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tv   EPA Administrator Gina Mc Carthy on Regulations and the Rural Economy  CSPAN  February 12, 2016 10:07pm-1:11am EST

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. >> every election cycle we're reminded of how citizens need to be performed. >> c-span is home for political junkies and track the government as it happens. >> i think it's a great way for us to stay informed. >> there are a lot of c-span fans on the hill. my colleagues are going to say, i saw you on c-span. >> there's so much more that c-span does to make sure that people outside the beltway knows what's going on inside it.
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>> t >> the supreme court halted implementation of the power plan until legal challenges against it are resolved in the courts. some members a discussed the flint, michigan, water contamination crisis. this is three hours. >> i've asked mike bosh to open with a prayer. >> dear heavenly father, we thank you so much for the we opportunity to serve this great nation. lord, we thank you for the res freedoms that we have.make we thank you that you have blessed up as you have with thee 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 hearing. we ask all this in jesus' name,
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amen. >> thank you, michael. i want to thank you m administrator mccarthy for being here this morning. the appreciate you being here.y there's a reason, a top issue for nearly every member of our ag committee is related to the n regulatory agenda for the environmental protection agency. many members of this committee believe the agenda has been absent of the any recognition o for the consequences of rural america and production of agriculture. the epa has policies that are burdensome, overreaching and t negatively effect the job and rural economy. perhaps the most poignant fra example is the ep a's recent waters of the u.s. rule, or as a the ntepa likes to call it, the clean water rule. i'll be frank, this rule is not about clean water. everyone wants and deserves to drink clean water. this is not about safe drinkingt water in flint, michigan, which as some purpose ly confused with s the water's overreach. and rebranding government overreach as part of a media campaign does not change the content of the
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rule.nd this rule is simply the result i of epa ignoring stakeholders ans clearly states and other federas agencies and the american peoplr in order to egregiously expand its jurz i this is tied up in the court system and i imagine it will bei there for ant number of years.f this is only one of the many ea instances where i believe the agency has ignored congressional intent.t.congr instead of administering the law, the epa challenges legislation for more authority and ifif theby congress doesn'tr epa will legislate versus directive, memorandum or in some instances intimidation. just this week, thehing o supre court intervened in another overreaching regulatory priority of the obama administration by stating the implementations of the clean power plan. s it never should have come to this. zbrus just because something sounds great in c theoryonmes h d.c. does not mean it will work.
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farmers and ranchers and foresters take great pride inco their stewardship of the land. n they're original conservationists. when a family's livelihood depends on caring for natural resources there's an economic ar incentive to adopt practices that enhance long-term liability. than while some blame ranchers for any and every environmental concern that crops up, nobody es cares more about the environment than those who derive their livelihood from rural america's economy is dependent on agriculture. today's committee members will f talk about examples in which ep a's regulatory approach may unjustifiably increase the cost of doing business for america's farmers and ranchers. these include the proposed changes to the ozone standard, the recently modified standards for farm workers and many others. regardless of the degree to which some believe individual government regulations might be justifiable, all regulations must be developed in a manner that's based on science and mindful of economic consequences. for instance, farmers face s
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increasing pressure from pests and disease.ood if existing pesticide usage were to be prohibited, the increase o in cropf losses will impact foo prices and food security. if epa fails to adequately fai to calculate or consider the consequences of these economic actions, they could be devastating. the usda serves as an importantn adviser to the epa in the regulation of pesticides.n historically, the usd a's advice has been evident in the actions epa has taken to evaluate em. pesticides and their uss. usd a's perspective and the s 40 knowledge of agriculture is critical since we know that crop protection products c can incree i can't remember fields as muchk as 40 to 70% depending on the crop. wh to hear the farm nd communities express increasingly urgent concerns about the lack of seriousness with which the rw epa incorporates advice and y opinions, especially during interagency reviews. i anticipate that every member f will wish to engage you in a discussion of specific areas of concern.
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my hope is that this hearing vei will open the doortt with a mor cooperative working relationship where epa generally. farmers and ranchers believe the epa is attacking they believe little credit is given to them fort. the conservation activities they'vey engaged in for years. i'll turn to the ranking member for any questions he may have., >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, edadministrator mccarthy for joining us. i appreciate you being here today. our you'r we've had ore share of e bee disagreements but you've alwaysi been willing to listen to my concerns. what's you've been willing to listen. i'm glad other members of the a committee will have an opportunity to share what's happening in their districts with you today. i'm on record with a lot of others saying the epa is an agency that is overreached. i don't think there's enough understanding within the agency or administration with what we
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do in rural america, the new consequences of regulations. what we can have on agriculture and 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 proposed waters of the u.s. rule, which, you know, if i read one more ear time about the farmer exceptions, i'm going to tear mh hair out. i got a full-time person on my staff that does nothing but untangle these water issues. you should the current regime. and the problem is we have four federal agencies deciding what a wetland and they don't agree. county and even within the same agency, you can have somebody in one county that will have one uarany opinion, versus somebody in the next county that has another. r i can guarantee you this rule goes into effect it's just going to make that worse. we had a memorandum between nrch
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and core of engineers up in ouri district on our flood stuff that we've been working on. it has not worked.ptions we still have people all over the map. hope so i don't have a lot of wi confidence that putting some exemptions in there is going to fix this. an so i hope there's some other way we can deal with that. i hope today's hearing is a wayd to get a better grasp on what r you're up to and what we need ir agricultural communities. i hear from farmers in my district about this and i'm sure other members do as well.tor i look forward to today's hearing and the questions. yield back.k.i >> i want to thank the respe administrator this morning and welcome her to the witness table. we hope to be respectful and with that, introduce the honorable gina mccarthy, the
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administrator for the thank environmental protection agent washington, d.c. ma'am, you're ready to go or th whenever you are. thank you for being here. hon >> thank you and good morning, a as well as membersrd of thes committee, i really want to an thank you for thed honor and opportunity to be here with you this >> as life long conservationists, livelihoods depend on healthy land, clean ae air and water to produce the fiber that we rely on. we've cleaned up 70% of our eco nation's air pollution and hundreds of thousands of miles of waterways. all the while the economy has tripled. agriculture advanced, too, achieving better yields with fuss water, lower risk pesticides andlessrt fertilizer. i would like to highlight some , of the epa initiatives furthering our common goals.
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reannually livestocks produce ss and manage more than $1 billion tons of manure, but that contains valuable nitrogen and phosphorous, which if we harness a renewable fertilizer can lenge minimize waterd pollution and build healthy soils. participants will be challenged to use the power of competition to turn designi innovative conco designs and ultimately into working technologies.artners creating the solutions that are a win for farmers, the environment, as well as our economy. the partners with the usda with the local foods, local places project, promoting walkable, fe healthy and economically vibrand neighborhoods through farmers markets, co-ops, community eco gardens and other local food enterprises, by focusing development in existing ve neighborhoods, we helplo supporn farm economies w prote
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undeveloped rural lands. last month we announced 27 new 2 communities, raising the total d number of communities served toe 62 in 29 states, just since thee program started in 2013. 1-3 americans rely on for ttee, drinking water and farmers and s ranchers also needup for their r crops and livestock.uling regarding application of the clean water act to streams and wet lands. def in developing the rule, the epar and army corpsly, of engineers y respond to. a request to define the scope of the clean water act more clearly, more predictably and more fairly. in doing so, the clean water rule not only maintains currently statutory exemptions, it expands regulatory exclusionn from theot add definitions of w from the united states, to make it clear that the rule does not add any additional permitting c
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requirements on farmers and ranchers and promotes their agluntary efforts to protect and enhance clean water.rcin ex continue outreach to the agriculture community,is responding to their concerns, answering their questions, and reinforcing the fact that all u. existing agriculture exemptions and exclusions continue to apply under the clean water the renewable program for calendar years for 2014, '56 and '16 and bio mas faced diesel for 2017. the final requirements boost renewable fuel adjustment and provide for robust achievable growth of the bio fuels industry. overall, this final rule requires that total renewable s standards grow by more than 1.8 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016.
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the gallons are 35% higher than 2014 actual volumes.a the bio massse standards increa every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017. that's a 23% increase over 2014 actual vote. increasing the number of pathways, produces may use to qualify their bio fuel under the program. we improve the quality, transparency and efficiency of our petition review process for new bio fuel pathways and conducted life cyclele analysisn several new feed stocks. the epa remanes committed to the renewable fuels program and m t meeting congress' intent to responsibly grow renewable fuels over time. i recently announced increased protections for the nation's workers and their families.
