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tv   EPA Administrator Gina Mc Carthy on Regulations and the Rural Economy  CSPAN  February 12, 2016 3:56am-6:59am EST

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resolved in the court. this is about three hours. >> the rural economy will come to order. >> dear heavenly father we thank you so much for the opportunity to serve this great nation. lord we thank you for the freedoms that we have we thank you that you have blessed us as you have with the rich resources and the ability to use those to make the world a better place. lord guide us and direct us, give us wisdom through this
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hearing and we ask all this in jesus name, amen. >> thank you. i want to thank ms. mccarthy. it's related to the regulatory of the environmental protection agencies. many members believe that epa has pursued agenda absent of any recognition of consequences and production agriculture. epa is trading regulations and policies to burdensome overreaching and negatively affect the jobs of rule economy. the most poynant example water rule, the clean water rule. i'll be frank, this rule is not about clean water. every one wants and deserves to drink clean water. rebranding government is part of social media campaign does not
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change the content of the rule. this rule is simply the result of epa and stakeholders, including states and other federal agencies and the american people to expand jurisdiction. this rule is already tied up in the court system and i would imagine it would be there for a number of years. this is only one of the many instances where i believe the agency has intent and instead of administering the law epa challenges congress to pass legislation that gives the agency more authority and if congress doesn't act epa will legislate or in some instances by intimidation. just this week the supreme court intervened in another overreaching of the obama administration by staying implementation of the clean power plant. i'm glad that the courts have intervene. however, it should never have come to this. just because something sounds great in theory in dc doesn't mean it will work or have impact
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on constituents. most times than not they do nothing, the original conservationists. there's economic incentive to adopt practices of long-term liability. while it play be popular among some, i think you can acknowledge that nobody cares more about the environment than those who drive revenues from it. today's committee members will talk about examples in which epa's regulatory approach justifiable increase for doing businessers for ranchers proposed changes and modified standards for farm workers and many others regardless of which some believe regulations might be justifyiable and must be
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based on science. farmers face increasing pressure from pest and disease. increase in crop loss will impact food prices. the economic consequences of these actions consequences could be devastating federal law dictates that the usda, serve as important adviser to epa in regulation of pesticides. it has been event in the actions epa has taken to evaluate use of them. crop-protection products can increase farm yields 40 to 70% depending on the crop. it concerns me urgent concerns about the lack of serious with which epa takes and incorporates expertise specially interagency reviews. i anticipate that every member
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will engage you and i hope this will open door for cooperative relationship. they believe little credit is given for the voluntary conservation activities that they've engaged for years. this committee is going to be advocate for our farmers as you'd expect. i appreciate the administrator being here this morning. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you administrator mccarthy for joining us. i appreciate you being here today. you know we've had our share of disagreements but you're always been willing to listen and my concerns and we don't always get to the sam place but at least you've been willing to listen and i'm glad that other members will have an opportunity to share what's happening with their districts. i'm on record along with a lot of others that epa is an agency that's overreached. i simply don't believe that there's enough understanding within the agency or
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administration about what we do in rural america and the real consequences of new regulations and what they could have on agriculture in the rural economy. the proposed clean power plan rule which in my opinion was rightly put on hold by the supreme court this week is one of them as well as the are proposed waters if i read one more time about farmer exemptions i'm going to tear my hair out. i have a full-time staff that untangles this regular i'm, we have four federal agency deciding what a wetland is. they don't agree. even within the same agency somebody in one county that has one opinion versus another. i can guaranty if this rule goes into effect it's just going to
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make that worse. we had a memorable understanding between nrcs and it's just has not worked. we still have people all over the map so i don't have a lot of confidence of just putting exemptions is going to fix this, you know so i hope there's some other way we can deal with that. i hope today's hearing is an opportunity to get a better grasp on what you're up to and what we need in agriculture and rural communities. i hear concerns from my farmers and i'm sure other members do as well. i thank you for your willingness and look forward for today's hearing and questions. yield back. >> thank you ranking member. i want to thank the administrator this morning. i want to welcome her to the witness table. we hope to be respectful with that and with that introduce the
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honorable gina mccarthy, administrator for the u.s. environmental protection agency in washington, d.c., and ma'am you're ready to go whenever you are. thank you for being here. >> thank you i really want to thank you for the honor and opportunity to be here with you this morning. as stewards of the law the epa and farmers share a common goal in protecting our environment, as life-long conservationists to produce fuel and finer that we rely on. in the 45 years since epa's finding we have cleaned up 70% of the nation's air pollutions and hundreds of thousands of miles of water ways all the while the economy has crippled. agriculture too less fertilizer, i would like to highlight some of the epa
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furthering our common goals working with technical exports, we recently launched recycling nutrients. they manage more than 1 billion tons of manure but that containses valuable nitrogen participants will be challenged to use the power of competition to turn innovative concepting into designing and ultimately technologies creating a win for farmers the environment as well as the economy. epa also partners with local foods and local-places project promoting healthy and economically viable foods through farmers markets and focusing development and existing neighborhoods, we help
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farm economies and protect undeveloped rural lands. last month we announced 27 new communities served to 62 and 29 states just since the program started in 2013. the clean-water rule which we finalized last year protecting wetlands that one and three americans rely on and farmers and ranchers need in crops and livestocks. as members in this committee no recent supreme court rulings regarding applications of clean-water act to streams and wetlands. in developing the rule engineers responded to request to define scope more clearly, and more freely. in doing so the clear-water rule maintains exemption it expands exclusions from the definitions of waters of united states to make sure that the clear does
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not add additional permit requirements on farmers and promotes their voluntary efforts to protect and enhance clean water. we continue outreach to the agriculture community and reinforcing the fact that all existing agriculture exemptions and exclusions continue to apply under the clean-water rule. last year the epa finalized volume standards for the renewable fuel standard program for calendar years 2014, 15, 16 and 2017. final requirements boost renewable fuel production to provide achievable growth of b bio-fuel industry, requiring 11% more biofuel production.
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2016 advance fuel standard is nearly 1 billion gallons, 30% higher. that's a 23% increase over 2014 actual volumes. we improved the quality, transparency and efficiency of review process for new biofuel pathways and conducted life cycle analysis on several new feed stocks. epa remains committed for the renewal program and meeting congress' intent to responsible renew fuel over time. i recently announced thousands
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of presentable pesticides exposure incidents caused medical bills leaves, we can do better. these provisions will help ensure that farm workers nationwide receive annual safety training prohibit children from handling agricultural pesticides and provide workers with the tools needed to protect themselves and their families from pesticides exposures. again, thank you i'm honored to be here and answer your question. >> after that members will be recognized in the order of arrival. i will recognize myself for five minutes. again, thank you for being here. on the supreme court's ruling on the clean -- excuse me, the
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clean-power plan it's difficult for us to say in west texas light concern that given that both of those involve what we believe is an overreach by the agency going around the law can you talk to us about efforts that -- that your agency will make on intervening that you'll be there to -- to obey the supreme court and circuit, will you commit to not try to go around courts to get what you want to get done? >> epa is trying to do what congress told us we have with the authorities we have and we are confident that those rules will be seen as appropriate of the law. if you look at the clean-water rule the reason we did it was to try to clarify confusion that the supreme court actually raised and creating in a couple of their decisions since the beginning of the last decade. on the clean-power plan it is a
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pause in terms of the implementation and enforcement of the clean-power plan but the rule is still in effect and it will add some time to resolve those issues through the courts but we feel very confident that it is going to be a legal lawful and necessary law. >> right. not unexpected for you to take that position. >> i appreciate it. >> we have 31 lawsuits you know, across the country farmers and ranchers. what i ask though, was what will you do now while those rules or regulations are stayed from implementation, do we need to restrict your funding in the appropriations bill to say no moneys to be spent on back door implementation of the clean power plan? >> what we try to do is the guidance that's in place that was issued in 2008 is implemented as well as we can we are certainly going to respect the decisions of the
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court but as i think we have heard there's a lot of confusion there's a lot of differences in those decisions, so we are working with the army corps of engineers while we hope to bring additional clarity. we will still continue to work with states that are on voluntary basis want to move forward with us and will continue to provide tools and outreach. we clearly understand that the courts will be winding through the process of looking at that rule. the issue is going to take a little long for that to happen. we will respect that but in the meantime we will continue to address gene house gases that are available to us today. >> okay.
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clearly there's difference of agreement that you -- that the authorities used to issue those rules was an overreach and i'm having trouble by that. can you talk to us about the input that you take with respect to pesticides and the work that you're doing there, are you ignoring usda, can you help us understand that you do, in fact value the expertise and the long-standing trust that farmers and ranchers have with usda in this arena and distrust over epa over the other things that are going on? you can't just separate the issues -- in a vacuum. farmers and ranchers feel under attack. talk about your respect for the usda and your opinions on pesticides. >> well, sir i work very closely with secretary bill zach and we have great respect for that agency, the scientific
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expertise they bring and their full knowledge of the agriculture community. there's law that require to consult with usda and we do that. we work closely to resolve differences. so i think we have a close collaborative relationship. at times we may disagree, but it's usually about what the law requires us to do and it's good discussion and we always try to understand the science together and make the appropriate decisions. >> all right, thank you ma'am, i yield back, five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to focus on this clean-power plant too. we are kind of caught between a situation up in my district. the rural electrics get their power from north dakota. obviously we are in minnesota.
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well minnesota is apparently working with you guys on whatever they're up to and i think north dakota is one of those that sued you. so when you say you're going to work with states does that mean you're going to work with minnesota and continue to develop a plan with minnesota while this is going on? >> well we will continue to work with them on a voluntary basis but nothing will be implemented while the stay is in place. if minnesota wants help and tools, we will always work with every state that does that. in terms of actual enforcement of anything, it is clearly on hold until it resolves itself through the courts. >> well, you know one of our concerns you know, there was apparently 2014 proposal and then it was finalized and in north dakota you went from 11% to 45% biggest increase of any state.
