SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC
STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS CONTAMINATED SEDIMENTS
WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JULY 19, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LOBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DEMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E, BROWN, JR, South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. MCGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana, Vice-Chair
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
DON YOUNG, Alaska
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Connolly, Dr. John P., President and Senior Managing Engineer, Quantitative Environmental Analysis, Montvale, New Jersey
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Davis, John, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Protection Bureau, Office of Attorney General, New York, New York
Farrington, John W., Associate Director for Education/Dean and Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Fisher, Linda, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.
Izzo, Dominic, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C., accompanied by Dr. Robert M. Engler, Senior Scientist, Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Reible, Dr. Danny D., Director, Hazardous Substance Research Center/South and Southwest, Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Ruggi, Sharon, Councilwoman, Fort Edwards, New York
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Connolly, Dr. John P
Farrington, John W
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Reible, Dr. Danny D
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Connolly, Dr. John P., President and Senior Managing Engineer, Quantitative Environmental Analysis, Montvale, New Jersey, responses to questions
Davis, John, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Protection Bureau, Office of Attorney General, New York, New York:
Fact Sheet on PCBs, May 2001
Responses to questions
Farrington, John W., Associate Director for Education/Dean and Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts:
A Risk-Management Strategy for PCB-Contaminated Sediments, report
Responses to questions
Fisher, Linda, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., responses to questions
Reible, Dr. Danny D., Director, Hazardous Substance Research Center/South and Southwest, Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, responses to questions
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ruggi, Sharon, Councilwoman, Fort Edwards, New York:
List of communities that passed resolutions opposed to dredging
The Town of Fort Edward's resolution opposing dredging
Comments of EPA's Governmental Liason Group on EPA's Hudson River Dredging Proposal
Comments of the Intercounty Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks on the EPA's Hudson River Dredging Proposal
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, David Kennedy, Director, Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service, statement
Farmers Against Irresponsible Remediation (FAIR), statement
STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS CONTAMINATED SEDIMENTS
Thursday, July 19, 2001
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr., [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. DUNCAN. The subcommittee will come to order.
I would like to welcome everyone to our hearing on contaminated sediments, a nationwide issue that by some estimates could potentially cost more than the entire Federal budget if it is not handled in a reasonable, common-sense fashion.
Contaminated sediments present a challenge for our programs to improve water quality under the Clean Water Act, and that is putting it lightly, to clean up toxic waste sites under the Superfund program, and to maintain harbors and channels for navigation under the Civil Works Program of the Corps of Engineers.
In 1997, the EPA reported to Congress that we may have up to 1.2 billion cubic yards of contaminated sediments in the U.S. This certainly is an alarming figure if it is supported by real data. One of the questions at this hearing will be whether the EPA still considers this to be a realistic number. If we address the problem of contaminated sediments by trying to remove all of it from our rivers and harbors, we could potentially be facing a $5 trillion cleanup. There are of course more environmentally sound, cost-effective ways to address this issue.
Today, we are going to hear from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I am interested to hear how these agencies make decisions about managing or removing contaminated sediments. For example, EPA issued a guidance in 1998 to make sediment management decisions more consistent within that Agency. There have been disagreements even within the Agency about the best way to handle these sediments. The guidance that was issued in 1998 requires the EPA to evaluate the risks posed by each cleanup alternative and to avoid actions that would cause more harm than good, more harm than leaving sediments in place. This approach, if followed, would be consistent with recent recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately, it is not clear that EPA's Superfund Program implements this policy when picking remedies at Superfund sites. Currently, EPA's Superfund Office is coming up with its own guidance on contaminated sediments. But in its current form, this guidance appears to jump right to the question of what technologies should be picked to clean up a site. It seems to provide no guidance on how to evaluate risks from contaminated sediments or even how to decide what environmental result a cleanup action is supposed to or will achieve.
This approach is not consistent with the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences and is even inconsistent with EPA's own 1998 Contaminated Sediment Management Guidance.
The Corps has its own protocols for evaluating the risks posed by sediments. The Corps employs an approach that looks at actual effects of sediments in the environment. There has been disagreement in the past between EPA and the Army Corps over this issue. I hope to hear what action EPA and the Corps have taken to reconcile their two approaches. I also hope we will hear about the Corps' practical, in the field experiences with dredging, and their research into dredging technologies and dredged material disposal and alternatives that they have researched and used.
Our second panel includes experts on sediment cleanup from the academic community, the private sector, and a State government.
I am particularly pleased that two of our witnesses recently served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that made recommendations on how to managed contaminated sediments. I hope that this panel can explain these scientific recommendations to the subcommittee and give us some insight into how sediment management decisions are being made today out in the field.
Our last panel witness will be a representative from a local community that will potentially be affected by a sediment remediation project. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that these affected communities--as well as communities potentially affected by treatment or disposal of any dredged materials--be included when decisions are made about how to manage contaminated sediments.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These witnesses have a lot of information to share with us and we are anxious to hear what they have to say.
But first I want to recognize the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, Mr. DeFazio, for any statement or comments he wishes to make at this time.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. These are indeed difficult decisions, to dredge or not to dredge. I think the only point of agreement often is that we want to be free of the threat of further environmental harm, degradation, and harm to wildlife or human population from these contaminated sediments. I look forward to the hearing today.
We have a contentious issue in my part of the world, in Portland Harbor, regarding the potential for dredging for accumulated problems and sediments. I really look forward to learning more about how the scientific determinations can best be made. Obviously, this is something that should not become a political football. We should not be giving undue deference to former polluters in terms of their desire to avoid costs. We need to do what is best for our future, to remediate for past mistakes without creating further problems during that remediation.
I really do hope that we will cast some light on this issue today because there are critical issues involving contaminated sediments all around the U.S. that need to be dealt with. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Today's hearing focuses on one of the most important and controversial issues facing the Nationhow to respond to the growing problem of contaminated sediments in ports, waterways, and watersheds. The issue has tremendous significance for public health and safety, for environmental quality, and economic prosperity both home and abroad.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Politicians do not need to remind local communities how important it is to remove the threat of PCBs or some other toxic pollutant from their waters. They tell us. And politicians do not need to remind ports and commercial navigation interests that gateways to commerce must remain open and that contaminated sediment can block future growth. They tell us. And politicians do not need to remind scientists about the risks of certain contaminants in specific circumstances. They tell us.
That is what this hearing is all about, listening to citizens and scientists and regulatory decision-makers about the best way to respond. So, in that spirit, I will make my comments brief.
First, I want to welcome Linda Fisher, the Deputy Administrator of EPA, and Dominic Izzo, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army. Your agencies' missions are tremendously important and your task, I should say balancing acts, exceedingly complex. And I wish you the best as you take on those challenges.
Second, add me to the list of those who support a risk-based approach to contaminated sediment. I agree with the National Academy of Sciences' recent report. Remediation decisions should be scientifically based, the result of extensive community involvement, tailored to meet the site-specific conditions, and implemented through adaptive iterative procedure.
As Chairman of the Science Committee, I can tell you we intend to work with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and others to boost research, development, and use of innovative environmental technologies, and to improve the science behind regulatory decision-making.
Finally, a few words about the Hudson River PCB cleanup. A tremendous amount of research and debatescientific, legal, and politicalhas occurred already, not just in the last months or even the last years, last decade. I am not sure this is the best forum to shed new light or resolve the matter, particularly since the final decision by EPA I hope is imminent. Now, I understand the delay, the slight delay from August to September. When you got 72,000 public comments, a result of 11 public hearings, it is only understandable that the new Administration, new players would sort of pause a little bit and say, ''Look, let us absorb everything in the totality.'' But I hope it does not go beyond September because I will be one of the most severe critics if it does.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have got to get on with this job. Like the Governor of New York, I personally believe we are well beyond the question of to dredge or not to dredge. Active remediation is required. The river will not clean itself. The questions are: How much to dredge? How best to do it? And how to minimize problems with the treatment and disposal of the dredged material?
I encourage all the parties involved in the Hudson River debate to focus on a final solution that includes source control and active remediation. A workable, scientifically-based solution is reachable. A decision that relies on science and factors in any new information should be made as promptly as possible. Extensive delay should not be an option.
Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Chairman Boehlert, former Chairman of this subcommittee. It is always a great honor to have you with us.
Does anyone on the Democratic side wish to make an opening statement? Mr. McGovern or anyone?
Mr. MCGOVERN. No, Mr. Chairman. I just want to thank you for holding this hearing. It is an important issue. I hear a rumor we may have a vote at 10:00, so I am not going to give a statement.
Mr. DUNCAN. OK. Mrs. Kelly?
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. This is, obviously, an issue of great importance to New York, you heard Mr. Boehlert on that. While there has been a lot of disagreement as to how to treat the contaminated sediments in the Hudson River and how they ought to be handled in the Hudson, everyone involved wants to do what is best to protect public health and everyone wants a cleaner river. I am sure that the same can be said for communities across the country which are facing similar circumstances. It is this shared objective which makes a continued commitment to sound scientific principles an essential component of our effort to assist communities across the country to deal with problems of this nature.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The EPA has expressed the strong commitment to science-based solutions in this matter. I hope they will continue to do so. I also hope that the EPA will do everything it can to recognize and be responsive to local concerns that have been raised with regard to the plans for treating contaminated sediment.
I would ask at this time that the Chairman keep the record open so that community representatives can place their comments on the record if they choose to do so. Mr. Chairman, will you do that, please?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much. And I thank the witnesses for coming here today. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Kelly.
I do not believe any other members have opening statements. Oh, Mr. Pascrell, I am sorry.
Mr. PASCRELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, we have listened to the cigarette companies try to divert us and move us away from the damage of smoking by telling us and pounding their chests of how much they give to charity. We see that in TV ads, hear it in radio ads. So they are all good folks now. And we have seen some large corporations, some of which have dumped into the Hudson River and now are attempting to tell us how they have improved our quality of life in other areas. All interesting diversions.