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every year, thousands of preventible pesticides cause sick days and loss of wage. we can do better. these provisions will help ensure that farm workers pestic nationwide receive annualid safe training, prohibit children from handling agricultural pesticides and provide workers with the tools needed to protect osures themselves and their families from pesticide exposures. again, thank you. i am happy and i'm honored to br here and happy to answer your questions. ng >> i recognize myself for five minutes. thank you for being here. exc with the sixth circuit rule on m the clean water land, the supreme court's ruling on the -n excuse me, clean power plan -- difficult to say for those of us
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from west texas, legitimate he concern that given both of those involve what we believe is an h overreach by the agency going n around congressional -- going h around the law. can you talk to us about efforts that your agency will make on the intervening 11 or so monthsd that you'll be there to obey the supreme court and the sixth circuit. will you commit to not trying to go around now the courts with other ways to get at what you're trying to get done. what u >> mr. chairman, the epa is actually trying to do what congress told us to do with the authorities we had and we feel confident that both of those rules will be seen as an appropriate and proper and necessary application of the law.t trying to clarify the confusion that the supreme court actuallys raised and created in a couple of their decisions since the tan beginning of the last decade. on the clean power plan, it is a pause in terms of the
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implementation and force of the clean power plan.bu the rule is still int effect ang it will add some time to resolve those issues to the courts, but we feel very is confident that une it is going to be born out to be a legal, lawful and necessary law.>> we >> right. not unexpected for you to take that position. >> thank you for listening. i appreciate it. you >> we've got some 31 lawsuits. the attorney generals across the country, those who looked at it disagree. ruleons are what i asked, 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 monies will be spent on backdoor implementation plan plathe clean water or clean power plan. >> actually, what we're trying w to do, sir,e is make sure the , place withect the in the clean water rule issued in 2008 is implemented as well as we can. we are are certainly going to f diffect the decisions of the court, but as i think we have
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heard. there's a lot of differences in those decisions. we are working with the army corps of engineers to make sure we're itch plemting with what's currently in place as best we can. try to avoid some addit ofio th confusions while we hope to bring additional clarity when the clean water rule makes its way through the courts.s. on the clean power plan, we will still continue to work with tol states thats on a voluntary bast want to move forward with us anb will continue to provide tools and but we clearly understand that o the courts will be winding through the process of looking at that t irule. the issue yesterday meant it's going to take a little longer n for that to happen.are ava we will respect that. but in the meantime, we're going to continue to address greenhouse gases under the green house gases that are available to us today. o by
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>> there's disagreement to the authorities that you used to issue those rules were an overreach. i'm a little troubled by that.ut the work that you're doing do, there, are you ignoring usda, i'll give you a softball.ust th i suspect you'll say no, but cad you help us understand that you do, in fact, value the expertiss and the long-standing trust thoe farmers and ranch everies have with usda in this arena. and the distrust that's been created with epa over the other things going on. you condition just separate thea issues in a vacuum. they're not siloed up. farmers and ranchers feel under attack. talk to us about your respect ir for the , iusda and their opini on pesticides. >> i work with secretary vilsack and the usda. we have great respect for that agency, the scientific expertise they bring and their full knowledge of the agriculture community.o
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there are laws that require us,r even before we propose rules to consult with usda and we do that. and then we work very closely with them in the interagency process toelatio resolve differ. i think we have a close, collaborative relationship president appetite. we may disagree, but it's usually about what the law requires us to do. we always tried to understand the science together, and make the appropriate decisions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to focus on this clean power plan a little bit, too. >> the rural electrics get theih power from oklahoma.ose tha we're in minnesota. s minnesota is working withued yog
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guys on whatever they're up to.n i think north dakota is one of those that sued you. well does that mean you're going to work withe minnesota to and cone to develop what plan with minnesota while this is going on? >> well, we'll continue to work innis a voluntary basis.if but nothing will be itch plemted hoile the stay is in place..too, we will always work with every state that does that. it is clearly on hold until it s resolves himself with the courts. there is a 2014 proposal. and then it was finalized.f and in north dakota, you went from 11% to 45%, the biggest increase of any date.ota, well, you know, our rea-owned
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cooperative out there in north dakota, those plants, they did some updates back in 2005 or something, '04. the epa determined that was a p major overall, whatever it was. so you forced them to go under some program to put in scrubbers and a bunch of other stuff. a they sued you.uestio the end result of that was they spent $426 million. my real question is what it did was drop thehe equity in that co-op from 24% down top 12%. are you aware of that? >> not the specific instance of which you're referring, no. >> so they signed an agreement t to gethat financing for $26 miln that you forced them to do. they can't go below a 10% equity
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in that co-op. and if this is implemented, they will be down to 5%. i so they're going to be in violation of the situation withi the usda. are you aware of that? ofis >> well, sir, if you're referring to the application of the clean power plan, is that t what we're talking about here? ion. i know that you were referring to some of the regional decisions. >> more money to comply with your other situation.t w in order to get that money,hat y had to agree not to go below cl%. so now if you implement what the clean power plan says, you're nd going to force him way below a 10%. they don't have the money to do this anymore. do you've already taken all their money and there's no other way in minnesota they won't let them goild a power if plant. so the other thing we can do is get it from canada.'t you know, if you go ahead and we alete this. i was going to ask you today to
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delay this to give us maybe tend years to try to comply with this so we don't go bankrupt. well, but now with this stay, and i we're at t here anymore, but wein fac need more. >> sir, we're more than happy to work with the state. in fact, we have been out there. one of the things we did is extensive outreach on this. there was some concern in some states about whether or not they would internally in that state be able to make things work. we added huge amounts of w flexibility in this and we also engaged usda, the rural utilityo service, to work with us and with the rural co-ops. we understand they have unique h challenges and we are not going to leave them behind. they deal with some of the poorest communities that cannot afford to have energy increases. and so there are a number of programs with we're bringing toh bear, as well as flexibilities that will not require every facility to make investments.
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>> well, for whatever reason, i they seem to think you're not going to havero flexibility and not listen to them. i don't know why. i think some of the power for these plants goes to north dakota but thehegl majority goe minnesota and we're kind of touck in this whole thing.g. i'm glaed to hear that you're will be to work with them, but that's not whatt they've heard. h you know, after they spent that $426, then you went after them th hayes. we were able to get that>> i wil they just feel like they're in o the middle of a whole deal that they're not listened to.h >> i'm happy to personally engage as well. >> i'll send them over to your office and you can deal with them. >> okay, sir. >> mr. keane, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. um over here.. appreciate your testimony and your service here.e.
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good number of things pop-up in our minds or come to our attention. i'm just looking at a few headlines here. sixth circuit puts controversial waters of the united states in the united states on hold. w there's another article that tu addresses the clean air act on bac and as i'm watching this, it seems as though the agency has been pushing back against especially our farmerer produce and our people that care about the value of their productive real estate. emerge i just had a couple of phrases t i've seen emerge from the epa over the years. you're familiar with that phrase. you're also familiar with the phrase, significant nexus. would you have a judgment on which one of those is the most ambiguous? ruleletri >> well, the clean water rule h. actually tries to provide clarity to both of those. the ambiguity arose when the supreme court actually raised these issues and suggested that
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epa needed to resolve these. that's what the clean water rule is all about. >> i'm about clarity, of course, to. with regard to clarity, with the renewable fuel standard, you have taken a position in past rn years. back in 2012 or '13, we had short grain supplies and high grain prices, therefore you rolled back the directive on tha rfs. i'll just focus particularly on iorn-based ethanol for simplicities sake here and madet that judgment administratively, even though the statute require those gallons be more.y of i notice now that we have high e volume, oversupply of grain and dropped s that haveon't about a little more than half since that period of time. a and i don't notice that the same logic is applied when it comes d time to adjust the rfs for current conditions. so if it was a good idea to hen lower the rfs requirement for g corn-based ethanol back with t grain supplies were short and
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prices were high, why would it c also be a good idea to raise it up to the statutory standard when grain prices are low and supplies are high. >> so the renewable fuels standards that we came out with provide us an opportunity to get back on track as well as provide steady growth. the numbers you're looking at here is our assessment with what we have achooeed, attempting full bore to get to the statutory levels recognizing that leaps like this in the shorter time frame is not possible. so we want to achieve those statutory levels. we understand that's what congress intended. but there is a growth that we need to recognize and factors that impact that. >> you're talking about production capacity. >> no, i'm not talking about production capacity. >> then what are you addressingy >> the ability for us to be able to get that fuel into the system.
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>> and that's the blen wall? >> that is correct 37. >> do you believe you have the authority to abolish the blend wall? >> these numbers actually push u through the blend wall.erstand because we understand that we need to do that to continue to investments in infrastructure -m >> that answer is yes. >> you believe they have the administrative authority to do that? to abolish -- g the >> i believe we're doing se le everything that the law says,ve which is to get to these levels as quickly as possible, but yous have to think of l factors like how reasonable it is to achieve these within this certain period of time. >> what about going to e-15.t at do you have the authority to do that? >> we approved >>ctualle-15 in specific vehicles. >> year round? >> yes. a. re so past the blend wall year round. no. vapor pressure environment that restricts it? >> there is a vapor pressure requirement. yes, there is. but we approved the use in the
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vehicles. and it can be used. there are certain places where -- well, i'm practically speaking, i think i should have prefaced my question with that., then also with regard to the testing of fuels, my information epapaat relied oen a chevron consultant to design the test with i'm going to ask you these questions in a written form so you can answer them in a way that's not in a high-test hearing here. there's a stack of questions i would ask you to respond to with regard to testing requirements.d i would just ask you one final question. if you werere -- if you were the administrator of the epa at the time the rfs expires, sun sets the administrative authority tt
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beyond the rfs sunset. >> what are you referring to? >> i'll put that in many i questions, too. the language in the specific statue. forwa i look forward to hearing you. >> mr. costa, five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.>> i w and i want to thank the administrator for being here this morning. in your efforts to help us solve problems, i want to continue tht conversation for a moment on ths renewable fuel standards. obviously there's adversity of opinion as it relates to this s committee and members of the mpe congress on how it's applied and implemented. the 2017 rules are not delayed the way the 2014 rules were? >> i can, sir. alr one of the things we made sure
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was to already propose a 2017 h standarda for biodiesel so we could stay on track. >> for those of us who believe in alternative fuels and renewable fuels, but think that cellulosic fuels are the next generation of this development, can you explain the updated to climate impacts on the renewable fuel standards asas to using foo to produce fuel is the most effective way to do that that, in fact, it doesn't create more pollution issues? >> well, i know there's been a number of looks at this issue and investigations, but my job . as epa administrator is to ha implement theve law that has be given to me. >> which you said is probably
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the most difficult -- >> it's a difficult statute. but it's very clear that cellulosic fuels have not progressed anywhere near what dif which is cipated,ls are one of the reasons why those statutory levels are so difficult to meet. some >> i want to move on to some local issues. as you know, california is very diversified state as it relatesa to agricultural production. the environmental pro-deks agency recently issued a a statement on a risk report ls of indicating that citrus and cotie cotton honey contained higher levels of neo nicatoids than other honeys. because of the diversification of our crops, we're sensitive. po grow almonds in california. it does require bees and we're sensitive to the pollen natiati issues. to why single out two commodities that don't require bees, at least in my state, that, in thai fact, we go out of our way to e accommodate bees because a lot
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of the proximity of these crops are nearby each other.r. enced a colonies have propagated and they're at hugher levels now than the decline we experienced a few years ago.ressman, >> congressman, we've been to al your area of the county before just we understand how hard the almond growers work to not only address the pesticide issues bue certainly to conserve water. we're happy to work more closelb with you.bust. the science is difficult, but it is growing and getting more robust. we think we're following the science in our decisions.>> >> we're going to need more of niur focus on this. the chairman and i last night were in a conversation with somc orange growers and they really h think they're being singled out because of the way in which the. environmental protection agency
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has approached this.and i want to go to the application on pesticides and herbicides and ep a's registration process. for most of us farmers, we live on our farms.with the application of pesticides and herbicides is made with very cautious and cost effective evaluations which were concerned about the health impacts, about the cost economic impacts. you're required to re-evaluate your process on regulations, or registrations every ten but it seems the recent announcement portended for the adoption of precautionary principle, can you comment on is your precautionary principle. do you believe that zero risk is possible? when using application of herbicides and pesticides? >> sir, we do not utilize the precautionary principle.decisi our decisions are based on the . law, which is based on risk.