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well you know our cooperative in north dakota, those plants, you know, they did some updates back in 2005 or something, '4 and put in some improvements in their firewalls and so forth and you determined epa determines that was a major overhaul or whatever it was so you forced them to go under some new program to put in scrubbers and a bunch of other stuff. they sued you the end result of that they spent $426 million and my real question is what that did it dropped the equity in that coop. are you aware of that? >> not the specific instance that you're referring to. >> so they signed an agreement to get financing for this $426 million that you forced them to do and it says that they
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can't go below a 10% equity in that coop and if this is implemented they will be down to 5%. so they're going to be in violation with the situation with the usda, are you aware of that in. >> well, sir, if you're referring to the application of clean-power plan, is that what we are talking about here? >> no. more money to comply with your other situation. >> right. >> and in that -- in order to get that money they had to agree not to go below 10%. now if you implement what the clean-power plan says, you're going to force them way below 10%. they don't have the money to do this anymore. you've already taken all of their money and there's no other way in minnesota they won't let them build a power plant so the only thing we can do is get it from canada you know, if you go ahead and don't complete this. we are kind of stuck in this
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whole thing. i was going to ask you today to delay this to give us maybe 10 years to try to comply with this so we don't go bankrupt but now with this stay and i don't know where we are at anymore. we need more time to -- >> well sir, we are more than happy to work with the state and in fact, we have been out there. one of the things we did was extensive outreach on this. there was concern of some states whether they would make things work. we added huge amounts of flexibility in this and engaged usda the rural utility service to work with us in with the rural coops, we understand that they have young knee challenges and we are not going to leave them behind. they deal with some of the poorest communities. there are a number of programs that we are bringing to bare as well as flexibilities that would
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not require every facility to make investments. >> for whatever reason they seem to think that you're not going to have flexibility not listen to them, i don't know why, and i think some of the power from the plants goes to north dakota, but majority goes to minnesota and we are kind of stuck in this whole thing and you know, i'm glad to hear that you're willing to work with them, but that's not what they've heard and after they spent 426 million, then you went after them on hays. that was stopped. another thing that would have bankrupted them. >> i'm happy to personally engage. >> i will send them over to your office and you can deal with them. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman
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ms. mccarthy i'm over here. a good number of things pop up in our minds that come to our attention. i'm looking at a few headlines. there's another article that addresses the clean-air act on hold and as i'm watching this it seems as though the agency has been pushing back against specially our farmer producers and our people that care about their -- their value of their productive real estate, i just had a couple of phrases that i had seen emerge and i wanted to start with this. water is connected to you're familiar with that frías and also familiar with the frías significant nexus. >> yes. >> do you have a judgment on which one of those is the most ambiguous? >> well, the clean-water rule tries to provide clarity to both of those. the am -- bigu
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>> of course i'm all about clarity too. with regard to clarity renewable fuel standard you have taken a position in past years back in about 2012 or '13 that we had short-grain supplies and high-grain prices and you ruled back the directive and i will focus on corn-base ethanol and made that judgment even though the statute required that those gallons were more. i noticed that we have high volume oversupply of grain and low prices that have dropped a little bit more than half since the period of time and i don't know if the same has applied for current conditions. so if it was a good idea to lower rfs requirement when grain
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were low and prices were high why would it be when grain prices are low and prices are high? ..
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what are you addressing? >> i am addressing the ability for us to be able to get over that fuel into the system. >> that's the blood wall? >> correct. >> do you believe you have the administrative authority to abolish that? >> these push through the blend wall because we understand we need to do that to continue investments in infrastructure that will be necessary to get. >> you believe you have the administrative authority to do that? >> i believe we are doing everything the law says which is to get to these levels as quickly as possible but you have to think of factors like how reasonable it is to achieve these within the certain. >> what about going to eat 15? >> to have the authority to do that? >> we actually approved it in use of specific vehicles. >> year around? >> yes. >> then we are past the e15 blend wall year-round. there's no vapor pressure requirement? >> there is a vapor pressure requirement. yes there is.
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we approve the use in the vehicle and it can be used there are certain places -- >> i should've prefaced my question, with regard to the testing of fuels my information is that epa relied on a chevron consultant to design the test fuels. are you familiar with that? >> no, sir. >> i will post some of these questions to you in a written form so you have an opportunity to digest them and respond to them in not a high test area and in the hearing. i have a number of them that i wish you respond to about testing appliance procedures and compliance. >> if you are the administrator of the epa at the time that the rfs expires, would you believe you have the administrative
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authority to extend it beyond it sunset? >> i'm not aware of the sunsets, sir, what are we referring to? >> i will put that my question to you too. the specific language that's in the statute. that will all come to you and we look forward to working with you. i yelled back. >> thank you. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. >> i want to thank the administrator for being here this morning. i want to continue the conversation on the renewable fuel standards. obviously there is a diversity of opinion as it relates to this committee and how it relates to congress and how it's applied and implemented. can you explain the process they will be taking to ensure the 2017 rules are not delayed the
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way the 2014 rules work? >> again sir, one of the things we made sure was to already propose a 2017 standard for biodiesel so we could make sure to keep on track. we have every interest now that we are on track to stay that way. >> for those of us who believe in renewable fuels but think that cellulosic fuels are the next generation of this development, can you explain the update of the inspector general investigation regarding climate impacts on the renewable fuel standards as to using food to produce fuel? is that the most effective way to do that? does that create more pollution issues? >> i know there has been a number of looks at this issue and investigation, but my job as the administrator is to implement the law that has been given to me.
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>> that is probably the most difficult law to have to implement. >> yes, but it is very clear that cellulosic fuels have not progressed anywhere near what congress anticipated which is one of the reasons why those statutory levels are so difficult to meet. >> i want to move on to some local issues. as you know california is very diversified state as a plates to production. the epa issued a statement on a risk report indicating that citrus and cotton contain higher levels of nicotine weights than other honey that would be at risk to pollinators. because of the diversification of our crops, clearly we are sensitive. we grow a lot of almonds in california. i think we gave you some. were sensitive to the pollination issues and we need bees. the impact of the death and colony deaths but why single out to commodities that don't
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require bees that in fact we go out of our way to accommodate them because a lot of the proximity of these crops are nearby each other. in fact recent reports have indicated that colonies have propagated and they are at higher levels than the decline we experienced a few years ago. >> congressman, we've been to your area of the country before together and i understand how hard the allman growers actually work, not just to address the past the pesticide issues but to conserve water. i appreciate all of that work. we are happy to work more closely with you on neo nicotine weights. the science is difficult but it is growing and getting more robust. >> we are going to need more of your focus on this. we were in a conversation last night dealing with orange growers and they think they are being singled out because of the way in which the epa has
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approach this. i will provide you more information to follow up. before my time expires i want to go to a larger issue that affects all of american agriculture and that's the application of pest pesticides and herbicides and the registration process. for most of us farmers we live on our farms, the application of pesticides and herbicides is made with very cautious and cost-effective evaluations. were concerned about the health impacts and the cost and the economic impact. you are required to reevaluate your process on regulations or registrations every ten years, but it seems the recent announcement attended for the adoption of the principle that you comment on your precautionary principle? do you believe risk is possible when using application of herbicide and pesticide? >> sir we do not use the
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precautionary principle. our decision are based on the law which is based on risk. >> you believe zero risk is obtainable? >> it is possible with some but that is not the way in which our laws require us to look at it and we do not utilize it. >> there have been court decisions, and my time is about to expire, where various applications of these pesticides and herbicides have been brought to the courts and in some cases, we believe epa has refused to defend its scientific decisions on the challenges of this court. these are very serious. you are supposed to be the clearinghouse. >> we vigorously defend our descendents in court. we do that because we believe we did the right decision based on science and the law. there are times when even a vigorous defense does not carry
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the day and the court and we have to abide by those decisions, but in no way are we backing off of our decisions in the way in which we have all race made them, which is based on the law that exists and we are continuing to apply that and vigorously defend it. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> we recognize mr. rogers of alabama. >> thank you for being here today. i'm sure it's not a surprise for you when i save many of me and my farmer constituents were worried and upset about the things coming from the epa. do you, are you cognizant that there are concerns by american farmers and is there anything you are planning to do to address that perspective that they have of your agency and its regulations but. >> yes, i am aware. there is a lot of work that we need to do to establish a stronger trust relationship between the agriculture
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community and epa. i've been working hard for the last three years trying to get out to farms meeting with every farmer and forrester that wants to sit down. i'm trying to work through the issues and listen closely and learn. >> are there any fundamental changes that you think you will be able to make or you plan to make that would remedy or alleviate some of those concerns? >> implement? i will do that as effectively as i can. we have a number of voluntary programs that we are initiating back and forth we have new advisory groups being started, i think the most important thing we can do is listen to one another. we need to try to identify the path forward that meets our goals because we certainly share the goals of wanting to protect the environment. >> i agree, i think listening is a good first step but you also have to be prepared to act. >> yes. >> it may mean act in a different way but anyway, i'm glad you mentioned volunteer programs but i think we need to encourage programs that provide
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farmers with the resources they need to work with the state on waddy quality programs. congress did not give the epa regulatory over family farm. i believe they are moving away from voluntary programs that have results and it instead create rules and regulations. you agree voluntary programs are important and an effective way to reduce pollution or as the epa trying to expand its regulatory authority? >> absolutely i agree that voluntary programs as well as technical support and funding support from the federal government is an essential way in which we need to move forward and work together. that is the vast majority of our relationship. >> where in the clean acted congress give epa the authority to regulate sustainability of agricultural nonproduction practices on fields? >> the clean air act? is that what you said?
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i do not know if the word sustainability is written into any law. i thing it was an outcome of understanding that we need to understand the lifecycle and all of the challenges associated with lean air and other requirements that are being placed on our constituencies including farmers, ranchers and forrester's. it. it was an open dialogue to understand how our rules can enhance not just their health and our health but their viability as a sector. i think that is what sustainability is in intended to make sure, that we are thinking about this in a common way not a narrow media by medium approach. >> i agree but it didn't give the authority to the epa. what i'm looking for is do you see in that act the legal authority to regulate sustainability? >> we do not regulate sustainability. we do regulate pollutants under the clean air act. one of which is greenhouse
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gases. if that's what you're referring to sir that is because under the clean air act the supreme court clearly told us that we had to look at greenhouse gases as a potential pollutant and if we found that they were in endangerment then we had to take appropriate actions. that is what we are actually doing. >> that's what i'm looking for. could you asked someone on your staff to get me a copy of that interpretation? at appreciate that. >> absolutely. >> finally, they released in legal decision decision that the epa was violating publicity or propaganda and anti-lobbying propaganda about about a previous appropriations bill. your agency, according to them, has been using social media for covert propaganda. what is your side of that? >> well as you might guess we we don't agree. we do not believe that we have violated any provisions. the gao looked at thousands of social media that we actually do
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everyday because that's how we do our outreach and education. that's all that they were. they found two instances that raise questions for them. we disagree with the decision but we certainly are working with omb to make sure we have followed every one of their procedures and we do everything we need to do. >> thank you ma'am, i yelled back. >> your time has expired. >> thank you chairman and thank you administer for being here with us today. i appreciate the work that you have done on this and the visits that you've taken to farm country. i'm curious a little bit about what you're hearing out there but i remain the optimist that i do think it's possible in this nation to produce food and feed" the the world at the same time, addressing real-world issues of clean water clean air and sustainability. i think that's what were all trying to get at.
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a statement that comes up with my producers out there and these are folks that are committed to this they don't deny the science. its regulatory humility. there's just a sense i've used the term before of a bunker mentality about all these things that keep coming down without asking us. i think mr. rogers was getting at it and i agree. i'm very proud of the work that this committee did in many of our other folks working on the last farm bill, the the conservation piece of it. that conservation title was loud it as being one of the strongest ever across the spectrum from producers to environmental groups. you kind of at it, but are those working? for those making a difference? my attitude is were far better ahead if we can prevent a problem rather than dealing with it in the courts. are some of those working? could you pick out one that is the way to go? >> i think the conservation efforts are absolutely working and you can see that in many locations.