I support the EPA plan which includes safe technology and precise environmental dredging. I think it is important that it be implemented and that we not delay our task. When the EPA Administrator was Governor of New Jersey, I applauded her leadership, although I was an opposing party member, in backing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in their approach to watershed management and implementing innovative practices such as inviting citizen stakeholders into the decision-making process. Worthwhile goals New Jersey has set are due, in part, to her wise leadership. I applauded her decision to continue investing in the New Jersey/Federal combined project to overhaul our wastewater treatment plantsa huge $5 billion project begun in the 1970's following the Clean Water Actthat the Governor's Administration helped to complete. It was $5 billion well spent.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But now we need to turn to a new phasecontrolling non-point source pollution and runoff that is adding to our sedimentation problems. I believe we need to continue samewise, in partnership with the Federal Government with a second phase, which New Jersey has enjoyed since 1972, Mr. Chairman. And thanks to the most recent USGS report on New Jersey water from the National Water Quality Assessment, we have learned that concentrations of arsenic, and mercury, and lead, and other metals are elevated in our upstream sediment, and that non-point sources related to urban development have accelerated their release particularly in suburban New Jersey. All the problems that we have thought about that only existed in urban America. Is it not interesting that we now understand that they have spilled over and there are no firewalls to protect us any longer.
Now, all of a sudden it is a problem. Every new issue of the NIH's environmental health journal has another article targeting yet more of these toxins as disrupters, or even trace amounts of such contaminants disrupt embryo development during pregnancy, and may be causing hearing loss and neurological problems in our children. Every issue has something in there.
What else is in our sediment? We have learned that suburban use of fertilizers and pesticides and roadway right-of-way herbicide spraying all run off of our parking lots and roads and other impervious surfaces of development. We now know that the PAH hydrocarbons from automobile traffic and fossil fuels are increasing in sediments. The suburban pollution is more of a contributor to some contaminant levels than agriculture.
Without such an investment in seeing whether these new practices work, we may end up having a hazardous waste disposal problem every time we do maintenance dredging in our harbors. I believe we need large investment in these programs. They should be a priority if we are to solve these growing problems before they become insurmountable.
So we try to abate problems and not prosecute. That is what we did in New Jersey. That is what we are trying to do on a Federal level. But no corporation should be allowed to spend millions and millions of dollars to dictate policy to this Congress. We cannot abandon our own responsibilities because we will abandon more and more our own credibility.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing the testimony.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Pascrell.
Mr. OTTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Duncan, I am glad to have the opportunity to attend such an important hearing as this is today. The people of my district in Idaho know well the issues that we are going to deal with here today. They understand the legacy that they are dealing with after a century of mining and the by-products that have been deposited by that mining. What they find harder to understand is the role the Federal Government has taken to mitigate the effects of cleaning up those by-products.
The City of Kellogg, Idaho, the Bunker Hill Superfund site which the EPA found 19 years ago, promised within 3 years and only $28 million they would have it cleaned up. That was, as I say, 19 years ago and $280 million later we still have the problem.
In Lake Couer d'Alene, the EPA has determined that our lake bed is seriously contaminated with mining related hazardous substances, or MRHSes. For those who have not been to North Idaho, I will point out that the lake is one of the most beautiful places in the world as far as I am concerned. But more importantly, the EPA themselves know that it is safe to swim, it has not caused any known illnesses, and it is OK to eat the fish.
The EPA has, however, decided that these MRHSes constitute a problem that it needs to tackle, not that anyone is ill, but the EPA chose to step in because it is in their nature I believe to provide justification for their existence. Never mind that the State of Idaho completed an extensive lake management plan for Couer d'Alene Lake, never mind the fact that this plan was developed not only by the input of all the local leaders, 100 community leaders, including the tribal representatives and the State of Idaho's DEQ, none of those people had the blessing unfortunately of the EPA, so, consequently, Washington, D.C. could not accept the plan.
I mention this, Mr. Chairman, because the EPA's first suggestion for dealing with the contamination of Lake Couer d'Alene was to dredge it. One can only imagine the horrors of tens of thousands of tons of lake bottom brought to the surface to be deposited and to try to find some unpristine place in which to dump this problem. For an Agency that supposedly cares for the environment, it was an absurd idea at the time and would have destroyed the natural beauty, not to mention the livelihood of the entire Lake Couer d'Alene basin. Fortunately, a study from the University of Idaho determined that naturally occurring bacteria are preventing the MRHSes from entering the water column in the lake. The EPA commissioned its own study which predictably was very expensive but is not nonconclusive.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Currently, the EPA has decided that the State management plan developed by the people of Idaho can be trusted, provided the State and communities provide the money. Interesting. The EPA, which claims to care so much for the environment that they are willing to dredge the entire lake bottom, nevertheless would refuse to pay for same.
Mr. Chairman, I say all of this to remind the committee that contaminated sediment management is best left to the States I believe and the localities that have to deal with it. The people of Kellogg and Couer d'Alene, Shoshone and Kootenai Counties should make the decisions that will affect their quality of life. EPA should be limited to providing the technical and, if needed, financial assistance necessary for the States and localities to achieve their goals. EPA should be guided by sound advice, rigid cost-benefit analysis, and a commitment to minimize the disruption to the community.
I would also like to go on record as saying that I do not oppose dredging however when it is carried out in the fulfillment of the Army Corps of Engineers' primary mission of maintaining navigable waters of the United States. I become concerned that the Corps is willing to dredge when ordered by the EPA, against the advice of local communities, while still being reticent to dredge when required by law. In the case of the Port of Lewiston in Idaho, in my district, the 14 foot depth of the channel the Corps is ordered to maintain is threatened by drought and environmentalism, not to mention the sediment from over 880,000 acres of forest that were burned on the watershed into the Lewiston basin.
I hope this hearing will clear up some of the confusion about dredging and when it is appropriate and when it is not. And more importantly, Mr. Chairman, I hope this is not redundant of the OSHA and the whole asbestos scheme. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to start off by commending you as well as the Ranking Democrat for calling this hearing. It is an important hearing on what I hope will be strategies to address contaminated sediments. I think before us today we have an excellent opportunity to address an issue that affects many communities in America.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I view this hearing not about addressing the concerns of any one community in particular, because it is not about any one river or lake or about any one industry or company, the hearing is about what is right for America and what is right for the environment. America's lakes and rivers have long suffered from the careless actions of man and from negative interaction with manmade materials. It has come time for us to devise a solution to address the problems that have resulted from such actions. And that solution must include cleaning up contaminated areas. But for that to happen, polluters must be held responsible.
The Environmental Protection Agency has spent years identifying contaminated areas and studying the effects the pollutants found in contaminated sediments have had on human health and on natural resources. We know what pollutants have done to our environment. They continue to destroy it. And we know what effect pollutants can have on human health. They have the potential to destroy lives. In fact, the EPA has been studying one particular area for more than a decade. This area I believe is a poster child for contaminated sediments and should be considered as a symbol for aggressive Superfund action.
The Hudson River is home to one of the largest Superfund sites in America. It contains pockets of contaminated sediments along most of its length and contains numerous severely contaminated areas that pose a danger not only to the communities that exist along the riverbanks, but also to every community in the region. Because the Hudson River flows into the Port of New York and New Jersey, which is located in my congressional district, contaminated sediments have made their way into the Port's major channels. This has severely complicated and delayed the completion of several navigational dredging projects that are vital to the region's economy. The Port's economic generation of 180,000 jobs and $20 billion of economic activity for the region has been put at risk due to no fault of its own.
The environmental concerns with regard to dredging should be taken into consideration. But the damage is already done. I believe that removing contaminated sediments through dredging and other viable remedial actions must be part of any solution to this very serious problem.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How the Hudson River came to be contaminated is no mystery. We all know who is responsible for contaminating the river, and General Electric knows who is responsible for cleaning it up. Between 1947 and 1977, General Electric used the environmentally destructive manmade chemical polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at two manufacturing plants located on the Upper Hudson River. Before the chemical was banned in 1977, GE dumped an estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the Hudson River. A short time later, in 1983 the EPA identified the Hudson River as a Superfund site and declared that 200 miles of the river, from GE's two plants to the New York Harbor, were contaminated.
For nearly 20 years now, GE has attempted everything in the book to avoid responsibility for what it did to the Hudson River. Instead of taking responsibility for its actions, GE has spent tens of millions of dollars in an unprecedented advertising campaign that is intended to strike fear into the heart of Hudson River communities already suffering from the economic and environmental cost of GE's reckless actions. This propaganda is clearly meant to deceive the American people so that GE can save billions in cleanup costs. It seems that GE will stop at nothing to convince these communities that dredging is the root of all evil.
I hope the witnesses that appear today, Mr. Chairman, will disclose any relationship that they have or may have had with General Electric. I for one want to state for the record that I am not here to save General Electric money. I am only here for two reasons: to see that contaminated sediments are removed from our lakes and rivers, and to see that polluters, not taxpayers, pay for its removal.
The issue before us today goes to the very heart of our ability as lawmakers and as concerned citizens to protect the environment, to make polluters pay for their destructive actions, and to set a clear precedent for the future. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will take the action necessary to preserve the public interest and to be good stewards of the land and our natural resources for future generations. I thank the gentleman for the time.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Does anyone else have an opening statement? Dr. Ehlers.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a week ago we held a hearing in this chamber about a bill I introduced which would help clean up the Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes. We have put together a coalition of environmentalists and industrialists, and I hope that bill will soon achieve passage. But this is a national problem, even though the Great Lakes have more than half of the sites. The real key to handling the issue is:
First, to recognize that every river, every lake is different. You cannot find a pat formula for dealing with them. I think that is what Mr. Otter was referring to, that they were trying to take an approach in his area which may fit our area but does not fit your area. So recognize that each site is unique and requires a unique remedy.
Secondly, we have to recognize that we need some research to identify the best remediation for each particular Area of Concern because they are all different.
Thirdly, I hope that we will be innovative enough to develop new ways of remediation, whether it is microbial, different dredging designs, or whatever it may be.
My final point is that it really is a very urgent environmental issue. We tend to disregard it because it is out of sight, it is lying at the bottom of the rivers, it is slowly seeping out and so the contamination levels in the lakes are not so high that they demand immediate attention. But the fact that the sediment is there and slowly leaking out means that we are just adding to future cleanup problems. It is much, much easier to clean up the contamination from the bottom of a river than to let it flow into a lake and then try to deal with it after that when it is much more dilute.