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>> do you believe zero risk is obtainable? >> it is possible with some, but that's not the way in which our laws require us to look at this. and we do not utilize that. >> there's been court decisions and my time is about to expire a to applications of these pesticides and herbicides have been brought to the cours.s we believe the epa has refused to defend the scientific challenges of e these courts. llenges very serious.s. you're supposed to be the clearinghou clearinghouse. >> we vigorously defend our di decisions in court.d we do that because we believe we vigo the right decision based on science and the law. there are times when even a vigorous defense does not carrya the day in the court and we to abide by those decisions. but in no way, are we backing i off ofn our decisions and the wt
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in which we have always made them, which is based on the lawe that to and we're continuing to apply that and vigorously defend >> i will have more information to follow with the witness. thank you.alaba sa >> i'm sure it's not a surprise to you when we tell you the former constituents are upset b the number of regulations coming out of the epa that negatively a impact them. are you cognizant there are those concerns by american farmers. and is tlig you're are pl plannt address that perspective that you have with their agencya andwa regulations?need t >> yes, i am there is a lot of work we needu to do to establish a stronger relationship with the agricultural community and the h epa. i've been working hard to get farms, moting with every
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rancher and farmer who wants to let down. i'm trying to listen closely and learn. >> are there any fundamental al changes you need toev make or pn to make that would remedy or aleleviate some of those corn certains. >> there are a number of fort voluntaryh programs that are initiating back and forth.eing a we have new advisory groups n being tostarted.her. i think the most important thing is listen to one another and try to identify the path forward we that meets our shared goals. because we certainly share the goals of wanting to protect the environment. >> i agree listening is a good first step but it also means maybe prepare to act. but act in a different way. i'm glad you mentioned voluntare programs. i think we need to es thencoura programs that provide states ae not the epa. thefamily f
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i'm concerned the epa is moving away from programs that have verifiable as a result results and insteadd creates burdensome regular plapgs doo you agree that they're important and an n or effective way to reduce pollution or is the >>epa tryin to overreach their authority. ad >> i believe voluntary programs and technical supportes and ve r funding support from the federal government is an essential way in which we need to move forward and work together. that's the vast majority of our relationship. >> where in the clean act did the congress giveto the epa authority to regulate sustainability of agriculture, nonproduction practices on farm fields? i don't see that precedent on? >> under the clean air act, is that what you said, sir? >> there is -- i do not know whether the word sustainability is written into anyen into law. outcome of engesn understanding that we need to
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understand the life cycle in all of the challenges associated ou with cleanr air and other environments that are being placed on our constituencies, '. including farmers, ranchers and foresters.ur and 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's what susta sustainability is sbentded to make sure, that we'rein thinking about thisin in a common sense holistic way, not a narrow, media by media approach.nder >> we do not regulate sustainability. we do regulate pollutants under the clear air act, one of whicht are greenhouse gases. is f that's whatsupr you'reeme referring to, the supreme court clearly told us that we have toa look at lgreenhouse gases as a
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potential pollutant. and if we found that they were an endangerment then we have to take appropriate action. that's what we're actually doing. >> that's what i'm looking for. could you have someone give me a copy of that court interpretation? i appreciate finally, geo released a legal decision that the epa was f to violating g publicity of that t propaganda and anti-lobbying provisionshes viol contained ino previous appropriations bills. n and your agency, according to them, has been using social media for covert propaganda. what is your side of that?t? >> as you might guess, 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 every day, because that's how we
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do our outreach and education h that's all that they were. disar they found two instances that raised questions for we disagree with their decision, prt we certainly are working with omb to make sure that we have followed every one of theie procedures and we do everything we need to do..> >> i appreciate the work that you put on this. i appreciate the visit you've ha taken to farm country. curious about what you're is hearing out here. but i remain the optimist that , think it's possible to produce food, continue to fuel and feetd the world at the same time addressing real world issues of clean air, clean water and environmental sustainability. i think that's what we're all trying to get at. a statement that comes up often with myan producers out there - and these areto folks committedd this. they don't deny thethese sciencc they understand the importance of it is regulatory humility. >> did you say --
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>> regulatory humility.'ve >> huh. >> just a sense of kind of working with -- i've used the term before, a bit of a bunker mentality about all of these things keep coming down without asking us. and i think mr. rogers was nk m. getting at it, and i agree. in a i'm very proud of the work thish committee did and many of our folks are working on the last farm bill, the conservation piece of it. that was lauded by many as being one of the strongest ever acrosg the spectrum from producers to . ut aronmental groups. and you kind ofre t hinted at i are those working, are those ite making a difference? my attitude is we're farr bettee ahead ifal we can prevent a wih problem than dealing with it afterwards and getting into the courts and everything else that comes with that. are some of those working and maybe you could pick up one of s those that you think is the way to go?king >> i think the conservation efforts are absolutely working and you can see that in if manyd locations. do we need to do more? ertai absolutely. but that is the approach in which ers tepa certainly prefer takes.
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and so i think if i wanted to highlight any, i think it wouldw be in thehich great lakes area, areas in which we are actively supporting conservation supporting conversation efforts and doing that in a way that rea willus help us prevent pollutio into the great lakes, which are causing these harmful algae blooms. there's a collaborative spirit, sou there isrces funding, there is w technicalor resources provided r this. see epa is working every day with usda and the nrcs to see how we can advance their mission asto way to advance our own.hat a i don't need to duplicate it. i need to respect what they do and help support that and identify ways of appropriately e expanding that in areas where we find there are challenges. >> i think that story needs to get out there. this is about helping us reach a common goal. not about telling us. i think that telling us -- skedt
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perceivedhe reality is reality.. >> i know. >> a lot of ittwo sta comes fro. two statements were made. i think your agency stated that three to five approximately, not holding you to that, three to five percent more jurisdictional waters. but we were also told, if you didn't need a permitit before, . won't need one now.can yo you can't both have both those statements, can you?crease i >> you actually can and let me just try to explain it. much the increase in jurisdiction waterre determinations is becau the rule is much more specific o about what is jurisdictional ana what is not.ime so there's not significant amount of time wasted asking in areas where there's no jurisdiction. oh, we well know that from history there's a direct nection hydrologic connection that is rc significant enough to warrant tr protection. co ofmmun the agriculture community, there's no added
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permit burden. >> unequivocally, i can go back to one of my producers and d sas the way you're doing things nown if you are up to standards, nothing changes? >> 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. co >> thank you.d clar and i'm going to segue a littlec bit. because welend mentioned a litt collaboration with usda.we what conversations happened on rfs, if you could, in dealing with -- >> with with ususda? >> yes. >> lots. at every level. >> extensive in all the way through the process? >> it is.d lif in how we look at feed stocks, the lifestyle impactct med,hee numbers we putut in, to what ca be produced, what can be consumed. what can usda do, like advancint of blender pumps, to make sure they can go out there and all the blends be used, we work doi constantly with rfs together.