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do we need to do more? absolutely. that is the approach in which epa certainly prefers to take. i think if i wanted to highlight any, it would be in the great lakes area, areas in which we are actively supporting conservation efforts and doing that in a way that will prevent pollution into the great lakes which are causing these algae blooms. there is a collaborative spirit. there is funding and technical resources provided to this. these are the kinds of programs that we need to have to make, to move forward. epa is working every day with usda and an rcs to see how we could advance their mission to advance our own. i do not need to duplicate it. i need to respect what they do and help support that and identify ways of appropriately expanding that in areas where we find there is a challenge. >> i think that story needs to
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get out there because i agree we need to be working together. some of that comes from this, i just asked the statement, this is the one that's confusing. two statements were made. your agency started that three to 5% more jurisdictional waters. if you didn't need a permit before you won't need one now. you can't have both of those statements, can you? >> yes you actually can. let me try to explain it. the increase in jurisdiction water determinations is because the rule is much more specific about what is jurisdictional and what is not so there there is not significant amount of time wasted asking in areas where there is no jurisdiction. we know from our history that there is a direct hydrologic
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connection that is significant enough to warrant protection, but in terms of the agricultural community, there is no added permit permit. >> unequivocally i can go back to all my producers and say the way you are doing things now if you are up to standards nothing has changed. >> that's correct. we've expanded clarity on some of the exemptions and exclusions so we can make that clearer and clearer as time goes on. >> thank you. i will segue again just a little bit because we mention in dealing with usda? >> oh lord lots at every level. >> extensive all the way through. >> it is, in how we look at feedstock and lifecycles in the numbers that we put in, to what can be produced and consumed, what can usda do like their advancing of blender pumps what
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does usda need to do to make show those blenders can go out there and all those blends be utilized. we work pretty constantly on rfs together. >> i appreciate that and i think the more you do it to the best of your ability and get out there and make those statements, show that collaboration and it's coming back to that regulatory humility that we are in this together. we have common goals. >> that is a term i will take to heart as i laid back. >> thank you ma'am i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman, i haven't seen a lot of regulatory humility since i've been here. unfortunately just my opinion thank you for being here. i appreciate you you coming in sit in the seat and taking tough questions. our follow up on mr. rogers question and your response to the last? the side regarding the use of social media. i find it interesting. since the epa discipline agrees with the regulations that they been confronted with and
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basically they disagree with the regulators that were responsible for that that were wrong in your interpretation so you're not changing your practices. my question is, is can my farmers do the same thing? can they? disagree with the pa where there's a question of authority as a basis of legislative language or a basis of a now growing tran in series of numbers in the supreme court ruling. do they get the same pass that it seems like your agency is choosing to do when you're under fire for regulations? >> we are not doing anything that would skirt the disposition that gao made. their interpretations of the law and we believe they are incorrect in their interpretations of the law. >> so what you're saying. >> nevertheless they do have
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their opinion and we will respond appropriately to it, but we still have a right to say that legally we don't agree. that's all. >> my farmers would be better off if they had an army of government paid attorneys. that's not my question. many believe the chesapeake bay represents a massive seizure of state government power by your agency. it will serve as a blue rent on watersheds throughout the nation. the agency is setting the stage for taking over many, if not all land use decisions nationally. it's really a private property graph. in effect becoming a national zoning board. they are already having devastating impacts on farmers and defending them currently on appeal to the supreme court, their agency has defended it saying the states are developing their own standards. let me read to you what one state in the chesapeake bay watershed, ella wear not my my state, wrote of this voluntary procedure.
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they wrote that if the program fails to meet standards acceptable to the agency than the epa has developed a set of consequences to impose. these consequences range from the epa taking over responsibility from developing the plants and oversight and extending the authority to additional pollution. it basically says if they don't meet standards, epa can force its own plan on the states along with punitive actions. my question is with all of this authority, in what sense was there anything voluntary about this process? your? your agency directly and indirectly told states what it wanted and made it clear there would be consequences are not delivering what it wanted. how is that voluntary? >> sir, let me try to answer that question. in chesapeake bay, tmd l was an
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opportunity for a number of states who share a common interest in having a healthy chesapeake bay. that program allowed them the opportunity to actually meet compliance with reducing what was necessary to get that healthy again in their own way. >> the subcommittee includes watershed? i'm talking about the overreach here. >> we have never actually had to intervene. there is great progress being made through the efforts that each state has been taking. they do care about the chesapeake and they're making progress. the question was asked what if people don't do anything? there is no question that it is a regulatory requirement. there are things we could do if there isn't continued progress as anticipated. we have never had to use that. >> i would refer you to the
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transcripts of when our subcommittee met and your individual in this philadelphia office said this was not a regulation because it was voluntary. it was one of the most confusing testimony we ever heard because it's being aggressively implemented as a regulatory action. clearly it was overreach to the 10th°. i appreciate your response but the uncertainty is still there. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and think you mr. mccarthy for being here today. i'm going to go strictly local today. i live on the banks of lake erie in ohio. we provide drinking water and thousands of jobs and contributes over $1 billion to our economy. algae blooms are intensifying
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each year and we have the threat of open something that we believe to be harmful into lake erie. we believe it is an adverse decision by the army corps. despite the great progress made, we find ourselves locked in an ongoing battle over the seemingly noncontroversial issue. the epa plays a critical role in protecting the drinking water. what are you and your administration doing to ensure the continued growth and recovery of lake erie? >> i am familiar with the issue that you raise with the army corps and i'm hoping my understanding is correct that the core is working with the state and all the constituents
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to identify ways to stop dredge disposal in western lake erie, but as you also no, we are working very hard through our great lakes initiative to actually understand the science in western lake erie, understand the sources of the nutrients that are contributing to those algae blooms and we are also supporting it with $11 million dollars from the epa fund to help those upstream farms in agriculture to find ways of taking conservation efforts and other voluntary actions that will begin to make a real dent in the challenge that we are facing in lake erie. >> i hope you check further because it's my understanding that even though a court has decided that it is not appropriate for them to dump a sediment into the open lake, the army corps has decided they are not going to comply with the court order. i think it's it's important that we move expeditiously to it determine why they have not request the resources necessary to contain the sediments. >> i would ask that you check that further. >> i'm happy to do that. >> the growth of urban agriculture is essential to solving the food problem.
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in postindustrial cities such as cleveland, contaminants in the soil can stall the growth. what role is the epa playing to ensure this land is safer farmers? >> one of the efforts that i mentioned early in my oral testimony was the local food local places effort which i think adds enormous opportunities for urban communities that are literally food deserts and to open up and do planning and bring federal resources to the table that is really focused on food first. instead of as an afterthought, there is a great change that is happening in urban areas and that's understanding the locally grown food in the value that that can bring to the health and vitality of the community. i would really encourage anybody's active participation in the local food local places initiative because that can
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bring resources and redevelopment resources to the table that would address the soil contamination issues that you are identifying. many of those turn into vital places for communities to gather and grow food. do not give up in an urban area on the ability to grow food and to make that part of the community revitalization revitalization efforts that everybody is looking for. >> lastly, agricultural runoff runoff is a factor to the growing problem in algae blooms. what step is epa taking to address the lingering pollutants? >> a couple of things, we've mentioned the great lakes initiative, but i think most importantly that is our collaboration with usda as well as looking at areas of concern in the great lakes. we know we have significant sediment and water
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contamination. it has to be a combination of all of those efforts. it's not just about stopping what might continue to be coming in but it's looking at those hotspots, if you will so we can continue to make progress which we have made tremendous progress on. that's one of the three areas that the great lakes initiative is focusing on in the coming years. >> thank you very much, i yelled back. >> thank you chairman and thank you for holding this hearing. in my area, the president prevalence. >> i'm sorry, i can't see you. >> oh thank you :
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any update on where things stand at the epa and what is the continued hold up? >> in early 2015 we actually proposed for the exact reasons you're talking about. we know that there is significant interest in this. there has been tremendous work on the science side. after the comment period we will review those comments and see how the agency can move to a final so that we can get this done and over the finish line. >> can you give me some encouraging timeline here?
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>> sir, we are working as hard as we can and will get it done as soon as we can. >> that would be helpful. and this duo ran into some trouble last fall when the epa decision decided that the court remand back for further review. this is only the 1st time ever that they have attempted to vacate a pesticide registration through a court action. the 8th -- the epa is required to comply before a pesticide registration can be canceled. requiring them to review the registration. >> actually we were not really trying to do this. the decision we have made
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was a controversial one, as you may no, but we follow the science of the law. the situation we found ourselves in after the decision was made while it was being challenged in court by those that disagreed with our registration, we identified the registration that was put out and other public venues that raise concern that we did not have the full science data. and actually address what might be synergistic effects. instead ofeffects. instead of waiting for the court to tell us that we had failed in our decision we wanted the ability to take that back to get additional information to address the issue and move it forward again which is exactly what we are doing. what data do they have
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comeau what data might we need to redo the decision in a way that be legally solid and respect. >> i think some question you have not provided follow the law procedurally. >> we think we did it in a way that will get to a decision much more quickly. the challenges they did not give us the full range of data and we found it in another venue that was publicly available. we have a systema system to move forward to respect the full range. >> i am always interested in the timelines. he said quickly, and i have learned that quickly and west texas inand quickly in washington dc don't necessarily have the same meaning. >> actually i will double check.
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i'm pretty sure we already received a lot of information on to 4 d. we don't think there will be a significant delay in the reconciliation of this moving forward. >> on those two issues if you could have your folks give me a timeline so that i can report back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will ask a little bit of a local question. is been in the news recently for some terrible acts. while climate change affects us all, this is incredibly personal for me in the
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community i represent. i can recall smart days when we were not allowed grow outside because of air quality. and thisquality. and this is particularly important. the base of the mountain range that capture smart and air quality issues that mostly generated from out of the area. i believe the national ambient air quality standards are great benchmark san bernardino has been in the unique predicament due to the fact that the smartphone los angeles also contributes to the pollution in our region. resources and tools that can be offered as we continue to work toward a management plan to improve air quality? if notnot, does the epa plan to provide any sort of regulatory relief? that counties in areas that are not in compliance. >> let me begin by expressing my sympathies to
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you answer those in your community. the national ambient air quality standards rightfully establish health standards that we all strive for. we well-recognized that california's challenged in meeting those command there have been unique tools that we have not had the authority to manage that have provided direct assistance for new technologies and our efforts to support the states aggressive effort. there are also tools built in the law itself so that if you have a difficult challenge and made it your provide additional time and opportunity. part of the value and the aggressive -- maybe aggressive is the part that the collaborative process to try to work with them hand-in-hand to address these challenges is really a great value.
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i am more than happy to make sure folks come and sit down and see if there are particular issues of support that your community may need that would help you achieve the standards closely. but i want to just reinforced the fact that the law does not, nor does epa ever require more than can be done. we know there are transport challenges that california faces. while we hopewhile we hope to continue to make progress comeau we understand that that will take time and a collaboration and knew technologies to advance. whatever is coming in from other communities is going to have to be a collaborative effort. >> we just want to make sure it's part of the discussion. there has been a discussion and flexibility in the past. the standards are still in place.