So I urge that we follow the advice of the individuals we are going to hear from today and from others in the field. Let us make sure we take care of this problem, but let us take care of it in the right manner and let us make sure that we take care of it efficiently and effectively. I yield back.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dr. Ehlers. Those are very good points. Not only does this problem vary from lake to lake and river to river, it varies within individual lakes or rivers. And as Mr. Menendez pointed out, this hearing is not about the pros and cons of any specific remedy at any specific contaminated sediment site. The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the process that we should be using to reach appropriate decisions and the kind of information that must be considered to ensure that sediment management decisions are unbiased and based on sound science. Obviously, specific sites or locations or rivers will be discussed as examples, but it should not be up to us to decide what remedy works best at any specific location.
We have got a journal vote that is going to come up shortly. I do not know how far we will get into the testimony of these witnesses, but I do want to welcome the first panel and try to get started.
We are honored and pleased to have the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Honorable Linda J. Fisher, and also the Honorable Dominic Izzo, who is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Secretary Izzo is accompanied by Dr. Robert M. Engler, who is the Senior Scientist at the Army Corps from Vicksburg, Mississippi. We are very pleased to have each of you with us.
Ms. Fisher, we will start with you, please.
TESTIMONY OF LINDA FISHER, DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, WASHINGTON, D.C.; DOMINIC IZZO, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR CIVIL WORKS, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, WASHINGTON, D.C., ACCOMPANIED BY DR. ROBERT M. ENGLER, SENIOR SCIENTIST, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI
Ms. FISHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning to you and members of the subcommittee. I am pleased to be here today to have the opportunity to testify before you on the very important issue of contaminated sediments. I would appreciate it if I could have my full statement inserted in the record and I will try to summarize.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Your full statement will be placed in the record. All statements will be placed in the record.
Ms. FISHER. Thank you. The other thing I just wanted to note for the committee, since so many of you raised in your opening statements the very important decision pending before the Agency on the Hudson River, I am recused from it. I will share all of your comments with the Administrator, but I am not in the decision-making chain on that issue. In fact, until just this morning when one of your counsels approached me in the hall did I find out that the decision was potentially a little bit off track in terms of timing. But as I said, I will share your comments and interests with her.
Contaminated sediment is an environmental issue that cuts across many of EPA's programs. In our air program, we are very concerned with the atmospheric deposition of the pollutants that settle in sediments. In our water program, we deal with the impact of contaminated sediment on water quality and with navigational dredging. And we deal with the cleanup of contaminated sediment under our Superfund program. Our Office of Research and Development together with the Superfund program deals with the science and research activities on the assessment, prevention, and cleanup of contaminated sediment. I want to focus my remarks this morning on our strategy for cleaning up contaminated sediment.
In 1997, EPA issued a Report to Congress that was titled, ''The Incidence and Severity of Sediment Contamination in Surface Waters of the United States. It provided data that indicated that potential sediment contamination existed in all regions of our country and affected our Nation's lakes, streams, harbors, near shore areas, and oceans. EPA is in the process of preparing an updated report and should be available for public comment before the end of this year.
We know that pollutants found in contaminated sediment, such as PCBs, mercury, and dioxin, are found in fish making them unsafe to eat, which results in fish advisories and the closing of recreational and commercial fisheries. More than 2,800 fish advisories for the types of contaminants found in sediment currently affect over 325,000 river miles, 71 percent of our coastal waters, and more than 60,000 lakes, including all of the Great Lakes.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1998, EPA issued its Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy. It established four goals for the Agency when addressing contaminated sediment. These included: developing source control programs, reducing the volume of contaminated sediment, properly managing sediment dredging and disposal, and developing sound scientific management tools.
The National Academy of Sciences report entitled ''A Risk-Management Strategy for PCB-Contaminated Sediments,'' commissioned by EPA at the request of Congress, was issued in March of this year. It contained very helpful recommendations for the Agency as we continue to address contaminated sediments. We agree with the NAS findings regarding the potential risks posed by PCB-contaminated sediment. The findings of the report we feel support many of the principles that EPA has developed through years of addressing contaminated sediment, such as the fact that cleanup decisions should be made on a site-specific basis using the best available science; secondly, that the public should be involved throughout the cleanup process; and that there should be no automatic default remedy for all contaminated sites.
EPA is working to implement in full the NAS recommendations into its efforts to address these sediments. As a part of those efforts, I have directed the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response to work with the Agency's Contaminated Sediment Management Committee to prepare a full action plan that fully addresses the recommendations. I expect to have that action plan completed by September of this year and would be pleased to brief the members of the committee on that when it is concluded.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about EPA's efforts to address contaminated sediments. I look forward to working with this committee in the future. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Administrator Fisher.
Unfortunately, we will have to take a brief recess at this point and go cast our votes on the floor. We will make this as short as possible. We should be back in about seven or eight minutes. We stand in recess.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Recess.]
Mr. DUNCAN. We will resume our hearing.
We are pleased to welcome the Honorable Dominic Izzo. Secretary Izzo, you may give your statement at this time.
Mr. IZZO. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. Dr. Engler and I are pleased to appear today to provide information on the Army's programs for contaminated sediments.
For more than 200 years the Army Corps of Engineers has played a key role in the construction and maintenance of waterways and ports. The Corps has become an acknowledged world leader in dredging, including the dredging and handling of contaminated sediments. Annually, we dredge about 250 million cubic yards of material of which 10 to 15 million cubic yards is contaminated. That is real practical experience that we have to go on.
Waterways and ports are vital for our Nation's domestic and international trade. That means frequent dredging is required to keep existing infrastructure operational. We strive to accomplish this maintenance work as well as newly authorized navigation projects in ways that protect our Nation's environmental resources.
In addition to projects, the Congress authorized the Corps to perform research and development activities pertaining to dredging in contaminated sediments. The Corps, the EPA, and others have worked hard to resolve many technical issues related to this work. Over the years we have invested about $200 million in this research and created a world-class reference available on the Corps' website.
The Corps has gained valuable experience managing contaminated sediments removed from our navigation projects as well as from technical support activities provided to the EPA. We continue to build on that experience with ongoing research at our Center for Contaminated Sediments located at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and through a number of contaminated sediment cleanup projects underway across the Nation.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now I would like to discuss the site-specific nature of sediment management and several engineering challenges associated with it. Test results which are based on manuals produced by the Corps and EPA, in conjunction with other case-specific information, are used in a weight of evidence approach to reach decisions about managing dredged material. This approach is fully consistent with the risk-based approaches discussed in the National Research Council's report on PCBs.
The management alternative selected, whether it is unrestricted placement, confined placement, or treatment, is chosen because it minimizes overall risk to the environment while ensuring the economic viability of the project. Our process recommends alternatives for implementation that are situational in nature, based on sound engineering, and formulated from a comprehensive watershed perspective.
Additionally, the Corps believes that the Clean Water Act environmental protocols provide an environmentally protective, consistent, predictable, and reliable process that applicants and potentially responsible parties can use to manage highly contaminated sediment effectively. The regime also contains all of the elements for performing project-specific risk-based assessments as recommended by the National Research Council.
There are no zero risk alternatives when contaminated sediments are involved. Our environmental compliance process requires that we evaluate and compare risks among management alternatives, including the transfer of ecological and health risks from one location to another. Comparative risk assessments are used to determine whether dredging is the preferred alternative on a case-by-case basis.
Because environmental dredging is not conducted with surgical precision, some contaminated sediment will likely remain after dredging is completed unless there is massive over-dredging. There will almost always be some release of suspended materials from the dredging and disposal operations. When evaluating potential environmental effects, the Corps considers the equipment used for the dredging, the physical characteristics of the location to be dredged, and the nature of the sediments to be dredged.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The risks posed by residual and released sediments must be considered within the context of a site-specific risk assessment to ensure that environmentally sound decisions are made. Selecting the most appropriate management alternative will, in part, be determined by the incremental differences in risks associated with each of the available alternatives. For example, geochemical changes in sediment placed in an upland environment could in fact increase the hazardous nature of the sediment when removed from the water.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that the Corps has gained broad experience and completed significant research in identifying, assessing, and managing contaminated sediments. That experience suggests that there is no single solution to port and channel maintenance challenges, especially when contaminated sediments are involved. Rather, solutions must be situational, based on sound engineering and science, and after consideration of a broad range of comprehensive watershed-based alternatives. The Corps will continue to lead efforts at developing risk-based technologies for managing contaminated sediments from our navigation projects and in support of EPA programs for contaminated sediment sites.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. Dr. Engler and I would be happy to answer any questions you or other subcommittee members may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much. Both of you have been very helpful and informative witnesses.
Secretary Izzo, I am told that you ran dredging operations for a period of time in India. I am just curious as to how our efforts to clean up contaminated sediments compare in this country to what is being done in other countries around the world. Are we doing more, or less? Are we doing a much better job? Are we the best in the world? What is the situation as far as you know?
Mr. IZZO. Sir, I think we are the world's leader in this. I do not think anybody would do it better than the Corps. In fact, when we were dredging in India, when we were looking for how to do it and how to meet the environmental standards that were imposed through the government there, we went back to basic Corps techniques. I think that is probably a fair statement.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Fair statement that we are doing more than any other country in the world to clean up our lakes and rivers?
Mr. IZZO. Yes, sir. Certainly compared to all areas outside Europe. I also lived in Europe for about ten years and I am fairly confident that we are setting the trend with regards to Europe as well.
Mr. DUNCAN. Do you know of any technology or any method or advancement that they are doing in other countries that we are not doing here? Anything that they are doing better some place else?
Mr. IZZO. No, sir, I do not. The world dredging community is a pretty close knit group; most of the dredgers talk with one another, they compete regularly. We had worldwide dredgers compete for our work in India. The techniques I think are relatively uniform and depend a lot on the capital cost of the equipment, which makes it hard for a private company to make lots of major innovations in the equipment. But I would like to ask Dr. Engler if perhaps he is aware of some innovations that I may not have encountered.
Dr. ENGLER. We stay fully abreast of the international innovations. The U.S. is a member of a group called International Navigational Association. It is an intergovernmental group. The State Department some years ago assigned it to the Corps. We trade technology routinely, almost on a monthly basis, with Europe. The European dredgers are known as the dredgers of the world. They have full partnerships now with most of the major dredgers in the U.S. So we all know what each other is doing. We have developed a number of technologies that they in fact are using in some of their developing cleanup technologies. Unfortunately, they have a lot more to clean up than we do.
