and he was one of the first to know about the peace process when it was a secret. nobody knew about it. i shared that secret with him when he went to colombia during the summit and since then the government has been extremely supportive of the peace process. >> today the farc called for an international conference on illicit drugs to include the u.s. and europe. what is your reaction to that request?
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>> the call for a discussion on what to do with the fight in the war against drugs has been on the agenda for a long time. as a matter of fact we have put this on the agenda in the summie to the oes. i was discussing with the oes today about this specific issue. we made a big exercise analysis of different scenarios that would happen. we would take different actions. these scenarios should be used as input for worldwide discussion on this issue. the question is are we doing the best that we can or could we do something more effective? this is something that the world needs to discuss and we have
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been receiving increasing amount of support including the u.s. because they have approved a mandate to the oes on this issue and i think it's useful and it's positive to re-examine the whole issue of the war on drugs because it's a multilateral world problem that affects everybody. >> you said a one-year timeframe for the talks with the farc and we are of course closing in on that year. you have gotten two-point three. how long are you willing to extend the timeframe for those talks? >> when i mentioned a year it was simply because last november they asked me how long would you like to have these talks and i said i would refer these talks
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last for months and not year so everybody started making the arithmetic. they said november or december of this year which we are in right now and of course i would have liked for this to advance faster but i think that we have made enough progress to maintain the optimism. i don't know how long it will take to finish the agreement. i hope it will not take too long but it is completely counterproductive to put in a process like this fatal deadlines. so i don't have a fatal deadline and i'm not putting a fatal deadline on the agenda. >> is some sort of deadline important or are you willing to continue indefinitely without deadline at all? >> no, of course nobody will continue indefinitely these processes where alex.
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this support will wear out and i think we are all conscious of that but i prefer to say we hope to finish as soon as possible without creating a deadline because the experience in other processes it's very counterproductive. >> a questioner asked to describe the agreement on .2 of clinical participation. a questioner asked what role with the farc have been colombia's democracy and have they been guaranteed political representation? >> of course what the process is all about is for them to have us base in the democratic arena of colombia and by giving a certain guarantee that they will have this space, they will then be
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intimidated to change their arms votes, change their way of doing politics for trying to achieve what they want to achieve through violence rather than legal means. the answer is yes we have given them sufficient conditions and guarantees for them to be able to participate in politics. that is what the process is all about. >> you mentioned that your talks are coming after 50 years of strife read it's not something new for your country. how do you tell us that your negotiations differ from previous peace talks for example under president -- >> the conditions are completely different. the country is completely different. the military coalition of forces is completely different. the conditions that we put to
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start negotiations are completely different. during the steve administration, the they cleared an area which was the size of switzerland for the farc to be there. i decided i said there would not be one centimeter of our territory cleared for them because we had a very bad experience with that example. i said there will be no cease-fire. i said we will negotiate under the principle of nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. this has been a very well-planned process compared to others that were not as well-planned and the results are there. >> you referred to europe predecessor who of course has been critical of your ministry
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should especially in dealing with the farc. can you please explain your response to his criticism? >> no, i prefer to dedicate my time to better things. [laughter] >> why was cuba selected as the venue rather than say panama or any other locality? >> q. but gave our counterparts more confidence. they were extremely worried about their own security when i said we will not negotiate in colombia. cuba seemed to be a good place and the cuban government has been extremely helpful. since the beginning they said we will help to host these meetings
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and i think that we made the correct decision. >> a questioner says you know where the farc is in the jungle and where their bases are and you have oversight surveillance and intelligence on this topic. why have you not just on them out of existence and are you afraid of repercussions? >> we have been bombing them quite frequently and that is the truth. the thing is that they have learned how to hide and how to protect themselves from intelligence. they learn very fast but we continue trying. >> you will the peace overtures you are making with the farc make anti-drug efforts more difficult in the u.s. or any other country? >> on the contrary. i think it would make it much easier.