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and if we can follow up with your staffthat would be helpful. with that, i would yield back. >> the chairman yields back. >> thank you. thank you. clarification, my colleague, they are separate issues. they do dredge. but the issuebut the issue was the cleveland port issue it's addressing to have a dredging issue in the state of ohio and the ohio epa has sued the army corps of engineers over this issue. that's two separate issues. i do want to talk about your testimony. i agree with you. farmers do want clean water. we agree on that. but my concern is and i
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think it is evident by what happened, within 24 hours nearly 30 states file lawsuit. and numerous organizations and entities are against us. it is clear that there is concern about this and obviously needs to be made clear it was posted be a partnership between the feds and the states to implement. now this answers one of the questions that you insinuated. those waters are regulated. i as a farmer can't go out and doubt my heart maneuver in an extreme. i would be breaking the law.
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waters that are not under the authority of the federal government are being regulated. >> in many states. >> you do insinuated that. >> it was not intended. >> i also have a concern that what this is going to happen it is going to require more permits. and inefficiencies, but i think we risk going backwards water quality and protecting the environment. when you add on red tape and bureaucracy people at some point throw their hands up in the air. just enough to get by. it's just a bunch of nonsense and a bunch of red tape and the bureaucrats go crazy. i want you to be aware of that fact. this can make us go backwards. erodingeroding that
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partnership agreement set up with the states. i want to get to the part about the gal inspector general port. they used covert propaganda tobias and skew the comment period. some of the people are pooh-poohing this. i think it's a big deal because it goes to the integrity of the whole comment period process. the process is there so the stakeholders can put in comments and the regulators use their due diligence to figure out how to make the best the works. here you get the inspector general of the gal thing you broke the law. my question is,is what has the epa done to initiate the reporting violation copies to the comptroller general in the congress and the president have you ported
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it to us? what resources were expended? both monetary and full-time equivalents comeau what internal actions have been taken to make sure this does not happen again. >> you know ii don't think the folks in the agency broke the law but let me answer your question directly. there is a draft letter at omb to make sure we are following obligations under law. i think the word propaganda is always construed as something horrible. the propaganda they were referring to was not that we lobbied congress. >> you were lobbying us. this is what you guys want. now you have --
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>> wake-up. >> the propaganda issue was that we use the system which was basically a general message saying i care about claim water. gal was worried. >> uses something that cannot be traced back. >> part of social media called thunderclap. that can be traced back. >> no. we put it out. other. other people retreated it. gal thought that it was not their message. it was epa's message. the other was a block with a hyperlink. >> i don't want to minimize
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it. we do have a letter letter in the process to meet all obligations. >> adam ac is me. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you for being here. while many are concerned about federal overreach actions by the state of north carolina resulted in tens of thousands of tons of coal ash spilling into the river. the state refused to use its own authority to enforce proper maintenance and revocation of coal ash ponds spilling into part of the drinking water. administrative mccarthy, it is important to uphold the epa final rule on the disposal coal combustion residue residuals electric
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utilities. the final can only be enforced by citizens to sue the company or state that violates the regulation. the same requirement that citizens in north carolina now enjoy specifically of the require owners and operators to be transparent in their serving and monitoring of quality. my question what are they doing to assess and prevent drinking water contamination in the risk of catastrophic collapse?
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>> as you know, we take this issue seriously. certainly there have been disasters that we need to make sure don't get repeated. we recently finalized the coal ash rule. one is the structure of stability so that we can make sure they are stable and being properly inspected and if necessary repaired. the 2ndrepaired. the 2nd is to make sure groundwater is protected and cleaned up. we have information on the web so that people can see what is being done and what we have identified in terms of our assessment so that information can be available to the surrounding communities. >> will epa provide technical assistance to low income and minority communities so they are aware of and can understand the information?
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>> this is the 1st time i am aware that you are contemplating this type of legislation. we are happy to work with you to support this effort. >> thank you. the center for public integrity found that your civil rights movement has nine out of every ten claims alleging environmental discrimination and i've never issued a formal finding a violation of the title six violation. given this poor performance record do you have any thoughts about why epa has never made a finding of discrimination? >> it is easy from that record to understand that the agency has faced challenges in dealing with the title vi complaints.
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one of the things i've done since coming here is try to aggressively tackle that issue. how we handle these. in the last two years we have knew leadership. have developed a strategy to manage the docket of complaints more effectively. justjust this fall we released our external compliance strategic plan. we are doing what we need to do to get up to speed. that doesn't mean we don't have a history that we need to acknowledge and use that to inform how we can be a model agency moving forward. >> i certainly hope it improves. thank you for your comment. >> five minutes. >> thank you for being here.
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i want to go back row quickly. there have been several things that have been approved by the usda for months. in his state in march, in march, and my state is more in april. it takes time to get the chemicals produced and through the distribution network into the farm. if you take much longer quite honestly they won't be available. i appreciate your commitment i hopei hope you will see you pending registration sooner rather than later. it's one of the breakdowns we have it seems that the people in the agencies have no idea where farmers who plant theirunion plan their
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crops. with the agencies are doing to the cost. again, can you tell me what cotton this report? >> no, i can't. >> it is below the cost of production.production. so are a lot of the other commodities. taken area like mine and cotton is below the cost of production you look to another. i appreciate your comment but the government is getting in the way of the farmer being able to survive. things like approving chemicals would help us determine. i want to go to the issue right now.
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i understand the value of pollinators. there are -- the situation specifically cotton self pollinating crops. does the epadoes the epa take that into account as part of its assessment? cotton does not require fees for pollination? >> i think i will have to go back. i'll we talking about -- which chemical are we talking about in particular? >> the whole planet. >> we certainly are not making broadbrush decisions. we are looking at each of them and the decisions we have been proposing have been very specific to look at being specific to the crop as well as the time of year than what we can do to
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protect the bee colony as well as make sure that these are available. >> i will take that as a commitment that you will continue to work and i appreciate that. i you familiar with the agency's proposed rule for medium and heavy-duty engines vehicles, phase ii? >> yes would you agree also that congress has excluded nonroad vehicles from epa regulatory reach? >> i believe that that is the case, but icase, but i am not as familiar with that as ami standard rulemaking process. >> fair enough. one of the things. >> i believe so. >> we talk a lot about the things we told you to do.
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one of those -- i agree with what you said,said you don't have the authority to regulate competition vehicles. i am concerned about the fact that in this 629629 some odd pages rule is supposed to do with greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy-duty engines that in the catchall provision that the rule has attempted to bring back in to regulation competition vehicles. i agree with you 100 percent that you don't have the authority to do that. i appreciate you telling me. >> let me get back to you. i am sure if that was part of the proposal you ever
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seen a lot of comments. i am happy to close the loop with you wanted. if you think there was disconnect am happy to connect with you on individually. >> i agree with you. i appreciate your time.time. it is just very disconcerting as an american to see the 40,000 pages and heavy-duty vehicle rule that deals with racecars. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> good morning, administrative mccarthy. i want to talk to you about the virgin islands i very much as relation ship with epa because of our complete surrounding by water.
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our greatest resource. all of the industries that we take. several years ago the virgin islands was devastated by the closure of oil refineries which meant that we lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of millions more and lost economic activity. activity. this recently the facility was in a bankruptcy sale. that may lead to the restoration of more activity on the island. however, there is a concern that we had and the potential of the epa asking that the government of the virgin islands period permittee. these permits were originally put out in 1999 and that no time during the
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renewal has the virgin islands government that included in it. does not even make up 5 percent of the land in this area. we were interested given title to be interested for the citizens and that no time as the virgin islands ever elected to operator finery use the facility that is really holding the submerged lands. i understand there is real concern with region to taking the position that the virgin islands must be included. it is our belief that region twos position is based on an overly expansive interpretation of regret and the crop and is an unjustified departure from his long-standing agency policy. i am sure my colleagues would see that this could be
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a problem in that you have your state and local government which may be forced to become a coat permitting on hazardous waste areas back home, and so we have really been reaching out to epa and particularly in region two to see how we can resolve this and i am not sure if you are aware. i you aware of any instance that epa has territory to become based on its owning a small portion, five 10 percent of the land? >> i do not know all of the uniqueness is of the situation. but it is certainly my understanding that the region has taken a legal position that because part
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of the land in which the facility is located is us virgin islands land that there is a connection and that they should have been on the permit. i can tell you whether we have done this before. there are unique responsibilities. i am more than willing to go back and look ..
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we follow up. it is not a decision that i have been engaged in hummus oh i don't we do that quite like i would appreciate that. >> sure. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> now we recognize mr. crawford for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you adminstrator mccarthy. i know this has been a-- addressed, but i think we can take a deeper dive on this issue with the grassroots campaign effort that took place in your agency specifically prohibited by title 18 and us criminal code and i don't think we have gotten a satisfactory answer. have you or your legal department made efforts before the grassroots campaign was
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undertaken to ensure that epa staff is familiar with the activity prohibited under the anti- lobbying act? >> we actually will-- were following guidelines-- >> prior to? >> yes. >> that is even worse if they received training in the anti- lobbying act and engaged in lobbying. >> we believe we actually follow those guidelines. >> i think the jal disagrees with that and whether or not there is-- there can be intense proven the sup surf you and optics of what took place there are certainly worth considering and i think there is valuable lessons here in the jao findings , which the administration in your agency is willing to go so far to break kremlin crowed to push an agenda and we arty know you were willing to go to great lengths to push an agenda but this is completely different links.
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you basically, buys the integrity of the rulemaking process-- a. >> sir, date-- >> i am on my time right now administrator. in the age of electronic communication it is troubling agencies are willing to use these tools to subvert the concerns of the public and drawnout opposition and it is obvious that you were trumpeting your own views and not taking consideration the public view when this is a public rulemaking period so i don't know how after all those revelations were made that you expect us to believe that during the rulemaking that epa took in account all the views by stakeholders or were you just concern about the views of your political allies? it appears to me that was the case. >> sir the gal never indicated that we referenced a particular rulemaking. they never indicated we said anything incorrect.
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they had one concern relative to anti- lobbying which was a hyperlink to a program that we were touting as being really good one block from one individual in the agency out of thousands was done and referenced a hyperlink and they could not the back and prove or disprove whether or not that ngo may have had an ability for people to contact congress on other related issues or this one. so we are certainly sensitive to the fact that that hyperlink referenced an outside of epa website. there are other agencies that flagged that and we are considering working with them on what we can do, but if you look at this there was no intent and there was no lobbying on the part of the agency or a reference. >> okay come i think we can take this as an example and validation in the fact that the
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rulemaking process is deeply flawed and it needs to be addressed because this kind of stuff to me is not reflective of the opportunity that should be granted to that affected stakeholders. let me switch gears. i was just told yesterday that the epa took action against the farmer who did not comply with sec rules on farm fuel storage by failing to have a plan for his oil storage tank that was a 5000-gallon tank, but the 2014 word specifically says epa can only require compliance for oil storage tanks of 6000 gallons. until such time the epa completes a study in a new rulemaking process is undertaken. my understanding is the study is complete that recommend a lower threshold, but the rulemaking is not finished, so my question is wise epa taking enforcement action against individuals who are not out of compliance and isn't that a violation of the law? >> sir, i am happy to look into it and get back into it.