Mr. DUNCAN. I think that is an important and positive story to get out. We always want to harp on the negative and on the bad things. And to say that we are doing more than any other country in the world and a better job than any other country in the world in cleaning up our lakes and rivers I think is a good story to tell.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me ask you this, Secretary Izzo. You said that it is not possible to have a perfect dredging operation or a perfect cleanup, there is always going to be some sediments left unless you do ''massive over-dredging.'' Is massive over-dredging harmful? If so, in what ways? Or is it just primarily a matter that it adds tremendously to the costs of a particular project?
Mr. IZZO. Well, sir, it does add tremendously to the cost of the project. An over-dredging allowance is common in any case because of the lack of precision that is involved. So normally, for example, if you have a 14 meter channel, you would specify that you would pay the dredger to go down to 14.5 meters just to ensure that he meets the physical requirements.
Any dredging that you do I believe will have some harm to the local environment, because you are just stirring everything up and it is not going to be the way it was before. And you have very large machines that are going out there and moving a tremendous amount of material. You cannot do it in any kind of surgical way. You can try. You can put up screens and so on and so forth, but you also have a moving media in that you have waves, you have a lot of water action, and therefore you are going to have spill over. Those are very real problems when you are trying to do what some people would call a zero defects operation. It is just not in an environment where you can do that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Fisher, in 1997 EPA reported to Congress that we have 1.2 billion cubic yards of contaminated sediments in this country. Do you feel that number is still accurate, or do you have a new estimate? What is the latest information you can give us in regard to that?
Ms. FISHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would suggest that number is far from accurate. I do not think the Agency ever saw it as a particularly accurate number. It is an extrapolation based on extrapolations. We do not use that very often when we talk about contaminated sediments. In fact, as I said in my testimony, we will have an updated report to you later this year and I do not think you will find those kind of extrapolations in it.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. All right. One of EPA's goals is to reduce the volume of contaminated sediments. But according to the National Academy of Sciences, a more appropriate goal would be to reduce the volume of contaminated sediments ''solely to the extent that it reduces the broadly defined risks of contaminated sediments.'' Do you agree that we should be focusing on reducing risks and not simply removal for removal's sake? A later witness says in his testimony, ''To make these questions as simple as to dredge or not to dredge is putting the cart before the horse and not taking into consideration all kinds of things that we should be considering.''
Ms. FISHER. Yes. We definitely agreed with the Academy's recommendation that we focus on risk. In fact, I think we do in terms of how we approach these sites. We do site-specific analysis and review of all the alternatives. And so I think there is a difference of focus and that is perhaps one change that you will see as we take the NAS recommendations and start to incorporate them into our guidance.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well are you going to restate your goal in any formal way?
Ms. FISHER. Yes. There are a number of efforts underway at the Agency to take what the Academy recommended to us and incorporate them in the guidance and in the strategy that we have for managing contaminated sediments. We will continue to focus on source control because, obviously, if you try to do anything to address the already contaminated sediments and you have not done anything with the sources, you do not really get anywhere. So that will continue to be a primary goal.
In terms of how we deal with the sediments already contaminated, we will reemphasize and stress that it is the goal here to reduce risks. Dredging is one remedy that might get you to that. But to the extent people have worried that there is a bias in favor of dredging, that is one thing that will be addressed as we move forward to implement the Academy's recommendations.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Fisher, on applying the scientific standards, are there any decisions that have been made at EPA or are pending that would not meet those criteria? That is, are you going to have to go back and review decisions and hold up this new template? Is this any different than the way decisions have been made in the past? It seems to me sort of common sense that we are going to be site-specific, we are going to apply a risk analysis.
Ms. FISHER. That is why we at EPA thought that the Academy's report very much endorsed how we have approached these sites to begin with. We do site-specific analysis, we do risk assessment at each site, we look at the risks and the pros and cons of the alternative remedies, which dredging would be one that we would look at. There are some areas that the Academy probably stressed more than we currently do. And that is what I think you will see forthcoming in some of the guidance. But I do not see, as we look back over our decisions, that it would significantly have changed those. I do not know that we have actually had the time to go back and do the analysis that you are talking about.
Mr. DEFAZIO. For instance, you said bring about a change in emphasis, most notably in what areas?
Ms. FISHER. Well, as the Chairman suggested, in one of our documents we talk about reducing the volume of contaminated sediments. We have interpreted that as reducing the volume as part of an effort to deal with risk. But I think some people have looked at that language and thought it means that we have a default remedy selection that leads you towards dredging. So that is where I say we think we have used risk and done it on a site-specific basis. But I think there has been concern in the affected communities that the Agency is too quick to move to dredging, and that is an area that we need to change the emphasis on.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DEFAZIO. OK. Mr. Izzo, I cannot ever let a chance go by when the Corps appears before us to ask or make a point about dredging. The Corps has done numerous analyses of its own dredge capabilities versus private sector dredge capabilities. Obviously, this Administration, in talking about being quick to something, is quick to talk about privatization. But the most telling study was actually a 1996 study where, they came up with a chart which showed across the chart and down the chart what provided the most benefit to the public in terms of navigation, the most efficient services, and what was most expensive or least expensive. The actual determination of the study was that the least expensive alternative and the best thing for the public and navigation was for the Corps to operate all its dredges. Only in one area was it negative, which is it presented some financial risk to the private sector.
We are now basically, and the last Administration was not good on this issue either, running pall mall toward emphasizing the private sector and, therefore, maximizing the cost exposure and minimizing the benefits to the public in order to maximize benefits for the private sector dredging industry. In particular, in the West we have recently creatively applied the dictionary to an interpretation of what ''scheduling'' means and come up with a way to reduce further availability of dredges in the West, despite the fact that we are having a westwide drought, despite the fact that the drought means there are more dredging needs, despite the fact we still do not have competition in the private sector in the West, and despite the fact that it costs more.
I have been in contact with headquarters and met with various folks and have yet to move them. Since I participated in the conference that came up with the dredging language, I find it odd that after the fact we have come up with a different definition than was understood by those of us who participated in writing that language. Got any comment on that?
Mr. IZZO. Well, sir, I am not familiar with the specific study. However, I have to tell you that I think privatization is the way to go. If you look at the Corps
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DEFAZIO. Excuse me. You just confirmed my premise, which is ''By God, we have an ideological bent.'' Is privatization the way to go if it costs the public more and provides less benefits for navigation?
Mr. IZZO. Sir, let me finish my statement. If you look at the Corps' cost of maintenance dredging, which is $2.42 per cubic yard
Mr. DEFAZIO. I am sorry to interrupt again. The $2.42 per cubic yard attributes all sorts of phenomenal overhead. You plough everything into that program and say, if we are going to send the dredge to southern Oregon, and the chief of the Corps was involved 10 percent of the time that time is attributable to him, so 10 percent of his cost is going to be added. You lard it up with all this stuff and say, gee, we are not competitive. But if you look at the other studies, every time that the Corps has been absent from bidding the private sector bids are much, much higher. And then when the Corps bids back or says that exceeds our specifications, suddenly the private sector price comes down. But we do not include all these things in the per cubic yard cost for the private sector. That is, we do not take everything outside of that company, or whatever subsidiary they are of whatever company, and say the CEO of the company that owns the company spent 10 percent of his time deciding to send the dredge. Therefore, 10 percent of his salary is attributable to these dredging costs and, as a result, the cost is much higher. That is not how it works out.
Mr. IZZO. Well, sir, I will be glad to discuss that with you at length.
Mr. DEFAZIO. I would love to have you come by sometime and have a chat about this.
Mr. IZZO. We will. But I can tell you it is one of my pet topics, the cost of dredging, as my previous existence was based on calculating those numbers. I will be glad to come and discuss it with you at length. The Army Audit Agency has looked at those numbers and I will be reviewing it with them with an eye to how we can get more dredging for the dollar. We are in fact the world's largest dredging organization; 250 million cubic yards of dredging a year is an awful lot of work, it gives us a tremendous amount of clout, and we should be able to do well with privatization, as the Administration I think intends. We are certainly open to discussion and I would like to hear what you have to say.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DEFAZIO. Well, that would be a wonderful change from my last two or three administrations on this issue if you are open to discussion of the issue. It seems there has always been this prejudice, despite the public benefits, to err on the side of benefitting the private sector, which of course has had some problems bid-rigging, criminal convictions, and other things. But, we can discuss that another time.
Thank you, Mr. chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to pursue the Areas of Concern again with Ms. Fisher. There are 43 Areas of Concern covered by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, of which 26 are within the U.S., 12 in Canada, and 5 that are shared by both countries. Not much work has been done. Only one has been totally remediated and that is in Canada. I am hoping that the legislation I have sponsored will speed that program up.
But let me ask you, what has the EPA been doing or what have they done either within their own labs or through grants to universities and so forth to identify the best methods of remediation for Areas of Concern, and in particular, trying to get into the microbial remediation and developing happy little bugs who enjoy eating all these nasty chemicals? Can you give me an update on what you have supported and what opportunities are available for us to try as we try to remediate these sites?
Ms. FISHER. Yes, Congressman Ehlers. We do have an active research program. We are doing lab testing of some of the microbial technologies. We have not yet moved into the field. If the lab testing goes well, that will be the next step. So we are very interested in finding new technologies.
Mr. EHLERS. Are you doing this work yourself or giving grants to universities?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FISHER. We are doing it through grants to universities. In fact, I think one of the witnesses you have today is a recipient of one of our grants.
Mr. EHLERS. All right. And is there a timeline on this? When do you think you will have some definitive answers?
Ms. FISHER. I do not have a timeline for you on these particular technologies. What we will have, the Academy report suggested a number of areas of research for us, we are going to develop a remediation research plan based on a lot of what they suggested. And we will have that available later this year. But in terms of when we will know about these technologies, I will have to get that information for you. I do not have it at hand.
Mr. EHLERS. And do you have all the Areas of Concern and probable Areas of Concern in the United States categorized in terms of a priority of taking care of them?
Ms. FISHER. We have done that. Region V has done that for the Great Lakes particularly. I will have to look into whether we have done it nationally.
Mr. EHLERS. All right. Thank you. I just hope you can proceed rapidly. I hope my legislation will help you in that effort, but that would take care of just the Great Lakes. We have a problem nationwide. As you have heard, in the Hudson River a very, very serious problem and some other problems in other areas that need good remediation techniques. But we want to make sure that whatever we do makes it better and not worse.
Ms. FISHER. Right. We share that.
Mr. EHLERS. That is a very, very tough decision in many of these cases.