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again, you imagine the farc accused of being the biggest cartel in the world now on our side hoping to substitute the coca citations with other crops and helping us identify the roots where drug traffickers move their drugs? this would be a major change. >> the questioner says colombia's drugs mostly go through exit code to get to the u.s.. what are you doing to get mexican cooperation to stop this flow? >> we have very close cooperation with mexico. we have been training many of their people in colombia. we have a permanent real-time information sharing and we have the police corps operating among
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themselves. there is a very strong and increasing cooperation between these countries. >> do you see a colombia free of cocaine someday? is that possible? >> well i dream about it, yes and if we reach an agreement, a good agreement on this issue at least we can see cocaine diminishing substantially in colombia which would be a great, great achievement. colombia has been the country that has suffered the most in this war on drugs in the world. we have lost our best politicians, our best best policemen in their best judges, our best people, and a lot of blood has been spilled in this war on drugs. and we will continue to cause its a matter for us of national security. so anything that will improve the situation in our effort to
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eradicate drugs from colombia would be extremely, extremely beneficial for colombia. >> looking to other concerns hault in the u.s. has the national securities measuring of private communications tainted diplomatic relations between colombia and the u.s.? >> we have been sharing information on security issues for a long time. colombia is a particular country in the sense that we share with the u.s. and other intelligence agencies all the information and therefore we have spied on our common enemies. it has been done with the
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cooperation of the colombian authorities and the u.s. authorities. i don't know any information of spying outside that sphere of cooperation. if i knew about that then of course i would condemn it immediately. see some of your neighbors in latin america of course have been infuriated by revelations of u.s. eavesdropping. >> i think yes, if somebody spies on you, you have all the right to get mad. they have a right to get mad if they are spied on without position -- permission. >> china's -- and the country signed cooperation agreements just last
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week. can you tell us more about the colombia china economic relationship and do you see any effects there that it may have on u.s. colombia economic relations? >> we have a normal relation with china, a good relation. our biggest commercial partner is the u.s.. it is a big player now in the world economy. i have been sharing with many of the persons i have been talking to, a situation where i think there is an opportunity for latin america and the u.s.. there is a new concept that is becoming a very important concept. the concept that is referred to
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as a demographic dividend. the source of growth in the world that china was some years ago started to diminish because the negative demographic dividend that they are having because the population is not increasing it on the contrary it is decreasing. you have the problem in europe and you are having that problem here in the u.s.. one of the few areas in the world where you have a positive democrat dividend is america. you still have a young population and there you have a tremendous opportunity in the u.s. sees latin america with those eyes, there's a tremendous opportunity to increase the cooperation between the two areas and you are going to need immigration sooner or later if you want your economy to continue growing and that
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immigration will come naturally from latin america. that even has a political dividend here so there is a tremendous opportunity for the u.s. in latin america. of course china is very interested in latin america's energy resources, and our water, in our biodiversity and if they want to invest latin america will welcome it. >> thank you. we are almost out of time but for asking one more question couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. first of all i would like to remind you of our upcoming speakers. on december 10 we have the honorable mayor of houston texas. on december 16th 16th dan nickerson chairman and ceo of general motors and on december 19, ricky skaggs grammy award-winning and bluegrass legend. second i would like to present
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our guest with the traditional national press club coffee mug full fleet to be filled with colombian coffee. [applause] and for the final question you mentioned the good prospects of colombia's national team. the u.s. team is looking up for a change. how do you see the prospects for our two countries in the world cup? >> i told president obama this morning that i wish our teams would not meet in the first round because it would be very disrespectful to eliminate the u.s.. [laughter] >> diplomatic. thank you. thank you of course for coming today. i would also like to thank the national press club staff including the journalism institute and broadcast center for organizing today's event. a reminder you can find more information about the national press club on our web site at
7:59 pm and please remain seated for some closing remarks in spanish by president santos. thank you. we are adjourned. [applause] ..
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