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it just happen yesterday and i'm not familiar with that. >> is that kind of thing a regular practice? >> i think we have actually been doing a very good job on the rules and many of them because there are changes in threshold like 96% of them are no longer impacted by this rule-- a. >> let me-- >> we are doing pretty good. >> to epa agents take compliance action because they know farmers are not willing to fight conformists action because it cost the more legal costs than to go ahead and two sir come to the epa court pressure? >> i don't know why you are suggesting it, sir, but if that is your point of view-- >> it is my point of view and lots of people in my district to farm and are subject to epa regulation. i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. first of all ms. mccarthy i think you and epa have drastically manhandled and violated the rights of our
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farmers. especially dealing with this water issue. you did break the law. you did break the law. now, let me tell you ms. mccarthy, in section 15 of the financial services and general government appropriations act it expressly prohibits you from lobbying in the support or in opposition to pending legislation or rule. further, not only their did you break the law but in section 401 of the department of the interior's environment and related agencies appropriations act. that's applicable right now. prohibited the use of the epa's appropriations for lobbying. you broke the law.
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it needs to be admitted. it needs to be recognized and furthermore you spent pack-- taxpayer money in the lobbying. and the gal reports 64600 and $10 that you spent in lobbying from february 2014 to 2015. now, let's come clean with this. so we can correct this. there is no way you are going to correct this if you don't realize that you'd drastically overstepped here. and let's get back cleaned up. now the other part that really gets in my craw is is that i was born on a farm and grew up on a farm and there is a reason why farmers go and develop ditches and ponds and wells and they are
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man-made because that's an insurance policy for the drought. our animals still have to be fed. they have to drink. there are many times when it won't-- won't rain for four or five or six weeks and that's why we have that. the other point is this is the farmer's private property. and it is not navigable waters. it is there for the purpose of being able to give us protection when that rain won't come. my little farm was a tobacco farm and when you go to that tobacco then shoe have to put the plant in and you got to have the water right there to go in with the plant. suppose it doesn't rain. now, that's on the farmer's property and he shouldn't be permitted for his own property.
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and then he should not be signed so you have to pay-- the farmer got to pay for a permit on his own property for water. or a ditch or a pond or a well that they made themselves so that they could be able to have that insurance for a rainy day. then, to violate all of that the law is self to go in lobby and spend taxpayers money on it. that is a damnable thing to do to our farmers. our farmers who are faced with so many other challenges. the epa needs to reject this rule recognize and admit that it broke the law and then moved to correct and say this will never happen again. now, finally in my last seconds
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i don't want to go over time but i want to raise this issue for our cops and folks. on the-- i guess a better way of saying this is the lord span-- the lord span anyway we need this for cotton producers and a pecan producers. has been said before with the chairman and others are cotton people are going through a very serious time economically and they don't need a doubt of whether or not they can use this pesticide, so will you please make sure we use that and hopefully put this business aside for the water rule and let's move forward and let these farmers have some peace of mind. >> thank you for your passion sir. >> thank you mr. chairman. ms. mccarthy, thank you for being here today and one
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follow-up on mr. scott's question. he pointed out that the gao but determined you violated federal law. who is in charge of the kober propaganda? >> it is actually just part of our outreach and education serve your there was no covert propaganda. >> so there is no one over that to together outreach or known in charge? >> we have communication folks. >> who was the head of that? who is responsible for that? >> i would have to go back and look at the exact time but we actually have a large education outreach group, but none of that-- >> no one was punished for it though, right? >> we don't believe-- >> we understand that the person was promoted and now working for the white house come about in your opening statement you made it sound like congress was deploring you to move forward with this. where did the idea for this come from and who was in charge of drafting this package? >> actually what is or the
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clean water rule came because the supreme court told us that we needed to make improvements in the law based on science and that we needed to prove a connection and do a better job. >> that was in congress clec it actually was followed up by congress passed us to take action to address concerns individual stakeholders, members of the community absolutely people were looking for us to do a better job than the 2008 guidance and to respond to the concerns and criticisms that-- >> you went around congress and use the rulemaking process. >> no sir we were actually asked to do a rulemaking for clarification and whether you disagree without rule or not is fine-- >> what is the cost of this? >> it is actually a net benefit of something in order of 184 million. >> a benefit not a cost because
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i have heard it cost anywhere from 180 million up to 500 million, and that would change the rulemaking process; correct? >> if the cost is over hundred million you can't go around congress the way you did. >> the 100 million threshold means would go to the interagency process, which we did. >> do you know howard's landscape and mac do. >> have you worked with him on this? >> yes i did. >> do you know he won't-- why he won't give the required documents which we have been asking for cents march 15? >> i'm not familiar with what you are asking about. >> we had a hearing and this was a major rule and we have been asking and had to announce a subpoena these documents were over a year. you don't have any idea why they are ignoring our request? >> i don't know. >> you have not had conversations with him? >> no, sir. >> is this directive from the white house? >> what directive is-- what directive are you referring to? >> the wotus itself.
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this is certainly not from call-- congress and the courts have blocked this; correct? the implementation. >> it is being litigated in one district court and it is now with the sixth circuit where they are looking at whether or not the district court has jurisdiction but you are absolutely right, we are now stayed in terms of its implementation and tell those issues are resolved. >> you act like you are doing us a favor, but yet we have 31 states and many our cultural organizations filing lawsuits against you so you don't think that maybe there should be a reason for pause and maybe we ought to scrap this thing ago back to the drawing board? >> the legal test in terms of its merits. >> so why did the epa decided was necessary to do this? >> because of the lack of clarity and the inconsistency and the unfairness of the current process. >> but, under the clean water act you are restricted to
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navigable waters that mr. scott talked about farm ponds that cattle drink out of. is that a navigable water? >> the actual navigable water the supreme court has told us that that goes well beyond what we would traditionally think of it navigable and we have to then protect waters that have the ability to significantly impact the biological physical and chemical integrity of navigable waters. >> you understand-- >> we have done a really i think good job if you look at the clean water rule to make sure we are clarifying the word ditch that is in the clean water rule not-- as. >> it would make another 10 minutes for you to describe what is a ditch of what is not a ditch but i will in with the fact that americans are frustrated with big governments and that is the number-one issue with big government so i would hope you with withdraw bit, take your time and get this right. >> the gentleman's time has expired. five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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director, as you are aware on august 5, 2015 the epa team that was investigating the contamination of the gold king mine in colorado accidentally released a 3 million gallons of wastewater into the ms river which then flowed into the san juan river which is in new mexico, part of it and lake powell, which-- and i think that you actually estimated that in that accidental release there were 880,000 pounds of metal that was deposited into the river as a result of the release. now, while that initial plume dissipated within several days i went to alert you and i think you may already be aware that there remains very serious concerns about the long-term impacts in both environmentally and for public health and i am
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aware that both the state of new mexico through primarily their environment department, but certainly in my communications with the governor and the navajo nation and its president that they have real concerns over a proposed one-year epa monitoring plan, which doesn't do anything about monitoring groundwater, plants crops wildlife and certainly does not take into consideration continued runoff-- i hope we don't have a too soon, but a spring runoff, which means all of that sediment gets moved again and so i would agree that the state is correct in assessing that there needs to be a long-term monitoring impacts and that there ought to be a plan that involves their independent review, they are there, they are familiar and aware which i realize is difficult 20/20 hindsight and we all wish we had that but you
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want that expertise so you don't have these issues and you don't have these accidents and you don't have information that may not be accurate or relevant to the area in which you are testing. can you talk to me about your conversations with the state of new mexico in the navajo nation and whether you are entertaining to support them and funded them and give the resources to assure the public health of the citizens of that state are protected? >> we are certainly go to do just that. in a couple of different ways. we know a lot of those states in the tribes that were impacted by this bill have been discussing with us reimbursement of their expenses particularly your state did a great job at responding to that. we are sitting down with them looking at both a short-term monitoring program in a long-term one that doesn't just look at the area of this bill but does a much broader look at the watershed in general and how
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we cannot just do that with epa scientists but they could be engaged because of their scientific expertise. in the universities in your area have great scientific expertise. epa has identified funding for that and we're going to work with them to make sure that we do the monitoring that is necessary-- >> great because i think that robust partnership brings-- will bring about credibility. i cannot agree with you more about that expertise, which leads me to the second question i want to ask which is related to the ms for watershed permits in the rio grande and it's a completely separate issue but it includes 15 individual entities and jurisdictions. the middle rio grande region is one of three in the country that were chosen to pilot a regional watershed approach and it is the only region in the western united states to participate in the problem is as you are looking at all of these water issues for clean water
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relevance-- related activities you are including requirements that are developed for eastern climates and i don't think that we are using the right expertise and i will tell you that everyone in the these affected jurisdictions is really struggling in their relationship with you because that aspects of the permit to not make sense in arid environments and i think conflict with all of our state water law and many of our federal water law compacts. stormwater regulations of need to have lex ability to make sure local managers can suggest alternatives that makes sense for in arid region. are you aware that we are having these conflicts and do you see a way for us to have much more flexibility to meet your overall goals while participating productively but we can do it correctly. >> well, all of our water programs by law and by intense is a partnership between epa and
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the states. it i did not know that there were concerns that have been raised that have not yet been resolved in these discussions and they have to be resolved. they have to be resolved in a way that makes sense for those communities and you are absolutely right, flexibility is the key to doing that. >> i'm out of time, mr. chairman thank you for your patience and we will work with you to get this revolved-- resolved. >> mr. gibson, five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. ma'am i represent parts of upstate new york 11 counties 162 towns and among those the town of who's sick and we have a village a very proud area and for good region. hard-working good folks. these are really challenging times for them right now due to a chemical that has been detected. we have not had-- [inaudible] >> we are working on that.