Ms. FISHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. EHLERS. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Menendez.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Administrator, let me first commend you for recognizing your responsibility as a Deputy Administrator in recusing yourself on the one issue on the Hudson River. I appreciate that appropriate action on your behalf. I want to commend you for it.
Ms. FISHER. Thank you.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Before I ask the bulk of my questions on this, let me just ask you, can you tell us why the Department delayed for 18 months the TMDL rule?
Ms. FISHER. Oh, yes. As you know, we have several issues going on with the TMDL rule. The Congress passed a rider to last year's appropriations bill prohibiting the Agency from doing anything to implement that rule. At the same time, the Agency has been the subject of several lawsuits over that rule. What we have asked the court to do is to stay the litigation for 18 months and we will issue a Proposed Notice to extend the implementation date for 18 months. Our goal is to take recommendations that came to us from the National Academy of Sciences that identified some of the weaknesses of the rule that was put out during the Clinton Administration, to incorporate those changes, and hopefully to make a more workable rule that can be implemented by the States.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you. Let me ask you a question. Has the Administrator herself recused herself from the GE decision, or is she proceeding on it?
Ms. FISHER. She will be the decision-maker.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you. As a former governor of New Jersey, I think she has some understanding of this issue.
Ms. FISHER. Yes.
Mr. MENENDEZ. On a broader aspect, do you believe that dredging is a viable remedial option for the removal of contaminated sediments?
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FISHER. It absolutely can be. Again, as I said earlier, it is very site-specific both whether dredging should be used and to what extent. But we have had success with it at certain Superfund sites.
Mr. MENENDEZ. When do you think dredging is not an option?
Ms. FISHER. It might not be an option when the conditions of the water body are such that the dredging would not be successful in getting the risks down. That is probably the number one reason.
Mr. MENENDEZ. ''In getting the risks down,'' has the EPA established what they consider to be an acceptable risk level?
Ms. FISHER. When we are cleaning up Superfund sites, we look to our other statutes to help us identify the standards that we are going to meet at those Superfund sites and we try to get the risks down to an acceptable risk range, usually it is somewhere between 10 to the minus 4 to 10 to the minus 6 if it is a cancer risk. So we do have certain ways of identifying the risk target at sites that we try to use nationwide.
Mr. MENENDEZ. I am looking at some of the other witnesses who will come before the committee and speaking to their review of the report of the National Research Council Committee. Of course, there are a lot of recommendations they have. But it starts off with the statement that ''The Committee considers the presence of PCBs in sediments may pose long-term public health and ecosystem risks.'' Now how do you balance your statement to me and the Superfund obligation for permanent remediation and total remediation?
Ms. FISHER. I am not sure what your question is.
Mr. MENENDEZ. My understanding is that under the Superfund obligations that you have, and, for example, some of these sites for which we are talking about contaminated sediments are Superfund sites, there is a standard that is different than the standard that you described to me in terms of how you will pursue dredging versus non-dredging, which is a preference for permanency, for permanent removal.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FISHER. OK. In the statute there is aI don't know the precise wordsa recommendation that the Agency try to find permanent remedies where they can. Again, I do not have the exact language in front of me. When we look at alternatives, it could be that natural attenuation or capping of the sediments in a site might be determined a very acceptable way to go.
Mr. MENENDEZ. The specific rule that I was referring to says, ''Remedial actions in which treatment permanently and significantly reduces the volume, toxicity, or mobility of the hazardous substance, the pollutants, or contaminants is a principal action that ought to be preferred over remedial actions not involving such treatment.'' And that I think is part of the complexity when you have a Superfund site which has that language in juxtaposition to natural attenuation or, for that fact, capping or something else. I will look forward in the future to hearing a more defined answer. So, if you could give the committee a more defined answer to that question. Because I think we need to understand when you have a Superfund site how you reconcile some of these other options with the language that is statutorily dictated.
Ms. FISHER. The statute is very clear in that it gives us about nine different things we are supposed to take into account in selecting a remedy. The permanence language that you read is definitely one of those, but it also is balanced against several other criteria. And I would be happy to share with you both the guidance that we use nationally to direct the remedial decisions and how we do balance all of that.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, I have one last question for the Army Corps. I know the Army Corps has had a very significant history in the Port of New York and New Jersey in the question of dredging, and a significant amount I am sure of your history in terms of dredging contaminated sediments comes from the Port of New York and New Jersey. I think it would be fair to say, Mr. Secretary, that has dramatically increased the cost of dredging in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the contaminated sediments element. Is that fair to say?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. IZZO. Certainly, it costs more to dispose of contaminated sediments than normal sediments. And there are more contaminated sediments in New York Harbor than in most harbors. For example, the Corps has done a lot of rock dredging there recently in the Kill Van Call I believe, and that is also very expensive.
Mr. MENENDEZ. But as it relates to the dredging and disposal of contaminated sediments, it is more expensive than dredging in general?
Mr. IZZO. Absolutely.
Mr. MENENDEZ. And the last question. Has the Army Corps of Engineers looked at some of the military advances in research and development, such as the blue laser technology and the combpenatrometer to identify hotspots and extract them through a combpenatrometer, which would dramatically reduce the costs as well as be able to limit the disruption of the dredged materials that might be contaminated in the overall water body?
Mr. IZZO. I would like to defer to Dr. Engler on that one.
Dr. ENGLER. The combpenatrometer technique was developed at Waterways Experiment Station, so we are quite tied into it. We are using these at military sites. It is best done in a drier environment. We are modifying that technique for a wetter environment. We are also developing a number of assessment tools to better define the areas of contamination and separate those areas of contamination that need special treatment from those that do not in order to lower the costs. And combpenatrometers is one of these techniques. We are looking at biological markers or bio markers to test the sediment to get an immediate effects response in the field of what area needs to be specially treated and what area does not.
We are leaning very heavily on the military research. At our facility, 60 percent of its research is on the military side of the house and we are deeply involved with cleanup of military sites. We are directly applying these technologies into the civil works side or into the civil works research to fine tune them.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MENENDEZ. Well we would love to have the opportunity to talk to you about some of those advances.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your courtesy.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you and the Ranking Member for holding this very important hearing.
I also want to thank the EPA and the Corps of Engineers for their wonderful partnership with an Area of Concern in northeastern Ohio, the Ashtabula River. Although we will talk a lot about Superfund sites during the course of this hearing, the Ashtabula River, because of the work of the Corps of Engineers, the EPA, and a group of dedicated folks, the Ashtabula River partnership has kept that Area of Concern off the Superfund list. Hopefully in the very near future there will be a dredge that will not only permit the navigational channel but also the recreational channel to be used for the first time in a very long time.
I would also be remiss if I did not recognize the efforts of the former Chair of this subcommittee, Mr. Boehlert, and former Ranking Member, Mr. Borski, for their wisdom in WRDA in 1996 and also in 1998 when they reauthorized and modified Section 312 of the WRDA of 1990 relative to environmental dredging that gives the Corps the authority to do it.
I also want to pay tribute to my colleague on the Great Lakes Task Force, Mr. Ehlers. A number of us with Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes were pleased when the former President and the former Administration included $15 million in his budget to address Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. And Mr. Ehlers legislation not only continues that tradition but expands upon it in a way that hopefully someday soon all of the Areas of Concern in not only the Great Lakes but the entire country can be dealt with effectively.
Secretary Izzo, my question has been touched upon a couple of times, Mr. Ehlers asked it of Ms. Fisher and Mr. Menendez was hitting on it at the end, too, with the specific technology. But it seems to me that at one time, and I do not remember whether it was WRDA of 1996 or WRDA of 1998, there were some pilot projects on what do we do with the stuff after we have taken it off the bottom of the river. In the Area of Concern that I am talking about, we are building a couple CDFs, for instance. But it seems to me that there was a technology or at least a pilot program about incinerating it, and there was some discussion about other ways of disposal. I am wondering if either you or Dr. Engler can expand upon what research advances are going on at the Corps of Engineers that would help us in a more cost-efficient environmentally-friendly way to deal with Areas of Concern not only in the Great Lakes but across the country?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. ENGLER. We have looked at incineration. It works. It is horribly expensive. We are looking at other less expensive ways to remediate sediments that now exist in CDFs. We are converting these sediments into manufactured soil that can be used for horticultural purposes. We are looking at both passive and active bioremediation in our CDFs as a possibility for lowering the hazard associated with PAH-contaminated sediments which tend to plague the Great Lakes. And as I said earlier, we are borrowing a lot of information from the military side of the house.
The most promising are reuse of these materials as soils when mixed with biosolids and other waste components that we have a problem with in disposing. We are also looking at better techniques in aged sediments in CDFs to see if through natural attenuation are they useful as beneficial use products outside the CDFs.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. Dr. Ehlers is a lot smarter than I am when it comes to these things and he was talking about microbial technologies. The only experience I have with that is sewage treatment plants, where the bugs would go in and help you dispose of it. Is that the same technology that we are talking about? Is it the same sort of bad stuff eating bugs that we use in our sewage treatment plants?
Dr. ENGLER. It is a similar technology in that we look for those aerobic microbes that would decompose things like PAHs or those anaerobic microbes that would enhance the decomposition of things like dioxins and PCBs. We are looking at these both in laboratory and in field studies. Some of these are very difficult to carry out in the field because these critters have to compete with the array of microbes that already exist in the site. So we are trying to isolate those that can compete better. But, yes, we are looking at an analogous approach to the way microbes are used in sewage treatment plants.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Are microbes temperature specific? In other words, can you use the same bunch of bugs up in Ohio as you can use in Florida?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. ENGLER. No, you cannot. They are very temperature specific. They are salinity specific, contaminant specific. It is a pretty complex array of issues to try to solve.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. LaTourette.
Mr. OTTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me begin by offering an apology to our panel. My tirade earlier was sort of a manifestation of 14 years of frustration with the EPA, and especially the last 8 years, and with the Army Corps of Engineers. We have really had some problems in Idaho. I am encouraged by the fact that we appear at least to be starting to listen to the local sentiments and the local values. I applaud you for that. And anything that I can do in my minuscule capacity here, I would be more than happy to encourage that kind of cooperation.