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>> i appreciate that. and i think the more i know you do it to the best of your ability, make those statements and that humility that we're in thisnk you together -- >> that's a term i'll take to heart as a leave here. >> thank you very much. i yield back.nfortu >> thank you, mr. chairman. i haven't seen a lot of opini regulatory the unfortunately, it's regulatory arrogance. thank you for being here. i appreciate youo being here, sitting in the seat, taking tough questions and your responses. i want to follow up on mr. rogers' question, in response tf the last question on this side, you know, regarding the use of o social media. yes. >> so since the epa disagrees a with thesica regulations they h been confronted with, and the ht
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regulators who were responsiblen cor that were wrong in your m interpretation. so my question is, can my farmers do the same thing? can they? i mean, they disagree with the epa where there's a question of authority as a basis of legislative language, as a basis of a now growing trend in serious numbers of supreme court rulings, do they get the same pass it seems like your agency is choosing to do when your feet is held to the fire under regulations? >> we are not doing anything dg that would skirt the decision e that gao made, their interpretation of the law. our office of general counsel believes they are incorrect in their interpretation, at yo nevertheless, we have -- >> so what you're saying -- so okay -- >> we're working with omb on what the appropriate response ie to that.on and w so they do have their opinion, we will respond appropriately to it, but we have a right to say
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that legally -- >> sounds like my farmers wouldt be better off ifer they had an d army of a government-paid attorneys. that's not may questions, it just happened to come up. many believe the chesapeake bay represents a massive seizure through your agency.ds thr the agencyou is setting the stao forns taking over many if not a land use decisions nationally. in effect, becoming a national zoning board. it's all right devastating farmers, currently on appeal to the supreme court, your agency has defended it, saying that thn states are developing their ownt standards. now let mes readaying to you wh state in the chesap chesapeake watershed, delaware, not my state, wrote of this voluntary procedure in his watershed improvement plans. the state wrote that if the program fails to meet standards
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acceptable to the agency, then,a quote, the epa has identified a set of potential consequences t impose ranging from the evelopi taking over responsible to increasing regulatory oversight, and extending authority to additional sources of pollution. it's articulating that if each state's doesn't meet epa standards, epa can then force its own plan on the states along with punitive actions. my question is, with all of this authority, in what sense was there anythingng voluntary aboug process?ons. your agency directly and anyth indirectly told states what it e wanted, made it clear that there would be consequences to not ce delivering on what it wanted, the standards and the plans it r expected. that is that voluntary? >> well, sir, let me try to answer that question. the chesapeake pay tmdl was an opportunity for a number of states who share a common, both environmental and economic interest in having a healthy he
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chesapeake bay. meet that program allowed them the wt actually meet compliance with reducing the standards necessary to get that healthy again in their own way. >> and it includes water sheds, i love the chesapeake and we're achieving that, but i'm talking about the overreach here. >> but we have never actually ae had to intervene. there's great progress being made through the efforts that each state has been taking. they do care about the t chesapeake and they're making progress.ey'r the questione was asked, what o people don't don t anything. well there's no question tmdls are a regulatory requirement. so there are things that we nee could do if there isn't continued progress if anticipated. we've never had to use that. >> well, ma'am, i would refer eu you to the transcripts of when our subcommittee on conversation, energy, water
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sheds met. and the individual in your of office said it was not a regulation because it was voluntary. it was some of the most imed as a confusing testimony we ever heard because it's being aggressively implemented as a regulatory action. was it's just overreach to the tenth degree. i appreciate your response, but the uncertainty is still there.c chairman yields back. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and . administrator for being here today. i'm going strictly local today. i live on the banks of lake eri inan ohio. lake erie provides drinking water and provides thousands of jobs and contributes over $1 billion to our community. harmful blooms are continuing each year and we are persistently faced with the se
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threat of open dumping of what we believe to be harmful sediment into lake erie. prog despite the great progress made inin reversing past environment damage, we find ourselves locked in an ongoing battle over this seemingly non-controversial issue. the epa plays a critical role in protecting drinking water and the health of our lakes. what are you and your administration doing to ensure the continued growth and recovery of lake erie? >> well, i am familiar with the raise with the army e you corps and i'm a hoping my reco understanding is correct that ue the corps is working with the ct th state and all the constituents to identify ways to stop dredge disposal in western lake erie. but as you also know, we are working very hard through our great lakes initiative to actually ways understand the scr in western lakee erie, understao where the sources of the the n nutrients that areut contributi to those alga blooms are and m e
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supporting it with $11 million of epa's funds to try to help those upstream farms and in agriculture to find ways of that doing -- taking conversation geh efforts andat other voluntary actions that begin to make a real dent in the challenge we're facing in western lake erie. >> well, thank you, but i certainly hope you would check further because it's my understanding at this point that even though a court has decided that it's not appropriate for them to dump the sediment into the open lake, the army corps has decidedbecause they're not e notply with the court order. so it's important to determine dhy andit's why they have not requested the etresources that t necessary to contain the > i'm h sediment, so i would ask that you would check that further. >> i'm happy to do that. >> thank you. urba the growth of urban agriculture is vital to solving the issue of food deserts in many low-incomes neighborhoods, many of the ones that i serve. in cities such as cleveland, la
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historicalco contaminants can pl stall the growthay of these programs. hat roles? is epa playing in ioned ensuring urban land is safe for farming? >> well, one of the efforts that i mentioned early in my oral testimony was the local food, local places efforts. which i think adds enormous opportunities for urban communities that are literally food deserts. and to open up and to planning and to bring federal resources to the table, that is really ho focused on food first.ugh in ur instead of as an afterthought, there's a great change that's happening, i think, in urban areas, understanding the need r for locallyto grown food and thi value that can wo bring for the health but the vitality of the community. so i would really encourage yboy anybody's active participation a inl the local food local place initiative. because that can bring resources, brown field, redevelopment resources to the
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table that would address the soil contamination issues you're identifying. many of those turn into vital places for communities to gather and grow food.those so do not give up in an urban e to grow foodbility and to make that part of the community revitalization efforts that everybody is looking for. >> thank you.ultural and lastly, seasonal n al agricultural run-off is a factog to the growing problem of alga ? blooms on the lake. what steps is epa taking to the pollute in river and stream eatl sediment? things.plele of we've mentioned the great lakes initiative, but i think most importantly that is our collaboration with usda, as well asasin our looking at areas of concern in the great lakes, where we know we have significant sediment and water contamination. so it has to be a combination of all of those efforts. it's not just about stopping io. what might continue to be comin
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in, but it's looking at the hott spots, if you will, so that we a can continue to make progress. which we have made tremendous progress on, but that's one of the three areas that the great lakes initiative is focusing on akes in the coming years. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, ik. yield back. >> five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing. commissioner mccarthy, in my area, the prez eps of herbicide resistant -- >> where are you? i'm sorry. i can't see you. oh, thank you. this layered looka hard for me. >>. >> i even got in a taller chair so you could see me. the prevalence of herbicide resistant pig weed is a major problem. with everything else that's going on in the cotton industry right now, fighting this pig weed problem is the last thing they need and it's becoming one of the greatest costs for many producers. usda has approved die kamba and 24-d for use on cotton varieties
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with herbicide tolerant traits. epa is the sole hold-up in getting this technology out to our producers. can you give the committee any update on where things stand at epa and what is the continued hold-up by epa?>> >> is this the dikeam ba? yeah, in early 2016, we proposed for public comment and w tha regulatory decision on tdikeam n for the exact reasons you're talking about. we know that there's significant workrest in this. there pz been tremendous work on the science side. after the comment period, we'reo going to review those comments and continue how the agency can move to a final, so that we can get this done and over the finish line. >> could you kinda give me some encouraging timeline here so that folks could look forward to? >> sir, we're>> si working as ht we can.we ca we'll get it done as soon as we can. if you'd like me to reach back
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to you after the hearing, i can get more details on where we might be. >> that would be helpful. r enlist duo also ran into trouble with pa depa's decision request court remand decision back for s further review. 1st t the only the first time ever epa has attempted to vacate a pesticide registration through a current action. epa is required to comply with a number of procedural safeguards before a pesticide registration can be canceled, which it has failed to do. what was the agency's rationale for asking the court to require epa to review the registration of a product so recently approved for use, and why is the agency now trying to use the courts as a means of regulationt >> actually, we weren't really trying to do that, sir. the 24-d decision we made on duy was a controversial one as you c may know, but we followed the science and we followed the lawf
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the awkward situation we found ourselves in, after the decision was made, while it was being challenged in court by those wt that hdisagreed with our registration, we identified information that the that manufacturer had put out in other public venues that raiseda concern, that we did not have the full science data, to make the decision in the most solid way we could. and actually address what might be synergistic effects. so instead of waiting for the tourt to tell us that we had failed in our science decision, we wanted an ability to take that back to work with dow to get additional information to y address the what issue and to mt forward again. which is exactly what we're doing. we're actually working with dow neout what this science is that theyed put out in other venues, what data did they have, what data might we need to actually b redo this decision in a way that
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we think will be legally solid and respectful of the full range of science. >> now, i think some of the question that you've not did followed the law procedurally on this, do you believe you have? >> we do. and we think we actually did itm in a wayuc that will get to a decision much more quickly. the challenge is that dow did not give uss the full range of at was data, and we found it in another venue that was publicly available. so when we found that out, we worked with dow and we sys have system to move forward to respect the full range of science that we're required to look at. >> i'm always interested in time lines, and you said quickly. i've learned quickly in west texas and>> quickly in washingt, d.c. don'td necessarily have thi same meaning.he sam >> we actually -- i think -- i . will double-check when i go back, but i'm pretty sure that we've already received a lot of wee information that we've asked
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dow to do, on 24-dh so we don't think there's going to be a significant delay in the reconsideration of this and moving it forward. >> on those two issues, >> administrator, if you could d hv maybe have youre folks kinda gii me a timeline so that i can report back to the folks -- cotton folks. >> i'm more than happy to do that. >> with that, chairman, i yield back. >> mr. aguilar, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.i will thank you, a administrator for being here. i too will ask a little bit of a local question if you don't mind. i represent the community of san bernardino that has been in the news recently obviously for some terrible acts. while climate change affects us all, this is incredibly personal for me and the community that ia represent. i can recall smog days growing up where wewe weren't allowed outside because of the air quality levels. and this is particularly cularl important because our community th base of a mountain
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range that captures smog and aie quality issues that mostly generate from out of the area and blow in with the trade reat winds. i believe the national ambient air quality standards are a great benchmark for communities to strive for in order to improve pollution levels. however, san bernardino has been in the unique predicament due tn the fact that the smog from lost angeles alsohe contributes to t pollution in our region. that are there resources and tools that the epa can offer san bernardino county as it continues to work toward a management plan to improve air quality? if not, does epa plan to not, provide any sort of regulatory ? thlief, or as mr. ru&7walls' c, regulatory humility for counties and areas that>> let are not in compliance? >> let me begin by expressing my sympathies. >> thank you. >> to you and to those in your community. the national ambient air quality standards rightfully established