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we have carbon filtrate and process ongoing and we do think in several weeks we will have possible water and at the same time we are now monitoring blood levels of the citizens and a beginning the long process of the conference of health study. we are soon to begin the process of identifying the source of the contamination and ultimately identifying an aquifer that we can be confident am going forward. ma'am, in march of 2015, we contacted the epa and the response then was that the town-- this was in an right-- unrelated chemical and did not pose a health risk. at the end of the year specifically on the 17th, of december, epa came out with a statement and said that the water is not possible and
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furthermore it posed a risk to health and so my question is how do you go about making the determination and what changed from march to december and before you answer that in my research as i have worked on this i have come to find out that there are many unregulated chemicals and, ma'am, i think we need a method. we are going to have to have a method that we then go through all of these unregulated-- unregulated chemicals and have a way with analytics and automation where we can compress and go through all of the health data so that we can come to these determinations because i can tell you my people are hurting and they are very disappointed and we are looking for answers. >> you know i share your concerns and your interest in finding ways in which we can more effectively and quickly address these new chemicals that are entering into some of our water systems and we are finding across the country. now, i believe that our region
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has been pretty aggressive in working with the community and i want to thank you and the community for how quickly people have been reacting to this situation getting bottled water, getting a new carbon system in. epa has been trying very hard to keep up with new chemicals that we are finding to do the science behind that. there is a systematic process to do that that is written into the law and the rules about recommending first identifying, going through a listing process that is public before you can regulate and actually working with the states and local communities to adopt those regulations-- >> ma'am, so i understand i am hearing you but is that the answer to my question? >> no, it is not. that is why i agree with you that we need to do better. we are looking at more automation and how we do the science around this, but frankly, if congress would continue that push they are on on reacting the toxic substances
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control act we would have more ability to understand what chemicals are going into products in the system and what challenges they may pose so that we can be better able in the end to find out where they are and what they are doing in the science behind that. >> so from march to december was there something that changed in our understanding of this chemical or was it a latency in understanding that there was a danger out there? this is what i'm not clear of the. >> i will have to go back and talk to the region because i'm not sure i can specifically answer your question. i believe that the testing that was provided to the region early on was in a system that was not currently in use. but, when we found out that there were existing drinking supply wells that were being used part of that challenge for us was that our recommended levels in some cases was fairly high and currently being
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reconsidered. we were trying to give the best information that we had based on the science we knew and that's why there was continued to debate back and forth on the level in what was safe and what was not but that is because the science was changing and the tests were changing and what we knew to be the case in terms of what people were drinking was changing as well. >> ma'am, we will stand touch on this and chairman i will submit for the record further questions. >> ms. custer, five minutes. >> thank you ms.-- mr. chairman. it is always great to have that new england air in committee. i have two questions. the first one relates to the zero united states ruling, but in conjunction with the epa regulation on pesticides and the fish and wildlife ruling regarding the long eared bat and my question on the half of
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farmers, landowners and timber owners in new hampshire is how will your agency coordinate with usda and fish and wildlife to minimize confusion about the interplay between these three rules? >> that is a very good question that i am not sure i can answer. so, i will have to get back to you because you have just baffled me with the bat question connecting with the clean water and the other issues i understand. >> what i am trying to get some guidance because i have trees and it's a big farmer area and landowners working on conservation and as these three rules come together, it will obviously limit the way they can use their property and i just
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want to try to get them some guidance because you know i just wonder if there is coordination is basic what i'm looking at and-- >> i have not been a part of it, so i better figure it out. >> thank you. the bats through me the first time to, but apparently it's a important but. this relates to the clean power plant in the biomass energy. i in the cochair with my republican colleagues mr. westermann of the biomass caucus here in the congress. i understand that the supreme court issued a stay this week on the clean power plant and my question goes beyond the state. there is confusion in the biomass energy world stakeholders regarding whether or not biomass will be treated
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as a carbon neutral form of energy. we submitted letters to you. i am just curious whether a determination has been made and whether biomass will be treated as carbon neutral under the clean power plan. >> that is a question i understand, so thank you. help me recover a little bit. biomass is actually a really important part of-- and we expected to be of many states compliance strategies that they would use for the clean power plan and so we know that there has been questions raised, the rule itself identifies biomass that we think is carbon neutral that would be enormously helpful to consider, but we also recognize that there are other things that the states are looking for for guidance so we have actually notified folks that we are going to be pulling together a work group and we are doing already i think webinars
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to get people up to speed so that we can have the right questions and develop the right answers for how a stay can feel confident to have biomass the unaffected part of their compliant strategy. we are sure it will be but there are uncertainties about what epa might approve that we want to make sure that we are working with everyone to get that done. >> i would love to issue an invitation from the biomass caucus. we would love to set up an event here on the hill with your team to educate members of congress because i think bipartisan from all of the country to learn more about this interpretation and then we can help to take that back. >> that would be great and i know many of your members have prompted this workshop to happen and maybe we could do it right after and we could give you a sense of where we are. >> that would be great. i had to go to another committee, but i will have my staff stick around to connect with you. i yield back with time to spare. >> thank you.
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five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. ms. mccarthy, i appreciate your attendance here today and willingness to answer these questions. to tag off of something that austin scott talked about a while ago with great concern among the racing community and car if easy is that you have a regulation coming out on basically stock cars that have been converted for racing and if you want your outfit to be known as the entertainment prevention agency amongst millions of racers around the country i would certainly recommend not pursuing that so please check into that. >> i will sir, thank you with. >> a follow up on something from a couple of months ago. we have something known as the iron mountain in my district it's above the sacramento river which affects the water supply port 20 million californians and
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hundreds of thousands of acres of agriculture. iron mountain mine situation would not be that much different than the gold king mine so i would ask hurt-- i asked for a reported couple months ago so would you please see it that i can get that report so i know our situation there is stable on that because we certainly cannot have that affected not many californians on that mine so thank you. on the issue of section 404 in the exemptions provided for agriculture and the clean water act normal find it-- farming activities, ranching forster etc. including plowing plowing seating, cultivating harvesting for that production with the fiber of forest products conservation practices etc. no additional requirements for example in the neck to be be continuous are included, so my constituents-- continuous
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cropping zombies land otherwise you lose the ability to add that exemption. where the law doesn't specify that that is what's being carried out in my district by epa or your associates sometimes we refer to them as henchmen but the army corps of engineers that are tearing up some outside the law activities with his regulation, so do you agree that section 404 does make no additional requirements that activity be continuous crop as we see it in the law? >> i am not aware of it, but i will have to get back to you on it sir. >> continuous cropping activities we feel are not required under the law. >> i don't know what actions you are referring to so i will dig into it. >> they are coming down hard on people fining them or in some casein-- cases making them sick permits or if they just leave the land idle for a few years. >> that's what people do, sure. >> whatever those conditions by
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vu should not have to have a new permit-- sometimes folks seeking permits are afraid they will end up with a three year waiting for getting the permit issued to them, which will be epa pay their land payments and tax payments while they sit and wait ask another one i will have to go fast i apologize. section 110 of the consolidation appropriation act of 2016 specifically prohibits funds from this act from being used to require permit for the regulation as was alluded to my colleagues a while ago. are you aware of that exemption under 404? >> it was an appropriation amendment that specify that no funds were to be used. >> for which specific? >> section 110 of the appropriations act of 2016 no funds are to be used under
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section 404 requiring these permits. >> no i am not aware of that. i will look at it. >> that is a direct law put in place and i look forward to your answers on that. moving quickly. epa and army corps of engineers continue to rely on epa's interposition of the clean water act opposing this regulation estrace far from the congressional intent and again mentioned several times following the law pretty clear in the law and exemptions and follow-up by these amendments and appropriation activities that we have done here, so we believe we are the ones that set to that course they are that the epa's to follow so as long as they have exceptions to the exemption and that is very problematic. the epa's looking for exceptions to exemptions in your rulemaking, then who is making the law here?
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that's what a lot of people are concerned about is that we are not the lawmakers anymore. will you director agency to cease-- [inaudible] >> we should not be doing anything other than exempting those activities. >> okay. thank you. i appreciate again your answers today. >> five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman an administrator, thank you so much. i am over here. i want to you-- invite you to northern indiana to my district. i have sat here for two hours and here's the issue in my district. in northern indiana we have one of the largest manufacturing districts in the country, not just the midwest. in the southern part of the state we have cold minds and we are strewn throughout with heavy agriculture as well and so i look at this and i have said since the day i came to congress and prior to indiana is a good
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role model for being good stewards of the environment and the economy and i can show you in my district places where we are out-of-the-box and doing things that are incredibly creative to be so much more-- good stewards of the environment, but no more on is better stewards of the environment than the family farmer. so i do agricultural tours every semi--- every time i'm in the district in the last two or we were able to diversify do great things and we have been able to do some really clean water things i think are designed for harry came away from their and i'm old enough to remember when the epa was really considered a partner a partner with industry a partner with farmers and really kind of came alongside especially in our state with an incredible indiana department of environmental management and comes alongside not to penalize but to incentivize and keep people from really getting in trouble. i came away from this to her
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really having an understanding that in my mind what i heard from my farmers is that today's epa just has become a punitive revenue generator for big government. that bothers me because i sit on this committee and i know there is a lot of well-intentioned, but when it comes to this wotus rule and i understand exactly why the frustration is so high in this room on both sides. this is not a partisan issue today. this is an issue of americans and farmers and members on representatives trying to come to grips and understand that in a state like indiana we are in a target virtually in every single portion of what we do and lead our nation and, in cold, and add an heavy manufacturing. the toll on jobs because of this issue of heavy-handed government there is no other way to explain it. i understand your intention but i also understand that we have
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been able to have-- [inaudible] >> there is a gigantic tone problem. when i come out of my district hearing from people all over the state saying it is a punitive regulating system and when epa comes calling we don't even have a chance to implement rule number one and here comes implementation of rule number two and i am curious especially on wotus because i agree with my colleagues and i would ask you to pull this rule and bring shareholders around this and let's do it right let's do it balanced. i am not calling for one extreme or the other. i believe there is a balance. i can tell you my state does that but my question is this: so when we talk about on one hand you say the epa doesn't tend to regulate every dish and on the other hand we look at actual implementation of the rule in the ditch exemption appears to leave room. so is the ditch exemption
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automatically given if a business farmer or local government believes its exempt or do they have to prove its exempt? >> the way in which the law works is that if there is a question that you are going to be destroying or polluting what might be a water-- >> a question from the epa? >> no that would be the individual landowner and i would be concerned that their activity would be doing that-- >> on their private land of. >> on their private land or elsewhere that that question is raised by that landowner and they asked that appropriate questions that usually and often go to usda and others add filters its way through but we are not changing the dynamic of how the rule has been-- how the guidance was-- >> let's say worse case scenario some farmer ends up someone somehow said he is not in compliance and he must do xyz
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with the waters of the us rule as it is now and what we are talking about with eggs exemption could a farmer potentially face legal action if he was strongly on the side that he is not out of compliance and someone from epa comes in and says you are. if this goes all the way to the end, could someone like a farmer be penalized and face legal action and have to defend himself on a question of water on his own land? >> there have been enforcement cases. there have not been a great deal compared to the way in which people get to work together to answer these questions and get permits done. i will honestly tell you in my heart of hearts we work very hard on this rule to make the clarity you need so that you as a farmer can actually be assured that if someone asked that question you know the answer. >> i know, in all honesty think
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you missed the mark and i would again asked that this rule be repealed. thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. abraham five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> our farmers are their own best stewards of their property and they will not do anything to harm their livelihood, but more importantly nothing to harm their children and their family. to mr. austin's reference of asking you the price of cotton i won't put you on the spot and ask you the growing planning season or anything like that but it lends to the question i am fearful that the epa as a bureaucracy once to literally drive the cart, but doesn't know how to start the car. and we you don't know the grace
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it-- basic facts of growing and how important those windows are to maintain agriculture integrity that it begs the question of who should know these answers and the answer to myself is you should know. we talked about pesticides and with respect to your agency's role in improving the use of pesticides does epa examine the health and safety of herbicide under the federal insecticide acts any differently if it is proposed and tied to a genetically engineered planter versus if it's not and does the agency meet its registration obligation equally in both cases and i guess my question is is it common for products tied to ge plants to be at your agency several years while registration dates are renegotiated multiple times? >> my understanding is that we have had a great deal of success
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in eliminating extensions of time for all of our program. we are mostly keeping to those windows. are there additional challenges with genetically engineered products? if they are then that is where the science comes in and we ask for it. they are not treated differently than looking at how we always look at pesticides, which is by the science try to stick with the legal timelines and window that we had to make-- >> i will follow-up on a question on the science issue the president has stressed the importance of transparency and epa's act is to ensure the use of sound sign it-- science. epa is increasingly reliant on epidemiological and modeling data looking at their correlations and extremely unlikely scenarios to essentially overrule volumes of actual hard science, laboratory at monitoring data realize all
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around the world for decades. why was this fundamental change in policy not put out for public notice and comment so that impacted stakeholders would have an opportunity to on this transition to such a heavily reliant on the worst-case scenario presumption modeling? >> i'm not aware that there has been any change in policy direction, so i am happy to look at-- >> i will look forward to that answer because i am under the understanding that there has been quite a transition away from the hard science. >> i am happy to answer it. >> last question. let's keep dealing with this raw data hard science. i have heard about serious matters regarding epa policy based on human research data that may not be reliable and four years epa has relied on hundreds of quality studies evaluating all aspects of human susceptibility to pesticides.