I guess it was a couple of months ago I cosigned a letter authored by the gentleman from Oregon, Mr. DeFazio, to the Army Corps of Engineers and to the EPA asking that we take a look at the dredging window that is offered for the shoaling problems that we have got in the Columbia, Snake, and Portland Basins. One of the requests that Mr. DeFazio made was that we take the emergency dredging time out of the 180 window we are now allowed. I know both of you may not be familiar with that, and if you are not, I accept that. But I would like to see if we are going to move forward with the suggestions that were made in taking those emergency dredging days that are used out of the normal 180 day maintenance window that is provided for us to dredge. Are either of you familiar with that letter?
Ms. FISHER. No.
Mr. IZZO. No, sir.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OTTER. I understand. Ms. Fisher, do we use peer review when we decide to dredge? When the EPA says the best cure for this permanent risk reduction is to dredge, do we use peer review for that decision within the decision window time?
Ms. FISHER. We do not use it in the traditional sense of scientific peer review. We do have within the Agency a remedy selection panel. The decisions are generally made out in the region and particularly for complex or difficult remedy decisions, we have a group that is internal to the Agency that we will elevate those decisions to to be sure they are solid. No decision at a site is noncontroversial, but we try to be sure that we are consistent in how we have applied the nine criteria. So again, it is not really an external peer review in the traditional scientific sense, but there is an internal review process.
Mr. OTTER. In an effort to accomplish the best result and so therefore use the best practices and all of the talents that we have available, can either the Army Corps of Engineers or some other Government agency overrule? If the Army Corps of Engineers came up and said, ''Wait a minute EPA, we ought not be dredging this,'' has that ever happened or can that happen?
Ms. FISHER. Let me just clarify on my last statement. I am advised by one of the program people that is with me today. As you know, there are a lot of scientific studies that go into the decisions and at very complex sites the individual studies may get some peer review. The decision itself does not.
In terms of does the Corps override any of the Agency's decisions, no. The Agency is the final decision-maker at sites. We try to bring in the Corps particularly on areas that they have expertise in, such as the dredge
Mr. OTTER. Early on?
Ms. FISHER. Once we have identified the remedy where dredging is included, yes.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OTTER. Part of the Army Corps of Engineers' problem it seems is you have got too many places to go to surrender. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you have got to get their permission, then you have got to run to NMFS and you have got to get their permission, and then you have got to run to the EPA and get their permission. So it really is difficult for the Army Corps of Engineers to build a good route of surrender when you need to come up with a decision and a go ahead on an effort. With the importance of the Endangered Species Act and its relevance to our value system in the United States, would it not be still safeguarding the intent and the mission of the Endangered Species Act if we could reduce our permitting process to a single office, to a single agency, or is that expecting too much of one agency?
Mr. IZZO. Sir, I think that is expecting too much of one agency. It is a very complex problem. What we have now is a process that I think includes several agencies and ensures that all factors are considered. Although the Corps has many biologists and economists, we certainly would not want to make those decisions in a vacuum. I think it needs to be a consensus interagency decision. That does slow down the process. I know it is frustrating for us as engineers, it is frustrating for the citizen who is trying to get a permit. But I do not have a simple solution to that very, very complex problem.
Mr. OTTER. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Governor Otter.
Mr. SHUSTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no questions at this time.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Well, let me say, Ms. Fisher, I am told that there were news reports that EPA announced sediment cleanup principles at a conference in May in Portland, Oregon, in response to the Academy of Sciences' report and nothing on this was shared with the subcommittee staff. They would appreciate and I would appreciate it if we would be kept informed of major EPA announcements that affect these issues in the future.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me just sum up by saying that, as I mentioned, there was one estimate that it could potentially cost in the trillions of dollars to clean up an even slightly contaminated sediment in any lake or river. Obviously, we cannot do that. So I think there is a majority in this Congress that want cost-effective solutions, that go after the worst problems, that are based on sound science, and that are aimed at risk reduction, and very importantly, as Governor Otter mentioned, that take into consideration the concerns of the local people who are closest to the scene, the government officials, the business community, and others who are going to be drastically or dramatically affected by these cleanup operations.
Thank you both very much for being here today. You have been very fine witnesses and we appreciate your participation in this hearing this morning.
Mr. DUNCAN. We will ask our next witnesses to come forward and be seated at the table. We have Dr. John W. Farrington, Dean of Graduate Studies and Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute at Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Dr. Danny D. Reible, who is Director of the Hazardous Substance Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge; Dr. John P. Connolly, who is president and senior managing engineer at the Quantitative Environmental Analysis Institute in Montvale, New Jersey; and Mr. John D. Davis, who is a chemist in the Environmental Protection Bureau at the Office of the Attorney General in New York, New York.
As a courtesy to her and to members, I am going to ask, gentlemen, that you scoot over and make room for Ms. Sharon Ruggi, who is a Councilwoman from Fort Edwards, New York, since she is the only witness on Panel III. We did apparently offer the opportunity of testifying to another group on the third panel, but she is the only one here and we will not make her do it all alone.
We will proceed in the order the witnesses are listed in the Call of the Hearing, as is our traditional practice. That means, Dr. Farrington, we will proceed with your statement first.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Farrington, welcome.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN W. FARRINGTON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR EDUCATION/DEAN AND SENIOR SCIENTIST, WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION, WOODS HOLE, MASSACHUSETTS; DR. DANNY D. REIBLE, DIRECTOR, HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE RESEARCH CENTER/SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST, CHEVRON PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA; DR. JOHN P. CONNOLLY, PRESIDENT AND SENIOR MANAGING ENGINEER, QUANTITATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS, MONTVALE, NEW JERSEY; JOHN DAVIS, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION BUREAU, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; AND SHARON RUGGI, COUNCILWOMAN, FORT EDWARDS, NEW YORK
Mr. FARRINGTON. Chairman Duncan, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the invitation to testify. I appear here in my private capacity as a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who for 30 years has studied issues associated with contaminated sediments with my colleagues at the Institution and elsewhere. Also, I recently chaired the National Research Council Committee, to which you and others on the committee have referred. It was an honor, and I am very pleased to hear that our report is being read and is having an impact in a positive sense. I would like to summarize my written statement.
Mr. DUNCAN. All full statements will be placed in the record as well as any supporting documents or data. You may present your statements within the time limits or you may summarize.
Mr. FARRINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, I would like to offer some personal comments about why I believe there have been delays at some of the sediment sites, and then, secondly, I will proceed with a brief review of the major conclusions and recommendations of our committee report.
There has been progress, substantive progress in the area of environmental quality research that relates to mixtures of complex chemicals in the environment. Unfortunately, despite this progress, at many sediment sites there has been near gridlock in terms of coming to some conclusion with respect to remediation. I believe this has been due to five particular reasons.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, there are significant uncertainties with respect to the knowledge that we have about the effects of complex chemical mixtures of environmental concern on human risks as well as on ecological risks.
Secondly, there are limitations to the technological options available for remediation. Several of these options have yet to have a track record for effectiveness.
Third, there are genuine economic concerns. Large sums of funds, both private and public, are at stake.
Fourth, social and cultural factors have often been misunderstood or, worse, ignored.
Fifth, the general public has not understood the complexity of the problems that they are faced with right away and this has caused some concern which has delayed remediation at several sites. Compounding the problem at some sites, an agency or organizational interest often clashes with the public good.
Now I will summarize the recommendations of our report from the National Research Council.
We believe that there are eleven areas that should be paid attention to, that these are interrelated, and they are a cohesive set of points that would move us forward with respect to addressing this complex issue:
First, the presence of PCBs in sediments may pose long-term health risks to humans and to ecosystems.
Second, the paramount consideration for PCB-contaminated sediment sites should be managing overall risk to humans and the environment and not the selection of a specific remediation option.
Third, risk management of PCB-contaminated sediments should comprehensively evaluate the broad range of risks involved with respect to both the contaminated sediments as they are now and remedial actions in the future. These risks should include societal, cultural, and economic impacts, as well as the effects on human populations and on ecosystems.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fourth, risk management of PCB-contaminated sediment sites should include early, active, and continuous involvement of all affected parties, including local communities as partners.
Fifth, all decisions regarding the management of the contaminated sediments should be made within a risk-based framework. Our committee believes that the framework in the 1997 Report of the Presidential-Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management provides a good foundation to provide a framework to move forward on a broad range of risks associated with contaminated sediments in various management options.
Sixth, risk management and risk assessment decisions should be performed on a site-specific basis and should use all available scientific information.
Seventh, identification and adequate control of sources of PCBs released to sediments should be an essential early step in any site remediation.
Eighth, there should be no presumption of a preferred or default risk management option that is applicable to all contaminated sediment sites. A combination of technical and nontechnical options will likely be necessary at any given site.
Ninth, current management options can reduce risks but cannot completely eliminate PCBs or PCB exposure from contaminated sediment sites.
Tenth, long-term monitoring and evaluation of contaminated sediments should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the management approaches and to ensure adequate continuous protection of humans and the environment.
In addition, our committee has delineated several areas of research which we believe are essential to move forward with and that will make it easier to deal with remediation options in an effective way. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Dr. Farrington.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. REIBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee for the opportunity to speak with you today.
As we know, contaminated sediments represent some of the most difficult hazardous substance problems that we face today. Both the large volume of the sediments and the dynamic environment in which we find them are really what make it very difficult. John mentioned to you the conclusions of the committee. I was pleased to be a part of that committee and I concur wholeheartedly with those conclusions. I would like to focus on just a few key conclusions that I think are of overriding importance and focus on those in my remarks.
First, I think one of the most important conclusions of the committee is that risks are not limited to those that we can easily quantify. Earlier today we were talking about cancer risks and quantitative measures of cancer risks. There are a variety of other risks not so easily quantified, and they include economic, social, cultural risks, and we think they should be included in the equation when trying to define what we should do at a contaminated sediment site.
They are very difficult to deal with the only way I think you can actually incorporate them is to both identify them and evaluate them through the early, active, and continuous involvement of all those that are affected at contaminated sediment sites. I think it is absolutely critical that with this inclusive process that we identify what resources are at risk and how we are going to evaluate success; namely, how are we going to evaluate the recovery of those resources. And that can only be done through this inclusive process as well as identifying the particular approaches that might be feasible and viable.