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by law held standards that we ive fo allr. strive for.rnia's c we well recognize that california is challenged in meeting those. and there have been some unique tools developed that we've had the authority to manage that have provided direct assistance for newve technologies and othes efforts to support the state's aggressive effort at looking at these areas. there's also tools built into the law itself. so that if you have a difficulto challenge, you can't meet it, ea provides additional time and opportunity to get thatch done.l and part of the value of the e d state planning process and the -- really the aggressive and maybe aggressive isn't the word, but the collaborative process, the outreach that region 9 doese gr its secommunities, to try to work with themea hand in hand t address these challenges is really of great value. so i'm more than happy to make sure that folks come and sit down and see if there are particular issues of support that your community may need to
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build into a state plan that would help you achieve these standards closely -- quickly. but i want to just reinforce the fact that the law does not, norr doeseq epa ever require more th can be done. you know, we know that there are transport challenges and there are unique geographic challengeh that california opefaces. so while we hope to continue tos make progress, we understand that that will take time, and in will take a collaboration, and wh will take new technologies to advance this. from and whatever is coming in from . other communities is going to it -- have to be a collaborative multi community effort. >> sure, we just want to make sure that's part of the discussion, and there has been discussion and some flexibility in the past. we just want to make sure nd if that -- >> we will c keep that up. >> -- that those standards are still in place. and if we could follow up with . your staff to have a little bitl ofd a deeper dive, that would b
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very helpful to my office. with that, i yield back.ation, >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator, thank you for being here. i want to start out for clarification, my colleague miss fudge from ohio on the lake erie issue, there's two separate issues. the alga blooms and the it' dredging. t the issue ofo the cleveland por issue is a dredging issue, about pcbs and the state of ohio and the ohio epa has sued the army corps of engineers over this issue. your agency has been silent on this issue. so i want to bring that to yourr attention. that's twoue separates. issues . lake erie. i do want to talk about in yourn testimony you talk about large united states rule. i agreeg withre youe on one aspc of it. farmers want clean water and drink clean water. we agree on that., but my concern is, and i think it's evident by what happened. l within 24e hours when you filed
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the final rule on the federal register, nearly 30 states filed a lawsuit, now it's around 32 states, filed a lawsuit, and numerous organizations and entities are against this. is and so it's clear that there's e concern about this and it erodes their states' rights. they made clear when the clean e water act was passed, it was supposed to be a partnership ts between the feds and the state. now you made a statement here to one of the questions -- answer to one of the questions. you insinuated that if the rule had to be extended to include more waters, those waters were regulated. you're insinuating that the aren't regulating water. i can't dump my hog manure anywhere. waters are being regulated in that partnership agreement, and you agree with that, correct?
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>> in many states. >> but you do insinuate that. >> well, it wasn't intended sir. we'reing partners with the statn this effort, but you're primarily responsible. >> i also have a concern, it's going torisk require more permi army corps of engineers and inefficiencies. but i think we risk the potential to go backwards in the progress we've made since 1972 v in water quality andir protecti the environment in this pecount. because when you add on so mucht more red tape and bureaucracy, people at some point throw their hands up in the air and say, i might not have gone the extra route i might have done, i'm going to do just enough to get by and i'm not going to do it because this is a bunch of aon-sense and red tape and the bureaucrats go crazy on them. so i want you to be aware of that fact, that this rule could make us go backwards and we're eroding that partnership agreement that was set up in 1972 with the states. when over 30 states have sued
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you over there, you ought to pay attention to that. to and i want to talk about the d v inspector general report that said thatbias the epa used cove propaganda to bias andñ period. so i think i know some of the people are poo-pooing this and it's not a big deal. i think it's a big deal because it goes to the integrity of thee whole comment period process.ito it's there so the stakeholders w can put their comments, and it's up to the regulators to make thegene best rule that works and protect the environment. here you have the inspector general gao coming out, saying s you broke the law.te t and goes to the integrity of the system. so what has the epa done under the anti-deficiency act -- ort [ indiscernible ] assit you reported to us, what resources were expended, on
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these illegal activities, monetary and fuel time to m equivalents. what internal action has beene taken by your office to make sure this doesn't happen again and has any internal action been taken to punish the people thatn broke the law in this case? i'll let you answer those b questions. >> i think, mesir, you know, t i don't think folks in the agency broke the law, but let me answer directly. we're working with omb. there's a draft letter at omb td make sure that we are followingp our obligationsro under the lawo respond appropriately to gao. i think the word propaganda is always construed as something os horrible. the propaganda that they were referring to was not that we u. lobbied congress. it was not that we -- >> no, you were lobbying us, because you were trying to educate them that this was what you guys want.>> wa you were proponents of this anda now you gott the states suing yu over it. wake up. >> the propaganda issue was thaa we used a system that omb say
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approves under their guidelines which was basically a general message, saying, i really care about clean water. and gao was worried that when other people retweeted that, te they didn'td identify it as a >> did you use a system called thunder clad that can be traced back to the people putting it out? >> i'm sorry? >edia power of social media,d thunder clad -- >> that was the social media. >> and that can't be traced back to the people putting it out, is that true?>> n >> no, what happened is, we puti it out, other people retweeted it. when they retweeted it, gao ther thought m that it wasn't their message, it was epa's message and we didn't properly identify it as such. that's what they said. but it was a general message, i like clean water. the other was a blog that had a hyperlink where we referenced ai really cool d program that the o was doing and they were worried about that. >> it's an oversight. the gao said you broke the law.t >> we will pay attention to what gao said and we have a letter in
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the process to meet all obligations, but we just disagree it was a problem. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mrs. adams? >> thank you, mr. chair and coe madam administrator, thank you very much for being here.overre while many are concerned about s federal overreach and environmental management, actions by the state of north inn tens of lted thousands of tons of coal ash spilling into the dan river in 2013 and the state refused to use its own authority to enforce proper maintenance and the relocation of coal ash ponds at high-risk of spilling into public drinking water. uph administrator mccarthy, it's important that we, together, defend and uphold the epa's final rule on the disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities. epa's final rule on coal ash
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disposal can only be enforced by states or by a citizen that sues a company or a state that violates the regulation. it is for this reason that i'm drafting legislation to strengthen protection and enforcement of rural water sources which would provide communities across the nation that the citizens in north z carolina nowens i enjoy.arent specifically, the bill would moi require coal ash pondtori ownerd operators to be transparent in their surveying of the quality of water in our communities. the bill mirrors laws that have already been passed by the north carolina general assembly. my question is, given the continuing threats of coal ash disposal, what is epa doing to assess and prevent drinking ri water contamination and the risk of catastrophic collapse? >> well, as you know, we take st this issue very seriouslyers ast well.
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certainly there's been disaster. that we need to make sure don't get repeated. co alknow, we just recently finalized a coal ash rule. that looks at two things. one is the structural stability of those units, so that we can stabl make suree that they're stable and they're being properly inspected, and if necessary, ra repaired. make sure that ground water is protected. and actually cleaned up. and that rule has requirements for both of those efforts.hat and we have information on the web so that people can see that it is -- see what's being done and what we've identified in terms of our assessment of that structural integrity so that information can be available to the surrounding communities.n c co thank an byou. will epa provide technical assistance to low-income and minority communities so they're aware of and can understand the information about coal ash dumps that utilities are beginning toe disclose? >> congresswoman, yo this is thf
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first time i'm aware that you're contemplating this type of to legislation. we're happy to workport with yo language around that and talk about what authorities the agency might have to support enr this effort even in advance of t that legislation moving forward. >> all right, thank you. claims the center for public integrity found that your civil rights office has dismissed nine out of every ten claims by communitiesf alleging environmental disdiscrimination and has never issued a formal finding of a tholation of a title 6 violation. given this poor performance record of epa's office of civil rights, do you have any thoughtn about why epa hasn't ever made a finding of discrimination under this title? erstanwell, i think it's easy ft that record to understand that g the agency has faced challenges in dealing with title 6 complaints. one of the things i've done since coming here is to try to aggressively tackle that issue. we're really committed to
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building a model civil rights a program, particularly how we handle these. in the last two years, we have n new leadershipag in our office. we've developed a strategy to manage that docket of complaintt more effectively. our e we just this fall released our external compliance strategic plan, a new civil rights tool kit. so we are doingdo whatesn' we n do to get up to speed, but that doesn't mean we don't have a history that we need to acknowledge and use that historl to inform how we can be a model agency moving forward, and we're trying very hard to make sure that we do that. >> i certainly hope it improves. it's not very impressive right now. but thank you very much for your comments. mr. chair, i yield back. >> five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ba ma'am, thank you for being here. i want to go back to what the gentleman from texas was talking about about the dikeam ba and b
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the 24-d issue. there's been several things that have been approved by the usda for months and farmers start tae itanting cotton in his state in march, in my state it's more in april, but it takes time to gett the chemicalshe produced and through the distribution network and to the farm. if y'all take much longer, quite honestly, they're not going to be available for b us thiseeava. so i appreciate your commitment to help the farmer. i hope that we'll see you act ov these pending registrations sooner rather than later. i think that's one of the breakdowns that we have between the government and the public en is t -- and the farmer, it seem that the people in the agencies have no idea when farmers even plant their crops. and what the agencies are doing to the cost of those crops. can you tell me what cotton's
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trading for? >> no, i can't, sir. no. >> it's below the cost of t is production b right now.e mine and so are a lot of the other commodities. so when you take an area like mine, that produces a tremendous amount of cotton every year, ane cotton is below the cost of production, you would typicallyi look to other a commodities but they're also below the cost of production. i appreciate your comment that you're trying to help the farmer and the farm, but the er being government's getting in the way of the farmer being able to survive through these tough economic times. and things like approving these chemicals sooner rather than later, would at least help us nw determine what crop we can plant. and i want to go to the ne-yo nick issue now and i understand the value of pollinators, without bees you'd lose the
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majority of food in the world. but there are -- there are situations with a pollinator and the preliminary risk assessment and specifically cotton, which i was talking about earlier as a self-pollinating crop, and it doesn't require bees.s. so did thee epa take that into d account as part of its assessment with pollinators, that cotton does not require bees for pollination? >> i think i'll have to go back, sir. are we talking about -- which chemical are we talking about in particular? >> the ne-yo nicks as a whole, the whole clad.mical a >> oh, certainly. we certainly are.>> we we are not making broad-based decisions. we're looking at each of them. the decisions we're proposing have been very specific, look at being specific to the crop as well as the time of year and what we can do to both protect the bee as colonys as well as m sure that these are available when they're appropriately used.
