Here’s Texas Congressman Joe Barton’s hard-hitting opening statement at the Feb. 28 EPA budget hearing.
Opening Statement of the Honorable Joe Barton
Chairman Emeritus, Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Energy & Power Hearing
Subcommittee on Environment and Economy
“The FY 2013 EPA Budget”
February 28, 2012
Thank you, Chairman Whitfield and Chairman Shimkus for conducting this hearing today outlining “The Fiscal Year 2013 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Budget”.
With 10 regional offices, over 17,000 employees, and a budget of over $8.449 billion dollars last year, one would think that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be able to answer very important questions asked by Congress of them last year. Ms. Jackson, you have appeared before this 112th Congress many times, as well as Gina McCarthy, only to constructively evade questions of great concern to us and to the American citizens and taxpayers.
You are required to comply with the President’s issued Executive Order 13563 requiring that regulations promote economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation. The Order further requires that Federal agencies employ the least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends taking “into account benefits and costs, both quantitative and qualitative”. I see no signs that you have complied with either the requests of Congress or that of the President’s Executive Order.
Is this Administration’s EPA a good investment? Would taxpayers be wise to support another dime to fund an agency intent on destroying the economy; particularly the energy and manufacturing segments? This agency has driven energy costs higher and created regulatory burdens that are not justified in an environment when the water and air quality are incredibly good and improved over the last 20 years by over 40 percent. (when all it has done over the last 3 years is drive the energy and vitality out of the economy?)
We have written letters requesting the specific health benefit and monetary losses and gains from each and every regulation you have proposed. You mock this congress and have not responded to our specific requests.
I want to discuss the EPA’s science and research funding and support activities such as the quality assurance supervisory budget and the committees that monitor the EPA’s internal activities. You fund research with grants to people who also serve on your review committees. Is this a conflict of interest? Almost every single member of your Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) has been directly or indirectly funded for research. This hand and glove policy making by those appointed to also do your research and being funded by you at the same time is not appropriate. They are often asked to review others research they themselves were a party on the original research team. How could one possibly expect them to be objective in any way?
You refuse to utilize the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence published by the Federal Judicial Center as your guide to research for the reasons to propose new regulations. These are the guidelines followed by the world’s leading toxicologists and epidemiologists on how to study health effects of pollution. I believe it is because your agency has not been able justify the air pollution rules to your ‘outside the box small effects standards’. The Reference Manual for example requires that you justify your studies to be unbiased and not include ‘confounding factors’. A confounding factor is when another causal factor confuses the relationship between the agent of interest and outcome of interest, such as the utilization of particulate matter PM2.5 instead of mercury to justify your Utility Mercury Air Toxic Standard (MACT) rule.
You have not been able to find an ambient air causation for toxicity so you are utilizing manipulated studies on precautionary principles that this congress and no other congress has every agreed too, Ms. Jackson. You have taken it on your own authority to set energy and manufacturing policy by way of manipulated studies to overrule Congress. This is unacceptable behavior by any regulatory agency and any standards under our Constitution.
You also have funded over $11 million dollars in grants to the American Lung Association. Isn’t this the same association that has also sued you over and over again? And haven’t you also had a history of settling out of court and modeled a new rule to accommodate the petitioner, as has been the case with the American Lung Association time after time? These I believe are considered collusive lawsuits.
I believe that the American public and taxpayers should not be paying for an agency that manipulates data and funds researchers in the form of exterior grants, who in turn serve on the internal committees within the EPA to create policy and work in an oversight capacity. This is an incredible conflict of interest to the American public. With this I yield back, and I am anxious to hear your testimony today Ms. Jackson and to discuss your agency’s budget in detail.