I think a third primary conclusion of the committee is that there are no easy default management approaches that are generally applicable and effective. Every approach has advantages and disadvantages. Site-specific analysis of conditions, you have heard it mentioned earlier today, a site-specific analysis of the conditions and the effectiveness of technologies is really the key to successful management of a particular contaminated sediment site.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We really need to understand the system before we can decide what is appropriate at that particular site. Dredging may be preferred when options for effective management of the dredged material and produced water are available and when it is feasible to conduct the dredging itself. Recognize that often the most difficult issues surrounding dredging are not associated with removal but how to manage the residuals, the residual contamination in the sediments, the residual dredged material solids, and residual water produced with the dredged material. When there is not a satisfactory answer to those questions, often it might be appropriate to choose in situ approaches, such as capping, or monitored natural attenuation.
Because there is no technology or approach at many of these sites that is 100 percent effective, often we cannot speak of complete recovery by application of the technology at a contaminated sediment site. Instead, we speak of how we can speed its natural recovery. So whatever we choose for active remediation, whether it is in situ or whether it is removal, often we have to be consistent with natural attenuation processes which we actually depend upon to achieve full recovery in the system.
And that brings me to the fourth point of overriding importance, and that is that whatever approach we employ, we need to have a stronger focus on monitoring the effectiveness of that approach. There are many disincentives to long term monitoring of contaminated sediment sites, not the least of which is concern about finding out that perhaps we did not do the right thing or make the best decision. Such knowledge is critical, however, to avoid the same mistakes in the future. I encourage finding the time and the funds to critically evaluate our efforts long past the implementation of a particular remedy.
We have a variety of sediment tools but they are really quite conventional, in many ways. They have been around for a long period of time. We have limited use of innovative tools. Part of the reason for that is that I do not think we have monitored to see what is successful and what is not. Another part of the reason for our tools being so conventional is that we have only limited information on how effective and practical innovative tools might be. There is a variety of demonstration projects that are in progress and that I think are needed. As long as these demonstrations collect the long-term monitoring information necessary to truly judge success, perhaps we will soon have a broader range of tools that can be applied to managing contaminated sediments.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, to conclude, I think that many people have come to the same conclusions as the NAS committee. They recognize the need for site-specific evaluation of processes and technologies, the need for inclusiveness in the evaluation of these technologies as well as in setting of goals at a site. And I cannot help but feel that wider recognition of these principles will improve our ability to effectively manage contaminated sediments in the future. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dr. Reible.
Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to come and testify before you today.
I have been involved in many of the larger and more complex contaminated sediment sites in the United States and I have done so on behalf of both the Federal Government and private industry. So, for example, I have been involved in the New Bedford Harbor PCB site on behalf of EPA; the Fox River site on behalf of the Fish and Wildlife Service; the Montrose DDT site off Los Angeles on behalf of NOAA and the Department of Justice; and the Hudson River site on behalf of the General Electric Company. That experience has shown me that there exists today a gap between the frontline regulators, those that are developing policy and guidance, and those that are expert in the various pertinent fields of science relative to the issue of contaminated sediments.
I concur with the conclusions of the NRC report. My main point here is that I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in order to implement that. That the way that things are done in common practice is, in fact, not consistent with the recommendations of the NRC report.
Regulators, in an effort to deal with the sheer volume of contaminated sediments and the number of sites that exist, have attempted to simplify and expedite site evaluation. To do this, there is a general reliance on a couple of maxims. The first of which is that buried contaminates have a high likelihood of being remobilized. In other words, contaminated sediments are rarely, if ever, stable. The second maxim is that areas of high contaminate mass, which some people would call ''hotspots'', in fact control risk at contaminated sediment sites. Those two maxims invariably lead to the conclusion that removal of contaminated sediments will reduce risk. An overall positive benefit is presumed based on a third maxim, and that third maxim that is typically applied is that the risks associated with sediment removal are small and bearable in order to achieve a long term risk reduction.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I submit that none of these maxims are true in general, and, in fact, they may be untrue more often than they are true. However, they persist and they persist for several reasons. First, there is a lack of communication I believe between researchers and frontline regulators. Science gets simplified, diluted, and distorted as it is passed from the researchers expert in the field through various objective and biased groups that are interacting with the regulators on the frontline. And finally, there is a lack of a comprehensive study of the results of past remediation efforts. We really have not gone back and looked at how we have done in the past and we really do not have that information to draw on.
In order to alter common practice and to become consistent with the NRC recommendations, I think there is really a need as we move towards comprehensive risk management to begin to think more seriously at the regulatory level about the issues associated with sediment stability, where, in fact, are sediments stable, where are they not stable, and the risks associated with remedy implementation.
There are several obstacles to do this. The first is that there currently exists inadequate guidance for the remedial project managers. The guidance that exists today tends to be general in nature, its is more do good, avoid evil type guidance than it is a specific recipe for regulators to follow. A decision framework for them to follow is lacking.
Second, the remedial project managers have to balance competing interests. They are dealing with multiple stakeholders. Those stakeholders are all voicing opinions. They are all bringing science forward. And the remedial project managers typically do not have the training or the expertise that is needed to critique the scientific facts and opinions of the various stakeholders.
So, for those reasons, I think that four things need to be done. The first is, we need new guidance, guidance that looks at comprehensive risk assessment and looks at it in a critical way and with a clear decision framework. We need guidance for the objective evaluation of sediment stability. People typically do not understand how to determine whether sediments are stable or unstable. We need science advisory committees, particularly for the more complex sites. I submit that the peer review process that we currently have is flawed and inadequate and that we need something a little more rigorous. And finally, I think we need an ongoing science training program for the remedial project managers. Thank you very much.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Dr. Connolly.
Mr. DAVIS. Thank you. Two administrative points before I begin. I would like to point out that I have with me my colleague, Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Grisaru, who is seated behind me. And one of the Members suggested that we disclose any relationship with General Electric, and I would like to point out that 15 years ago when I was at Oak Ridge National Labs my salary was partially paid by a grant from General Electric to the University of Tennessee.
My name is John Davis. Thank you for allowing me to testify today. I am an environmental scientist in the Environmental Protection Bureau of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
The New York Attorney General's Office has had experience over the years with the legal, environmental, and public health issues related to sediment sites in our State. I myself have considerable practical and scientific experience in addressing sediment contamination, particularly as a member for the past 10 years of the EPA's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for the Hudson River Remedial Investigation. Our experience at the AG's office has led us to several general conclusions on the various approaches to addressing contaminated sediments.
Because of bioaccumulation and biomagnification, even sediments that are contaminated at low levels can be the source of contamination to fish to a degree that causes public health concerns as well as adverse impacts on wildlife. Without some action to isolate the contaminates from the biological community, contaminants continue to biomagnify and move upward in the food chain, ultimately posing a threat to humans and continuing to threaten the wildlife.
There are various ways to reduce the ongoing risks to humans and the environment posed by the contaminated sediments. By far, the most effective way is to ensure that the contamination is kept out of the sediments in the first place. To do this, we need better enforcement by government and more aggressive of self-policing of discharges by industrial facilities. If sediments do become contaminated, we must act quickly to ensure they are not dispersed more widely through the ecosystem. Whatever the remedy, it is easier, quicker, and more effective if the contaminants are contained as soon as possible before they can spread.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In many ways the most effective way to reduce or eliminate the risk of harm, the threat from contamination is to remove the sediment and treat or dispose of it at a properly permitted and managed disposal facility. Removal techniques, which include both wet and dry dredging, permanently remove these reservoirs. Dredging often is particularly appropriate in a river. In such a dynamic and changing environment, burial of contaminated sediments with cleaner upstream silt is usually temporary. Flooding, ice scour, bioturbation, and human activities all disturb the layers of sediments, which can result in uncovering of contaminated sediments buried years before.
Natural attenuation is a fundamentally unsatisfactory approach in a river environment. The concept at its most basic envisions the reduction in local concentrations through dispersal and dilution in the larger environment. In a river system, natural attenuation actually means the export of contaminant downstream, jeopardizing downstream resources and magnifying the scope of the potential adverse impacts.
Experience at sites in this country and abroad have shown that environmental dredging can be effective in reducing contaminant levels in sediment, water, and organisms. Across the Nation, and indeed the world, successful dredging projects have been completed. New York State's experience in this area, such as the Queensbury site and the Cumberland Bay site in Lake Champlain, illustrates that the disruptive effects of dredging can be transitory, and that real reductions in risks may be achieved.
Furthermore, continuing technological advances allow us to minimize and control the short-term risks associated with dredging projects. Over the last two decades, dredging technology has advanced dramatically. Modern environmental dredging need not rely on the clamshell dredge traditionally used for navigational dredging. Modified versions of the conventional clamshell are available and have been successfully used in environmental dredging at sites in the United States and abroad. Other technologies, such as hydraulic dredges, have a proven track record as well.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I have outlined, our experience in New York has led us to conclude that at many sites the removal of contaminated sediments from the food web is necessary for the protection of human health and the health of the ecosystem. We also believe that dredging at such sites is cost-effective, because it reduces the long-term ecological, human health, and economic burdens imposed by contaminated sediments.
Thank you again for the opportunity to submit this statement. I will be happy to answer questions and request the opportunity to supplement my written statement to address members' concerns as expressed in your statements and questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. You will be allowed to put your full statement in the record and any supporting data, and you can offer some supplemental material for the record. Thank you very much, Mr. Davis.
I want to ask unanimous consent at this time for our colleague, Congressman sweeney to sit on the dais here with us and introduce one of his constituents. I would like to call on a really outstanding Member of this body, my friend, Mr. Sweeney.
Mr. SWEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the Chairman and the subcommittee for the opportunity to briefly address you. I had the privilege in my first term of Congress as serving as the Vice Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of Transportation and Infrastructure when Chairman Duncan served as its Chairman and shepherded through the historic AIR21 bill, and that was a great experience for me. So I appreciate this opportunity and really respect the work that you do and the fact that you are conducting this hearing.
I have the distinct privilege of introducing not only a constituent of mine, but someone who I think is a hero in many respects. Sharon Ruggi, who is a well-respected member of the Fort Edwards, New York community. She has served as Town Councilwoman for the past four years. She has over 20 years of experience in working with, or sometimes not necessarily with, the EPA, State agencies, community leaders on the Hudson River issue. She is also active at many levels within the Resource Conservation Development Council, serving as president of the New York State Federation of RC&D Councils, president of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association, and treasurer of the National Association.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The issue of PCB contamination is widely reported but not widely understood. EPA, under the Clinton Administration, avoided engaging the public with respect to its methods and findings, concealed studies of secret landfill sites in the Hudson Valley, and did little to build public trust on this issue. The Clinton Administration this past December announced a plan to dredge over 100,000 truckloads of PCB-contaminated mud without discussing the tremendous logistical, economic, or environmental impacts within those communities most directly impacted. Unfortunately, decades of work by the EPA has been wasted due to the failure to effectively engage the public in its deliberations on the Hudson. This is a serious failure by a public agency, a finding that has been made not only by my community leaders, but also by the National Research Council in its report issued earlier this year.