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>> fair enough. i'll take that as a commitment i that you'll continue totmen woro withrk the industry. >> we will.agenc >> i appreciate that. are you familiar with the for agency's rule on greenhouse gases and -- >> yes. >> would you agree also that congress has excluded non-road vehicles that are used solely for competition from epa regulatory reach? >> ooh. i believe that that is the cases but i'm not as familiar with i am my standard rule-making process -- ongoing rule-making process. >> fair enough. according to the epa website, congress did -- >> i believe e thinso. >> it's one of the things -- we talk a lot about the things that we told you to do, but there are onso things we told the epa you do not have the authority to do, one of those, i agree with you,
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you don't have the authority to regulate competition vehicles. i'm concerned about the fact that in this 629 page rule that's supposed to deal with ct greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy-duty engines, that in the -- kind of the catch-all provision, that the rule has attempted to bring back in to regulation competition vehicles. and i -- i agree with you 100% that you don't have the authority to do that. and so i appreciate you telling me that you -- he pro >> well, let me get back to you. i'm sure if that was part of the proposal we've received a lot of comments on it. i'm happy to close the loop with you on it. we certainly have not finalized that rule. we're considering all the
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comments. but if you think that there was a disconnect, i'm happy to connect with you on it d individually if you'd like. h with you, that congress specifically said you don't have the authority to regulate competition vehicles and ma'am, i appreciate yourre e time andst verycan it's just kis very disconcerting as an american to see that in 40,000 pages of rules and regs that we have an agency that would put something in a heavy-duty vehicle rule that deals with race cars. >> the chairman's time is good expired. >> miss g, plaskett. want >> thank you, mr. chair.irg i wantedin to i talk with you ai the virgin islands, very, very much has a relation with epa because of our complete surrounding by water and our land and our sea are our greatest resource, both for our farmers as well as for all of the industries that we take up.
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several years ago, though, the virgin islands was devastated by the closure of our oil refinerys and that oil refinery meant that we lost millions -- hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and hundreds of millions more im lost economic activity. just t recently, however, the facility was. in a bankruptcy sale. and a private equity firm has elected to purchase it, and that may lead to the restoration of n more activity on the island. however, there's a concern that we have with regard to the epa e and the potential of the epa asking that the government of the virgin islands be a co-permittee on his resource conversation and recovery act permit. these permits were originally put outand again, for hoventa 1999. during the renewals of those permits had the virgin islands government be included
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in it. the virgin islands government owns -- doesn't even make up 5% of the land in this area. we were, by an act of congress, entrusted, given title to the submerged lands, to be entrustee for the citizens and at no times has the virgin islands ever elected to operate a refinery, h use theo ldfacility, but is rea holding those submerged lands in trustee. now i understand that hovents is no longer the owner, but there's real concern that we have with region 2 taking the position that the virgin islands' government must be included as a co-permittee. it's our belief that region 2's position is based on an overly expansive interpretation of rickra and is an unjustified fm departure from its long-standing agency policy. i'm sure my colleagues here would see this could be a problem if this takes precedent in that, you know, you have your state and local governments,
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by epa be forced to become a co-permittee on out hazardous waste areas back home in their own regions. and so we have really been reaching out to epa and thrticularly in region 2, to see how we can resolve this.ware. i'm not sure if you were aware of this. ins i wanted to bring this to your attention. are you aware of any instance thatat epa has forced a state o territory to become a rickra e permit -- be on aland rickra pe based on its owning 5, 10% of the land that a facility has? >> i do not know all the reiquenesses of this situation. but it is certainly my understanding that the region has taken a legal position that because the part of the land in which the facility is located is
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u.s. virgin islands land, that there is a connection, and they hether have been on the permit. now, having just learned this, i can't tell you whether we've done this before, whether i a there's unique trust responsibilities that we're not looking at. so i'm more than willing to go back and look at the region. but it is very clear that rickra has brought in communities, municipalities and states into the recra responsibility system, even though they're innocent land holders and that's respected in the process, but they become part of the permit and the process moving forward. >> well, it seems to me to be unclear why you would have an original permit in 1999, renewals of that same permit when another owner was operating the facility. our ownership has not expanded at any point in this. we've always had the same 5% of those submerged lands, that this
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body, congress, put on the government of the virgin islands to hold in trust for its citizens. and now seemingly, when there's no title holder anymore, because hovents has gone into bankruptcy, the epa, region 2 has decided that the virgin islands government must take on responsibility for hazardous waste and activities that the facility owners were operating. i mean, what more can a territory take on? what more than a government that's already bankrupt take on its back? now you have the owner hovents leaving, purchasing by another entity and the federal government, the agency is forcing us to take responsibility, possibly liability for hazardous activity that a private owner had on 95% of that land. it just seems an expansion, because there isn't a private owner anymore, to hold to responsibility, to put it on the backs of a local government that
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can do nothing but say, please don't't do this to us.a >> this seems like a very uniqu circumstance. i would suggest that wea follow up with this conversation, and it is not a decision that -- or an interpretation that i've been engaged in.hairm so why don't we do that. >> i would appreciate that so very much. >> all right. >> thank you, mr. chairman. recognize the gentleman from arkansas, mr. crawford for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, administrator mccarthy. i--sed, know this has been add to some extent, but i think we c can take a deeper dive on this issue with the grassroots campaign effort that took place in your agency, specifically prohibited by title 18 of the th u.s. criminal code, and i don'tl we've gotten a satisfactory answer. have you or your legal department made efforts before r this -- before the grassroots campaign was undertaken, to ensure the epa staff was bited familiar with the kind of ually
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activity that'swi prohibited unr the anti-lobbying act?io >> we actually were following omb guidelines -- >> prior to? >> yes. >> okay. so that's even worse. if they've received training in anti-lobbying act and then engaged in lobbying?line >> we believe we actually th followed those guidelines. >> at owell, i think the gao disagrees with whether or not there's -- thered can be an intent proven, the c subterfuge and the optics of isv what took place there are certainly worth considering. i think that there's some , w valuable lessons here in the gao's findings, not the least of which is that the administratio and your agency is willing to g so far as breaking u.s. criminal code to push an g we already knew you were willin to go to great lengths to push that agenda, but this brings itc into a completely different perspective. secondly, it tells us these actions set a danger for futurei
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rule-making. so you've o compromised the fute of rule-making. excuse me, i'm on my time. in the age of social media and electronic communications, it'su deeply troubling thatsethe agen are willing to use these turns to sub vert the concerns of theh public and drown out oppositionk to your own views. it's obvious you were trumpeting your own views and not taking into consideration the public's views when it's a public i rule-making comment period. afta so i don't know how after all ra thoseki revelations were made, e epa actually took into account all views by affected lders o stakeholders, or were you just r concerned about the views of t a your political allies? it appears to me that was the case. >> sir, the gao never indicatedd that we a referenced a particu rule-making. they never indicated that we said anything incorrect. they had one concern relative to anti-lobbying, which was a rea hyperlink to a program that we a
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werel touting as being really o good. one blog fromt o one individualr the agency, out of thousands, was done, and it referenced a hyperlink, and they could not g back and prove or disprove i whether or not that ty ngo at s other place in their web page may have had an abilityo for o. people toto contact congress one other related issues or this one. so it was -- we are certainly do sensitive to thef fact that tha hyperlink referenced an outsidea of epa website. there are other agencies that flagged that.n we're considering and working yl with omb on what we can do, buto if you look at this, there was r no intent and thereen was no lobbying on behalf -- on the e part of the agency or a reference. >> i think we can take this as an example and validation of th fact that the rule-making sed thocess isbe deeply flawed and needs to be addressed.e because this kind ofbe stuff toa is not reflective of the f
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opportunity that should beolder granted to the affected stakeholders. let me switch gears with you s just quickly in the time iju ha remaining. i was just told yesterday that the farmer epa took action against a ng t farmero who didn't comply with rules on farm fuel storage by failing to have a plan for his oil storage tank that was 5,000a gallons in size. but the 2014 worda said that epa can only control storage for tanks in excess of 6,000 gallons. until epa completes its study and a new rule-making process is undertaken, my understanding is that the study is complete, thrh which recommends a lower exemption threshold, but the dil rule-making is still not finished. so why the epa taking enforcement action against individuals who are not outiolao compliance? and isn't thatit a violation of the law? >> sir, i'm happy to look into it, and get back to you, if it f just happened amyesterday, i'm c familiar with it. >> is that kind of thing a ? regular practice by the agency? >> i think we've been doing a ba
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iery good job on the spcc rules. many of them, because of changes in threshold, like 96% of them are no longer impacted by this rule. of those 4%, 97% self-certify. so we're doing pretty good. >> do epa agents take complianck actions like this because they co aren't willings to fight because itto costs the more in legal costs than succumw to the epa pressure?is am i off base in suggesting that? >> i don't know why you are pe suggesting that, if that's yourg point of view, you can have it. >> that's the opinion of the people in my district. i yield back. >> mr. scott, five minutes. y >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, miss mccarthy, i think that you and the epa have drastically man handled and
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violated the rights of our farmers. especially dealing with this no water issue. you did break the law.s. you did break the law.inanci now, let me tell you, miss iatio mccarthy, inns section 15 of th financial services and general r government appropriations act, it expressly prohibits you from lobbying in support or in opposition to pending legislation, or rule. further, not only there did youh break the elaw, 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. t you broke the law. it needs to be admitted. it needs to be recognized.