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these include studies designated to make sure children would be protected and we want that. even though epa uses those high quality assessments for 20 years epa now relies primarily on epidemiology studies and some general ardell-- articles. again seeing the raw data to determine if these studies are reliable or accurate case in point i am told columbia university who conducted a key study refused to provide the raw data to epa even though epa partially funded the study. epa is likely relied on information based on raw data that cannot be reviewed for accuracy. i am running out of time and i will submit this question. is a corrected the epa has not gotten access to the raw data or are you simply refusing to disclose and if you have the information why are you not
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disclosing that information for the public to review? i look forward to your answers to that question and i yield back mr. chairman. >> five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. adminstrator mccarthy thank you for being here. let me start by calling attention to a letter i sent to you last month in regard to a company called oh wood products in oh washington and as you know we have had the last two years record-setting catastrophic fires, wildfires that have had a tremendously negative impact on our communities. this company is one of the largest employers in this small community and i think over 185 people look at the mill, 60 million-dollar impact in the community. unfortunately they have announced recently that they plan to shut down at the end of
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february. people in the city of oh are working hard to find someone to come in and take over the mill. one of the issues is that they don't have an operating permit. two years ago epa promised the rewrite of the permit that would more accurately reflect operation of the plant and i can tell you without that permit they are having a difficult time finding anyone interested in reopening the plant, so if you could look into that i would appreciate it. >> i would be happy to. >> a couple of collections section 303 of the clean water act clearly gives the states the authority to develop water quality standards and submit those plans to you. to make sure they comply with the cwa. >> corrective. >> i don't think section 303 gives epa power to establish
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those criteria for the state laster epa indicated it would reject the state of washington's water quality standards on the basis of two things. number one doesn't account for consumption of 175 grams of pit-- fish per day. which i might add is that equivalent of eating 38 cans of tuna. number two, for people who actually consume that much fish it does not account for the cancer risk level of 10 to the minus six or one to 1 million so i'm concerned your agency's proposed rule is significantly more stringent than required to protect human health and it's inconsistent with human policy and could cost my state billions of dollars for compliance. could you discuss for me briefly on how epa arrived at these levels and explain why your agency is seeking to impose standards that far exceed your
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own water quality guidelines for states. >> well i am very familiar with this issue in terms of work going on between the state of washington and epa. the state of washington has recently proposed water quality standards and we have been starting a process to do that ourselves. we are perfectly happy to defer to the state on their water quality standards should those come out in a way that we think does two things. is safe for human health as well as protect the tribal treaty rights, which we are obligated to protect under treaty law. >> let me follow up. as for your proposed cancer risk level in order to have 10 to minus six, you we need to reduce some of the agents on the pollutants list to get this less than a naturally occurring level and that means the river as it flows naturally would not meet
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the levels. 2013 study conducted by washington state industry found that even the most advanced technology available and with billions of dollars in upgraded resources few facilities would be able to meet those standards, so my question is where does epa think it derives the authority and power to tell stacy had to meet these standards and that they have no part in formulating the number two are in no way grounded in sound to silence? >> we can certainly have this conversation and i know we are running out of time but i will assure you that the regent working on this, our region 10 is in close contact with washington and stakeholders. to understand how we can come to a conclusion either through the state effort or our own to be reasonable, rational make sure
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we have standards that can be issued and know we take about a-- take away the flexibility states have in terms of how they achieve it. >> i appreciate that answer and i do have more questions but i will have to submit them for the record. >> mr. kelly, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you administrator for being here. in my first question is three rears ago mississippi farmers created a store ship program to cooperation and communication between the key present pesticide applicator's. this has increased not just good will between these two groups but we expect to find this is increased health as well. unfortunately, despite the good work that mississippi is doing that epa is undermining those relationships. while both are farmers and beekeepers that they addressed many of the issues, farmers in my state are losing access to key products and will be unable to protect their crops
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threatening their livelihood and additionally the keepers have concerns that an economic hit to the farmers would mean they would be unable to host b's on their farms. please ask lane to me what epa is doing to make sure my constituents will have the time proven product and the new affective products available to meet their needs. >> one of the things-- we should really talk about where this concern is coming from because i know in working through the pollinated strategy we recognize that one of the key things that needed to be done is the agreement and an understanding between beekeepers and their own farmers. about how to protect in those pollinators while at the same time allowing those crops to be properly. if there is a disconnect there i would love to understand because it would-- was one of the highlights and with that said the federal government does not need to get involved in this as long as i communication is working and happening so if we have missed the boat i would love to be able to work with you
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on it to figure out how we might be able to turn that around. >> i will make sure we get that you-- get you that information. >> this is the conversation we wanted to have happened. >> second and i don't know i was going to joke about our accents because i didn't know if we needed an interpreter or not, but we speak a little bit different english. >> i can understand you. >> after the hearing today, you know i'm not sure we are not different in more ways than just our accent and i think one of the smartest terms i heard to date was regulatory humility and i have not seen that displayed. i think if you look back i think you have 32 states who are filed lawsuits over wotus and i think you have both the house and senate through the majority of members regards of which party think it is not implemented correctly. i think you have courts that are saying that it's not been
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implemented correctly and what i see is the epa sticking a flag in and saying we are writes and the rest of america is wrong. we are writes and we will defend and i have heard several times you say we defend this action. i don't agree with what the courts set on that. i don't agree with gao that we broke the law. we will defend our science and we will do this. that is not humility. that is arrogance. i am smarter than you. i don't care how many of you there are or have a different backgrounds you come from but i am smarter than you and i am right and you're wrong and i think a member asked you earlier repeal wotus, do away with it. it's not that it's a bad idea but the rule we have now i can tell you the majority of america does not believe protects them and they believe it is punitive and not helpful. we need clean water. no one understands that more than me. one of the most crucial
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resources we have in america is clean drinking water. water to water outcrops. we all want the same thing, but the rules we have now does not accomplish that but we are so entrenched that we have to have this rule and i think if you would repeal the rule step back get with congress get with farmers get with environmentalists get a whole group of people in a room and say what do we want to achieve and what is the most effective way to do that and let's all take pride out of it because we are all prideful regardless of what we are but to get back to the humility to the sarpy when the room get a group or commission together and let's come out with a wotus that works because i can tell you businesses, farmers legislators courts everyone right now knows this wotus ruled that we have is not the right rule. let's quit sticking a flag in
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the ground and defending the something that doesn't work and let's come up with something that does protect our clean drinking water and mr. chair i yield back. >> five minutes. >> thank you mr. sharon. welcome, adminstrator mccarthy. i want to go back further than wotus and talk about the epa's chesapeake bay scheme because that really is the precursor to what's going on nationwide with wotus. and i think you would agree that the-- it is both significant and unique for variety of reasons. early in the implementation process epa documents mentioned many specifics were novel in comparison to past epa tml's in this blueprint could serve as a template for other watersheds are out the nation, the concerns voiced by arboriculture, for street and homebuilding industries in addition to some
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local communities and to the numerous legal challenges speak to the enormous impacts that the epa's actions have had and will continue to have in the bay region. given this, shouldn't the epa have conducted an analysis to estimate the cost of such unimportant rule? >> it is my understanding that we have been in that process-- >> says 2009 and you are almost to the halfway assessment point and you implemented this process, but have never done a cost benefit analysis to determine whether the cost of this to these parties and the taxpayers of my district and all of the other districts in the six states isn't greater than the benefits to the bay? >> well, sir i think what we try to do was to allow states the flexibility to choose their own path forward and because of that it would have been
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extraordinarily difficult to provide any certainty about what that cost might be. >> that is actually not-- that is not what happened, if i made because the states have for a past quarter-century done just that and that is what the clean water act provides for. it says the federal government gets to set the standards and the states get to write the plan and implement the plan to meet the standards and a lot of progress is made over the 25 years. sedimentation has been reduced in the bay by more than 50%, nitrogen and phosphorus by more than 40%. before this ever even began. yet, the epa said that is not good enough and went ahead with putting pressure on the state, threatening the states that if they didn't change the way they did it that there would be cost and other consequences to them. so in fact, up until march of
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2009 your agency had assured us that no tms el would be implemented before there was an economic analysis so how much has this a cost that affected state and on average how much has this cost the average farmer or producer the chesapeake bay watershed? >> i cannot answer that question is. >> i know you can because you never did the homework. ..
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you get lawsuits rather than progress. their agency has been implementing for several years now. i understand next year you will be releasing the midpoint assessment. therefore it would seem that you have had ample time to conduct such an analysis. why did you not conduct an economic analysis prior to the implementation or at least at the last few years? >> we are in the midst of that progress. i do not know when it will be completed. mycompleted. my understanding is that it is being worked on by the agency. >> you may well be well past the midpoint assessment before you ever determine whether this should have been done in the 1st place. all the costs that have gone forward the epa should not have issued regulations without having not done 1st. as the epa not view the financial impact of the rules inflicts and
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homeowners and taxpayers in small communities that dot the shenandoah valley in my district? do you not view that financial impact to be of important? >> one of the reasons we do it the way we are is to allow not just us to consider a more effective path forward but to allow the communities themselves. >> my time has expired but i must express my ongoing dismay for all these many years that we have been talking about this. talk and no information that would justify this major impact which has quite frankly been the guinea pig. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> i am representing michigan. would like to talk with you about the flatwater situation. and as of yesterday there were some concerns raised by family. you may have heard these concerns, but we saw more information. we asked them for helping and nothing. you have been defined. really but the focus of blame on the state. the governor has apologized. people have lost their jobs in the state. was that over the flatwater situation?
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>> her explanation was it was because of focus of attention. it was a courageous act. >> do you still maintain come as you did? >> a situation like flag should never have happened. i explained what i thought were inadequacies of the state oversight. they are the ones that have the authority under the law and the ones with the primary obligation. i am no way said that i had done some kind of thorough analysis. >> let's just analyze this for a minute. my understanding is the epa is aware as of february of last year that corrosion control would have prevented
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lead from leaching at the pipes and was not being implemented, there were serious concerns did nothing for almost a year later. can you explain to me why that happens? >> i would say i believe that in april of last year was when the state actually told us and corrected in this impression they gave us that corrosion control is not happening. epa vigorously from that point forward recommended to the state that they take action to get corrosion control. that is the focus of our attention. we did oversee this and recommending appropriate
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steps. >> you are saying that was in april. >> i believe so. >> february 25 a resident from flint and for children with lead poisoning. contacted miguel the torah a manager at your epa division informing him that flint is not treating water with standard corrosion controls that prevent lead pipes from leaching lead. also, bill tauro your employee, learned employee, learned that taps were being pre- flushed for several minutes prior to sampling when theylimited water tests. that is february 25 the epa was notified that the corrosion controls were not being implemented and that the testing process is flawed. my understanding is under the safe drinking water act you have the authority when there is action authorized
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that so my question is if you do thisknew this in february why was there no action taken? >> my understanding in february was that we did ask the state of michigan whether or not corrosion control was happening. they gave us an indication that it was. we relied on that but at the same time we did work specifically to test ms. walters home and it is not unusual nor an indication of corrosion control happening are not to have a high lead level in a particular home that can occur for a variety of reasons including the disruption in the street. one house does not dictate whether corrosion control is happening but in no way that mcgill ignore this individuals assertion.