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and furthermore, you spent l re taxpayers' money in the lobbying. and the gao reports it's $64,610 that you spent in lobbying from february 2014 to 2015. now, let's come clean with this. so we can correct this. there's no way you'reco goingrry correct this if you don't realize that you've drastically overstepped here. and let's get that cleaned up. now, why -- you know, the other part that really gets in my kras is this. i was born on a farm, grew up on a farm. and there is a reason why he farmers go and develop ditches a and ponds and wells, and they're
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man-made. because that's an insurance felicy for the drought. our animals still have to be fed, they have to drink. there are many times when it won't rain for four, five, six weeks. and that'shave th why we have t. the other point is, this is the farmers' private property. and it's not nafigable waters.wn it's there for the purpose of being able to give us protectioa when that rain won't come. my little farm was a tobacco to farm. and whentha you put the tobacco you goin to the tobacco beds, you've got to put the plant in and you've got to have the water right there to go in with the plant. peppose it doesn't rain. now, that's on that farmer's h property. hed shouldn't no be permitted f his own and then he shouldn't be fined .
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so you got toto pay -- the farm got to pay for a permit on his own property for a puddle of water, or a ditch, or a pond ord a well, that they made f themselves, so that they could able to have that insurance f in the rainy day. lobby and then to violate all of that, the law itself, to go and lobby and spend taxpayers' money on it, that is a damnable thing tof do to our farmers, who are facee with so many other challenges. the epa needs to reject this rule, recognize and admit that it broke the law, and then movem to correct and say this will inl never happen yagain. now, finally, in my last secondw i don't want to go over time, but i want to raise this issue for our cotton folks.
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on this, the clor pie i guess a better wayn of sayin that is lores ban.n a we need this for our cotton on producers and pecan as been said before, with the chairman and others, our cotton people are going through a very rious time economically andnd they don't need a doubt of whether or not they can use this pesticide. so will you please make sure wer use that and hopefully put thi business aside for the water rule and let's move forward andr let these farmers have some peace of mind. >> thank you for your passion, sir. >> chairman yields back. >> thank you, mr. hr misse mccarthy, thank you for bt being here today. one follow-up on mr. scott's question. he pointed out that gao dera determined that youl violated an federal da?law.
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who was in charge of the covert propaganda and the grass root lobbying? who was the person in charge of that? >> it's just part ofeducat our outreach and education. there was no covert propaganda and there was no toe so there was nobody over thatom particular outreach, nobody in t charge of that that you're aware of? >> we have communications folks -- >> who is thee head of that?o g who is responsible for that?, >> i'd have to go back and look at the exact time. but we have actually a large n education and outreach group, but none of>> that -- >> nobody was punished for it, right? >> we don't believedon that we o anything wrong. >> ipromot understand theed pers that's over it ise promoted and working for the white house. but that's beside the point.o me in your response to the chairman, you made it sound like congress is imploring you to move forward with this wotus. where did the idea for wotus come from and basically who was in charge of drafting this package? >> actually -- wotus or the clean water rule was -- came hat
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because the supreme court told us that wewe needed to make andd improvements to the law based oo science. th weat s needed to prove a connec. we needed to do a better job -- >> it wasn't congress, like you said in your opening statement. it wasn't us. >> no, it actually was followed up by -- congress asked us to take action to address concerns. individual stakeholders, membert of the air community, absolutel people were looking for us to dl a better job than the 2008 or us guidance and to respond to the concerns and criticisms that the -- >> but you went around congress disaused a rule-making process, correct? >> no, sir. we were asked to dohou at rule-making process for clarification. whether you disagree with that rule or not is fine, but epa didn't generate this on its own. >> what is the cost going to be to implement this rule?nefit >> it's actually a net benefit of something in the order of 18 million. >> a benefit not aion up cost? because i've heard costs of 180 million up to 500 million, which
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that would change the way the nd rule-maki rule-making process works, correct? if the cost is -- >> u can'no,ress tthe 1actualln threshold means we go through process, which do.. we did. >> do you know howard shell an ski? >> yes, i do. >> have you worked with him on this? i did. >> do you know why wewhic won'te yhe documents we've been asking for since march 2015? a >> i'm not aware of what you'red referring -- >> weve had a hearing about the fact that it was a major rule ee ard we've been asking and had to now now subpoena these documenty for over a year.nversati you don't know why they're ignoring our requests?tive i >> i don't know. >> you've not had any -- conversations with him?erring >> no, sir. >> is this drektded more from the white house? >> what directive are you -- >> the wotus ruling itself. it's certainly not from rts congress. >> i just explained to youu where the impetus came from.
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>> and the courts have blocked this, correct? the implementation? >> it is being litigated in oneg district court and it's now wih the sixth circuit where they'ret looking at whether or not the district court has jurisdiction. they do, but you're absolutely d right, we are now stayed in terms of implementation until the court issues are resolved. >> well, youlik act like you'rew doing us a efavor, but we have 1 states and many alr agriculture, organizations filing lawsuits so you don't think maybe there ought to be a reasot for pause, scrap this thing, gom back to the drawing board and do it right? did >> we'll hear from the courts as to whether we thehe met the legal test do in terms of its merits. >> so why did the epa decide it was necessarycl to do this? >> because of the lack of clarity in the inconsistency inu the unfairness of the current process. >> okay, but under the clean ert waterha act, you were restricte to nafigable waters.n
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mr. scott talkedavigab about fa ponds, that stock drink out of b it, is that nafigable water?nal >> the nafigable water, the d supreme court has told us that i goes well beyond what we would p think of ashy nafigable and we have to then protect water that have the ability to impact the - biological, physical, and chemical integrity of nafigable waters. it doesn't respond to ditches on farmlands. we've done a really, i think, good job if you look at the clean water rule to make sure that we're clarifyingword the w ditch. that's in the clean water rule, not in -- ter >> it would take another ten mk minutes for you toe describe cre what's a ditch and nowhat's noh ditch. but america'se numbe frustrated big government. bit, that's the number one issue, the overreach of federal agencies.> so i would you withdraw a little bit, take your time.ou >> the gentleman's time is on expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, as you're aware on
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august 5th, 2015, epa team that was investigating the stewat contamination at the gold king mine in colorado accidentally , released three million gallons water into the animus river which flowed into the san juan river, which is in new mexico, part of it, and lake powell. and i think that you actually estimated that in that s of m accidental release, there were 880,000 pounds of metal that wa. deposited into the animus river, as a result of the release. now, while the initial plume dissipated within several days, i want to alert you, i think yoe may already be aware that there remain very serious concerns about the long-term impacts, both environmentally and for public mehealth. and i am aware that both the ly state of new mexico, through cei primarily their environment nl d
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department, but certainly in my communications with the governov and the navajo nation and its president, that they have real concerns over proposed one-year epa monitoring plan, which doesn't do anything about monitoring ground water, plants, crops, wildlife, and certainly doesn't take into consideration continued run-off. i hope we don't have it too a p soon, but a spring run-off.agai which means that all that co sediment gets moved n and so i would agree that the state is correct in assessing that there needs to be a long-term monitoring impact, that there ought to be a plan a that involves their independenti review. they're there. they're familiar. they're aware.nd which i realize is difficult, you know, 20/20 hindsight, we all wish we had that. you want that expertise, so you don't have these kinds of issues, you don't have these kinds of accidents and that yout that may hinformation
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not be accurate or really relevant to the area in which you are testing. can you talk to me about your conversations with the state of new mexico and thetaining them s and whether you're entertaininga to support them and fund them at and give them the resources to assure that the public health on the citizens of that state are u protected? >> f diffwell, we're certainly to do just that.a in a couple of different we know a lot of those states ni and the tribes that were expenss impacted by this spill, 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 bt monitoring hprogram, and a n't long-term jone, that doesn't ju look at the area of the spill, but does a much broader look at the watershed in general, and how we can not just do that witi epa scientists, but they can be
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engaged because they have scientific expertise and the universities in your area have great scientific expertise.that epa has identified funding for that and we're going to work with them to make sure we do the monitoring that's necessary -- >> great. because i think that robust . partnership will bring about credibility. i can't agree with youout more about that t toexpertise, which leads me to the second question i want to ask, which is related to the ms-4 watershed permits in the middle rio grande.e midd it's a completely separate issue. it includes 15 jurisdictions. the middle rio grande area is tr one of three in the country thap were chosen to pilot a regionalo watershed approach, andn it's te only region in the western prob united states to participate.atl and the problem is, as you're looking at all of these water ee issues, for clean water, related activities, you're including
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requirements that are developede for easternrtise climates. and i don't think that we're using the right expertise, and d will tell you that everyone in these affected jurisdictions is really struggling in their relationship with you, because they -- the aspects of the t w permit do not make sense in arid environments. and that quite frankly conflict with all of our state water law and many of our federal water x law a compacts.n su storm watergg regulations need have the flexibility to make sure that local managers can suggest alternatives that make sense for an arid region. are you aware that we are having these conflicts and do you see a way for us to have much more c flexibility, so wean do meet yol overall goals and are participating productively, but we can do it correctly? >> well, all of our water int programs, by law, and by intent, is a partnership between epa and the states. i did not know that there weresa concerns that have beenve raise
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that have not yet been resolvedb in thesee r discussions and the 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. >> well, i'm out of time, mr. chairman. >>ank you for your patience and we'll work with you to get this resolved. >> the lady's time is expired. e mr. gibson, five minutes.. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ma'am, i represent parts of f w upstate new york, 11 counties, a 162 towns. among those, the town of worki hughesic, and we have a village there. there are hard-working good folks. and these are really challengino times for huzic falls due to a chemical that's been detected. we haven'trbo had potable water the falls for over six we w weea
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we're working on that. we havee a carbon filtration process we think in six weeks we'll have potable water. we're now monitoring blood erene levels of the citizens and of i beginning the longde process of comprehensive health asked and r we're soon to begin the process of identifying the source of contamination and ultimately identifying an aqua for that wee can be confident in going forward. in march of 2015 we contacted the epa and the response then th was that foa was an unregulatede chemical and it did not pose a health risk. ca at the end of the year, specifically, the 17th of december, epa came out with a statement and said that the water is not potable and furthermore, that it posed a a i risk to health. how and so, my question is, how do h you go about making this determination, and what changed
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from march to december? and before you answer that, you know, in my research, as i've i worked on this, i have come to h find outer that there are many n unregulated chemicals. i think we need a method. we're going to have to have a method that we then, you know, go through all these unregulated chemicals and have aere way pr hopefully with analytics and automation, where we can compress and go through all the health data so that we can come to these determinations. because i can tell you, my swer. people, they're hurting and w, they're very disappointed. and we'reeconcer looking for an. know, i share your dress concerns and your interest in finding ways in which we can more effectively and quickly rii address these newnt chemicals tt are entering into some of our water systems, and we're finding across the country. now, i believe that our region has been pretty aggressive in horking with the community and i want to thank you and the
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community for how quickly people have been reacting to this ottle situation, getting bottled wate. out, getting a new carbon system in. che epa has been trying very hard to keep up with new chemicals that we're finding, to do the scienc. behind that. there is a systematic process to do that. that's written into the law and thereco rules about recommendin first, identifying, going bl through a listing processic than public, before you can regulateo and actually working with theca states and local communities to adopt those regulations. >> so, ma'am, just so i understand, i'm hearing you. so is that the answer to my question -- th's that's the preface of how difficult it is and why now i ia agree with you thatnd we need t do better. we are looking at more automation in how we do the but sciencece around this, but frankly, if congress would continue their push that they'r, on, on reupping the toxic w substances control act, we'd n h have more ability to understand what chemicals are going into o
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products in the system, and what challenges they may pose so that we can be better able in the en to find out where they are and what they're doing and the science behind them.emic >> so from march to december, rt was there something that changeo inut our understanding of pafoai or was it aalatencey in understanding there was a dange out there?answer this is what i'm not clear on. >> i'll have to go back anddw ts to the region because i'm not sure i can specifically answer your question.a i believe that the testing that to provided the region early on was in a system that wasn't n currently in kiuse. but when we found out that there were existing drinking supply wells that were being used, pari of the challenge for us was that our recommended levels in some g cases was fairly high, is currently being reconsidered. we were trying to give the best information that we had, based
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on the science we knew.te bac and that's why there was continued debate back and forth on the level and what was safe and what wasn't. but that's because the science a was changing and the tests were changing. and what we knewand t to be theo in terms of what people were drinking wasch changing as wello fo okay, ma'am, we'll stay in touch on this. chairman, i'm going to have to submit for the record a second question that has to do with the hudson with that, i yield back. new iss custer, five aminutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to the administrator for being with us today. always great to a new englander in our committee. i'll be quick.. i have two questions. the first one relates to the epa waters of the united states ruling. but ina conjunctionn with the e regulation on pesticides and the fish and wildlife ruling f regarding the long-eared bat and my question on behalf of farmers, land owners and timber
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owners in new hampshire is, howl 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 want to try to get them some guidance because, you know, i
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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 as a carbon neutral form of energy. we submitted letters to you. i am just curious whether a determination has been made and
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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 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
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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. five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. ms. mccarthy, i appreciate your
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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 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
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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 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
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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 vu should not have to have a new permit-- sometimes folks seeking
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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 section 404 requiring these permits. >> no, i am not aware of that.
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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? 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
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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 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
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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 really having an understanding that in my mind, what i heard from my farmers is that today's
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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 been able to have-- [inaudible]
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>> 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 automatically given if a business, farmer or local government believes its exempt or do they have to prove its exempt?
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>> 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 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
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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 you missed the mark and i would again asked that this rule be repealed. thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. abraham, five minutes.
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>> 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 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
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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 in eliminating extensions of time for all of our program.
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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 around the world for decades. why was this fundamental change in policy not put out for public notice and comment so that
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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. these include studies designated to make sure children would be
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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 disclosing that information for the public to review? i look forward to your answers to that question and i yield
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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 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
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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 those criteria for the state laster epa indicated it would reject the state of washington's water quality standards on the
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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 own water quality guidelines for states. >> well, i am very familiar with this issue in terms of work
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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 the levels. 2013 study conducted by washington state industry found that even the most advanced technology available and with
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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 we have standards that can be issued and know we take about a-- take away the flexibility states have in terms of how they
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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 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.
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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 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.
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>> 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 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.
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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 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
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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 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.
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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 local communities and to the numerous legal challenges speak to the enormous impacts that the
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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 extraordinarily difficult to provide any certainty about what that cost might be. >> that is actually not-- that
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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 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
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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. .. you get lawsuits rather than progress. their agency has been implementing for several years now. i understand next year you will be releasing the
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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 homeowners and taxpayers in small communities that dot the shenandoah valley in my district?
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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. >> i am representing michigan. would like to talk with you
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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? >> her explanation was it was because of focus of attention.
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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 lead from leaching at the pipes and was not being implemented, there were serious concerns did nothing
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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 steps. >> you are saying that was in april. >> i believe so. >> february 25 a resident from flint and for children
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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 that so my question is if you do thisknew this in february why was there no
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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. >> i'm not saying the gilded. the upper levels of the epa did. miguel actually e-mail
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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 on the authority of the epa to step i have to believe that anyone who looks at the
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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. 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.
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>> 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. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator mccarthy, did
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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 yet to have my question answered. if they would be considered under the sewage treatment facility exemption under the
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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 relationship, you know,
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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. 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
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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 could see much more progress on this. two years has been long enough.
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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 ped 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. speak to your agency is doing? is there anything you need from us to help facilitate
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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. >> am concerned farmers and not getting access to the tools they need.
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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. it is clearly a desire to do her job safe and effectively.
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>> 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 greatly reduced malnutrition for millions of children and adults by safely protecting crops, safely increasing yields.
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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 states suing the federal government and the epa until it can reach a better solution if you would just
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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. learning about some of the things that we have to deal with. i am a new member of congress from georgia.
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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? we are -- what i would like to see is a plan by your
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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 cracks. neither reprioritize your systems. the other thing relative to the economic impact, white
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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, is your agency at all connected to the fact that this economy is growing in
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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. >> no, sir. i will certainly take to heart what you suggest. we tried hard to understand
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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. one of the recommendations excludes several credible standards including the
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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? >> the four service or department of agriculture
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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? >> i'm not sure that wasn't done. you are right. we should be consulting appropriately.
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>> 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 memorandum issued recently call for the mitigating impact.
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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. we have very little ownership of federal land.
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>> 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 regulation really truly mean what it says? >> my understanding is yes.
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>> 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 compiling your fields. >> yes. >> okay. thank you. thank you for your time and indulgence.
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>> 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, a path for which we can trackback. use of the tool like thunderclap, can you commit
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that whatever your going to do with social media that you will use tools or leave in place an audit trail, inability to see where it came from and who did it? >> i certainly know who worked on these issues internally. >> right. >> was not able to retract that. one of the things i try to explain although i don't agree with gal come i am not disrespecting their decision. the guide in on how you would use this command we followed it and will make sure. >> there other information is coming in. anonymously do things. >> the one thing you can be sure. >> i got you.
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well, 1st and 2nd. there are other offices that are like ovens. our system doesn't know the difference between winter and summer time. i apologize. we have a number of members have a numbera number of questions we would like to submit for the record. like you don't have enough to do. again, thank you for being here this morning. >> i thought it was incredibly informative. thank you for being with us. under the rules of the committee the record will remain open for ten calendar days. hearing is adjourned.
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thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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