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>> i'm not saying the gilded. the upper levels of the epa did. miguel actually e-mail people to my colleagues at the epa relaying his concern about the faulty testing mechanism and also in follow-up when they actually used the right testing mechanism there were lead levels of nearly 400 parts per billion 27 times the epa threshold. that is march 3, almost a year ago. and still nothing happened. i want to go again to june 24, again, when mr. del toro wrote to the head of the epa drinking water division calling the flint lack of corrosion controls at major concern. again no action from the epa. finally, i am told that rather than taking action a legal opinion was requested
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on the authority of the epa to step i have to believe that anyone who looks at the documentation of law would be able to give the opinion that the epa has authority in this matter. would you not agree with that? >> when you say no action was taken by epa i think you minimize the communication that epa has that we normally have the states that are very clear that erosion control should of been done from day one and it needed to continue. the state of michigan that was challenging whether or not an additional testing was necessary. >> and people that lost their jobs. now the question is, if you knew it wasn't happening why did you not take action? >> i can explain to you my interaction, but it is a much longer conversation.
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we clearly did everything we could to get the state of michigan to do what they were supposed to do when i became aware and engaged. that is when you sign enforcement action taken. >> my understanding is the communications between the epa region five regarding this matter of been requested the governor has released all of its communications. when can we expect to see the documentation from region five? >> numerous requests. >> there is nothing more important than getting that claim water. >> you are well over. >> i would like to know when you are going to have those documents published. >> of the happy to take that back. >> the gentleman's time has expired.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator mccarthy did your staff prepare you for a question for me about individual assistance the including? >> no. >> they did not? >> i believe last time i said they should be fired if they did not do it. this would be my 4th time. do you believe individual septic systems are included in the language? >> i am not familiar with the issues. >> i will remind you that a joint hearing i did ask you the same question. their response was that we don't regulate individual septic systems. but you do and i still have
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yet to have my question answered. if they would be considered under the sewage treatment facility exemption under the existing rules. i don't have a lot of time left. i'll get back to you. i am disappointed that your staff once again did not have a prepared answer on this knowing that i was going to ask. that just makes me as a member of congress no this is more of a check the box issue and i'm sorry they did not prepare you,. >> i don't want you to think -- >> as a former staffer i would not put you in a situation like that. this is very disappointing to us. i'm disappointed in those sitting behind you. you mentioned earlier that you are trying to ensure there is a better working
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relationship you know there are a lot of folks that don't think that the epa actually counts for the economic consequences of the regulatory proposals. i also asked to last event last hearing we had whether or not we have worked with usda to employ them to cover.a member of agriculture, that was my language. what is the status of getting that person appointed? >> on the standing committee? >> yes. >> as recently as last week we met with usda so that we could finalize it. we understand how important it is in have been working hard to make sure we respect people's interest and will be working with usda. >> i appreciate that.
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this is something i asked you about before. i just don't think the epa actions and again i don't expect you to take away from every hearing our concerns, but i do expect the folks sitting behind you to follow up. my legislative intent was to get someone from agriculture to work with you so that maybe when you came here today you would not offended talk about how you work to bridge that relationship, bridge that gap with her agricultural community. it is very disappointing. you wonder lawyer ask your has taken two years for a simplea simple request to appoint someone to a standing advisory board has not been done why they don't trust the epa. it is very disappointing on my end. i would hope that by the next time we meet that we
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could see much more progress on this. two years has been long enough. you would prove it a lot by accomplishing this task in getting someone on the advisory committee. with that i want to make my chairman happy by yielding back to remainder of my time >> you. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for being here. experts believe that over 70 percent is affected and we have seen a dramatic decrease in production. the season's harvest is 69 million boxes. that's the smallest we have added 50 years down from the 240 million.
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speak to your agency is doing? is there anything you need from us to help facilitate that? >> we are taking the situation extraordinarily seriously. i know that we met with the house delegates delegations to talk about what we have already done on recent registrations bringing more tools to the table, but we are also in the middle of looking at an emergency exemption request we are working with the cdc and fda and we are going to try to get that done as soon as possible. >> if we can help facilitate or extrapolate whether it's is the apples were anything like that come our state and thus people would be greatly appreciated.
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>> am concerned farmers and not getting access to the tools they need. 40 percent of global crop production could be lost because of the effect. i understand the average research and development cost for just one new pesticide to reach the market is roughly $256 million. the average timeframe is about ten years. and i understand we have to do our due diligence though we have products approved by the epa and polled after this kind of effort. what are your thoughts on that? >> we certainly should look at the full range of effort and with the averages, but i want to look at more recent data and see if we have been able to do much better job.
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it is clearly a desire to do her job safe and effectively. >> absolutely. >> i don't think that the timeline you indicated is the timeline that the agency operates under at this point. >> and i justi just want to kind of -- i am concerned about how long it takes to approve new product and i am also concerned the epa is drifting away from its goals set by congress which includes basing decisions based on sound science rather than on input from outside persons trying to limit the use of options for farmers. some of the nonprofit groups who oppose the use of pesticides no matter what their value and addressing world hunger no matter how safe they are those interest groups should know that the crop protection
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greatly reduced malnutrition for millions of children and adults by safely protecting crops safely increasing yields. they will also keep costs in the us lower. when you commit to me today that as the law requires you will base your decisions in the epa on sound science and only on sound science. >> yes. >> and we see this some of the pesticide that the outside groups are saying on the honeybees. >> i want to indicate relative to your 1st question one of the most important things is to get new chemicals on the market that are much less harmful and much more effective. you are absolutely right on those questions in their linkages. >> i would like for you to structure caught -- show strong leadership with 26
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states suing the federal government and the epa until it can reach a better solution if you would just back off. and then the standard of testing methodology that we have seen with the lead situation in michigan you have to run the water or don't run the water. there is not a standard. if you don't have a standard you could get skewed results. >> we have grave concerns and we will. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you administrator for being here today. right here. >> i don't know how i lost you. >> the lights. anyway, i have learned a lot here today.
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learning about some of the things that we have to deal with. i am a new member of congress from georgia. there is an obvious disconnect between the american people and your agency. your ability to carry out the laws. i guess my question is what have you learned from this hearing today and what do you plan to do about it? >> i think that i have learned that we have significant not just differences of opinion but an understanding of what the agency is doing. they have a lot of work to do to have a trusting relationship to be able to talk to one another and to listen to those concerns and effectively get them in their policies and regulation. >> would you do this?
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we are -- what i would like to see is a plan by your agency to do just what you said you wanted. layout a strategy somehow that we are going to get on the same page and how we will do that because we have differences in science. you have an important job. we have issues. we have brought them before you today. went out in colorado with their mistakes. i will say is a long-term member of the business community that part of that strategy needs to be prioritization. you are doing things that are affecting the economy affecting our farmers ability to operate there farms and then letting out a thing slipped through the
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cracks. neither reprioritize your systems. the other thing relative to the economic impact white what is the us again, we talked about where that will comes from and you need to understand that over half retiring. in only 56 percent is there. obviously command you feel our frustration. and our frustration is there frustration because we start talking about taking people's property away from them because they have retained water so that they can sustain there farm that is a serious issue. millions of comments on the thing. so you can certainly understand the concern. from an economic standpoint
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is your agency at all connected to the fact that this economy is growing in less than 2 percent and has been for the last seven years? what responsibility does your agency have? >> these are jobs are talking about. 90 million people who are not working today. one of your strategies that i would recommend is that you go back and look and see what your agency can do to grow this economy. going to move forward.
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>> no, sir. i will certainly take to heart what you suggest. we tried hard to understand how we can meet our vision in a way that actually advances the economy moving forward but i have no question that there are challenges in agriculture and that those challenges have to be part of the discussion. >> and you realize that has to be bottom-up? >> yes. >> i yield back. >> we're almost there. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome. published an interim recommendation.
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one of the recommendations excludes several credible standards including the sustainable forest initiative and the american tree farmer system standards. the recommendation was made without consultation by the department of agriculture. it will also publicly see the sustainable forest initiative and the american tree farmer system furthermore, it is based on a determination by the department of energy that has no formal analysis behind it. explain the basis of the recommendation?
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>> the four service or department of agriculture determined that this is a sustainable thing. >> who are actually utilizing a certification program that was up and running. but we have recently been asked to consider opening that out. >> what is the certification? >> the widely used certification processes. >> there opening up the discussion. no interest in taking away the opportunity to use a legitimate and well tested third-party certification. >> why wouldn't you consult the department of agriculture?
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>> i'm not sure that wasn't done. you are right. we should be consulting appropriately. >> when will that be fixed? >> you said you will look into it. >> we already are. i just can't put my finger on it. it is part of the work we are doing ongoing. >> is the timeline a month? >> i don't know. >> three years? >> i can get back to you. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> thank you for your indulgence. try to keep this to asking for an off-line clarification and then a yes or no. you are gracious with us. to bring your attention quickly, presidential
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memorandum issued recently call for the mitigating impact. so i don't expect you know this on the slot -- on-the-fly. mitigating impacts on natural resources and then encouraging related private investment. it appears to be carrying the weight of an executive order quite a significant departure from current policy and go back and reassess every possible attack at the man-made activity might have. so do you plan to follow this policy and can you walk me through how you plan? >> i have not been made familiar. i will have to get back to you.
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we have very little ownership of federal land. >> it might have an effect on all federal land. i would appreciate if your office and clarified to that. and on the previous question several of my constituents on the 404 exemption the current claim water relations provide a discharge was it changes in the area war. i have familiar with that. regulations came in. take swabs were change waterways things of that nature. they things. but since we do have this 404 exemption does this
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regulation really truly mean what it says? >> my understanding is yes. >> was this regulation intended to ensure farmers that it would not be regulated under the clean water act? >> that would be its intent. >> might be repetitive. plowing is not regulated under the clean water act? >> waters to dry land? >> if it is changed. >> the other way around. >> water land to dry land. >> and farmers continue to rely on regulations. they continue to rely on the regulation and continue
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compiling your fields. >> yes. >> okay. thank you. thank you for your time and indulgence. >> another couple quick ones. we were talking earlier about water jurisdiction. he said that biological chemical must exist to determine if the water. yet the rule uses biological chemical. so can you clarify which is which? >> it would be over. >> so it's a much broader interpretation. also i know you are tired of talking about it but one of the things comeau whatever you do however you do it not to be an audit trail


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