It is tragic but very telling that over 70 local communities have passed resolutions opposing the EPA plans to dredge the Hudson River. I have continually asked the EPA to resurrect public confidence in this process by engaging the public on many outstanding issues, including the ecological risks of dredging, Dr. Connolly touched on some of those, the logistical issues of dredging, handling, and landfilling of the sediment, and the economic and quality of life impacts on the communities. I am pleased the subcommittee has initiated these proceedings. EPA under a new Administration still has a chance to get this right and I hope that they are listening and can understand that.
Now I would like to introduce someone who can better answer the question than anyone in this room, what about the people? She has lived it, she has breathed it, she has wrestled with it, won some, lost some. I commend my friend Sharon Ruggi for coming before the subcommittee today, and I again thank the Chairman for the opportunity.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Sweeney.
Ms. Ruggi, you may begin your statement, please.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RUGGI. First, thank you so much, Congressman Sweeney. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for taking the time to hold this hearing and listen to the concerns of residents along the Upper Hudson River. Remedial actions have very real and sometimes very negative impacts on the communities in which they are undertaken, and it has been my experience, at least on the Hudson, that these considerations go largely ignored.
Before I get into that, let me give you some insight into my background. I have been involved with the PCB issue in the Upper Hudson for more than 20 years. It was my farmland that New York State tried to take by eminent domain for a large PCB dump. We fought that attempt and won.
Now our battle is with the Federal Government, but they have turned a blind eye to the concerns of those who would be most directly impacted by their dredging plan. They repeatedly ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of Upper Hudson residents are against dredging and in support of efforts to control the seepage of PCBs into the river from nearby bedrock.
They ignore the fact that more than 60 communities have passed resolutions opposing any dredging in the Hudson. You cannot have a clearer sign of solidarity.
And they have ignored our requests over the years to open up the dialogue with us so that we could work together to find an agreeable solution to this issue. Holding numerous meetings on very large technical documents that are distributed to the public as they enter the room does not result in educated dialogue.
The fact is, our communities are being threatened not from the presence of PCBs in the river, but from the EPA itself. Now I realize that is a strong statement to make, but I do not make it lightly.
EPA has had a predilection to dredge from the moment they began their reassessment in 1989. As a result, they have cherry-picked their data to justify a dredging decision and dismissed other data justifying an alternative. They have also ignored some very real criticisms of their science. It is true that their reports have been peer reviewed. But the peer reviewers criticized the documents, sometimes significantly. What ever came of that criticism the public had no way of knowing because EPA never issued revised reports.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the case of EPA's ecological risk assessment, the peer reviewers thought the report was so bad they recommended throwing it away and starting over. Instead, EPA claimed the report was not necessary to reach the feasibility study stage.
So the communities in the upper river were not surprised that EPA recommended a very large dredging project. But what did surprise us was how much analysis and detail were omitted from their report.
Most important, for years now we have been asking EPA to conduct an analysis of the economic impacts any remedial action would have on our communities. EPA told us our requests were premature, that a study like that would be undertaken as part of the ''Community Acceptance'' process. So we waited. Now, EPA's public comment period on its dredging plan came and went, and we still do not have an analysis of economic impacts. Is it so hard to believe that a five-year massive dredging program will affect the vitality of our agricultural and tourism industries? I think not, but EPA has never looked at it.
EPA has made sweeping claims about its plans, claims we do not think they can support. For example, they say ripping out 80,000 pounds of river bottom for every pound of PCB, or a total of 8 billion pounds of sediment, dredging nearly 24 hours a day, and dumping 2 billion pounds of sand and gravel back into the river to cover up the PCBs they leave behind is not going to negatively impact our communities and our environment. But they have done absolutely no analysis of the environmental impacts of the dredging, the restoration plan, or the siting of dewatering facilities.
They have ignored information, like the Kimbrough study of GE workers who were highly exposed to PCBs, which would modify their exaggerated claims of PCB risks. And they have failed to gather human health data of Upper Hudson River residents that would better clarify for them the risks posed by Hudson River PCBs.
EPA failed to identify a segment of our population that eats large quantities of fish in the upper river, where it is illegal to eat any fish. And they have failed to assess the impact on our communities of increased truck traffic on local roads, barge traffic on the water, and train trips through our neighborhoods. And EPA failed to consider the risks posed to the public of the siting of two 15 acre dewatering facilities that are required for this project, despite the acknowledgement of EPA's project manager that living near one of these facilities would actually be more hazardous than living near the river it is was not dredged.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The litany of unanswered questions precluded the public from participating meaningfully in EPA's public participation process. It is impossible to have a fair and complete debate on the merits of an issue when the issue itself is not clearly defined. And there are two lawsuits being filed against the Agency, one by Saratoga County officials, and the other by a group of farmers called FAIR, on exactly this point.
With the quality of life for countless families in the balance, residents demand and deserve real answers to the very real risks of its project. It did not reinforce trust in the Agency to hear comments by EPA officials at its public meetings and at other public occasions stray from what the Agency's documents actually said. One example: when announcing the proposed dredging, which by the way was done in New York City, a world away from the area she was talking about, former Administrator Carol Browner scoffed at TV advertisements that displayed environmental clamshell dredges. She said the Agency would not use such ''Tonka Toy technology.'' But the full EPA report on the proposal calls for the use of both mechanical or clamshell and hydraulic dredges.
Similarly, at EPA's public hearing in Colonie, Richard Caspe assured residents that trucks would not be used in the dredging operation. EPA's own feasibility study says trucks will in fact be used, possibly to the tune of tens of thousands of truck trips. I have included a description of the truck hours described in EPA's report for your review.
What it comes down to is this: EPA set out to gather data to justify a large dredging project; they ignored the public's questions and concerns to enable them to come to a dredging decision; EPA has misrepresented the details and has not fully assessed the impacts of its plan; and EPA has said they are going to ignore the overwhelming opposition of upper river residents to their plan.
This is exactly why the National Academy of Sciences characterized the EPA's Community Interaction Plan on the Hudson as a failure, a confirmation of what we have known for years now. The community that will be most affected by this decision has been shut out of any meaningful participation almost from the beginning. This entire project has been based on political realities rather than scientific certainty, and those who will suffer because of it are the residents of upstate New York.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I did when I sent my package to you include several enclosures to substantiate anything that I have said. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Ruggi, thank you very much.
We are going to have a couple of votes coming up here very shortly, so we are going to have to move very quickly.
Mr. Menendez, I am going to come to you first for any questions that you may have.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank all of the panelists for their testimony, and I thank Dr. Connolly and Mr. Davis for their disclosures. I would just ask of the rest of the panelists, have any of you had any economic interest in the past or the present with General Electric?
Mr. REIBLE. No, sir.
Ms. RUGGI. I have never had any association with General Electric whatsoever.
Mr. FARRINGTON. I have not, Congressman.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you very much.
Let me ask you, Mr. Farrington, basically, when the National Resource Council made its report, it was not referring to any site-specific realities, is that correct?
Mr. FARRINGTON. Mr. Chairman, the charge to our committee was to look at PCB-contaminated sediments in a generic sense across the Nation, drawing on various sites to inform our report. Therefore, we were not specifically addressing or making recommendations about specific sites, as you have noted.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you.
Dr. Reible, let me ask you, is there any time in which you think that dredging is in fact a viable option?
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. REIBLE. Oh, I think there are many situations where dredging may be a viable option. Some of the situations that may cause it not to be an option might be debris, might be difficulties with getting at contaminants. But in areas where the contaminants are near surface, clear concerns such as the so-called hotspots
Mr. MENENDEZ. I read your statement where you said you also concurred with Mr. Farrington and the Council's report. But I have read in the past some of your work and some of your work would lead me to believe that you never believe that dredging is a viable option. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to understand, there are moments, there are instances where you believe that dredging is a viable option?
Mr. REIBLE. Oh, certainly.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Let me ask you another question. In this, you wanted to focus on four of overriding importance. The first one of them you said were risks were not limited to quantifiable risks to human and ecological health, but also include economic, social, and culture risks that may not be easily defined or evaluated. For example, under the economic heading, would you consider that the risks of 180,000 jobs and $20 billion of economic activity in the region specifically related to the contaminated sediments in the Hudson River would be one of the factors to consider in an economic setting?
Mr. REIBLE. Certainly.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Davis, let me ask you a question. You say in your testimony, which I appreciate, one of the things you say is that the EPA studies of the Hudson confirmed that contaminants remain available in the top layers of sediment even 24 years, almost a quarter of a century, after direct discharges of PCBs to the river were stopped. In essence, when we talk about rivers, and I have heard about thinking about all of the optionsnatural attenuation, capping, and dredgingbut when we talk about rivers, when I think about the Hudson River and these ocean-going vessels that continuously scrape along the bottom because we have difficulties dredging, and therefore move the contaminated sediment and disperse it, what would normally I think be aquaphobic, but once they are moved and dispersed, are we not creating greater risks? Is rivers maybe not one of those options in which these other forms of attenuation or capping is a viable option?
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DAVIS. Well, it appears, as you say, rivers are a situation where sediments are moving, things are moving. It is a dynamic situation. PCBs attached to sediments are travelling with the sediments as they are scrapped by boats, prop wash, ice scour, various other processes, and just the normal life cycle of a river is to cut a channel. If rivers were all depositional, they would become fields. Rivers cut channels and sediments move. Rivers move mountains. Other areas such as ponds and lakes that tend to be depositional, the movement of sediments and the associated contamination could be less of a concern.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Councilwoman, let me ask you. When they tried to take your farm you must have been really upset.
Ms. RUGGI. Needless to say, we were. It took us four and a half years to get through what is called the Hazardous Waste Siting Board Hearings. We were able to get the site thrown out. Needless to say, that is what got me involved in the issue. Our farmland is no longer threatened. So it has been a dedication to making sure that they do not dredge this section of the river that has kept me involved.
Mr. MENENDEZ. I certainly understand your interest.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Dr. Connolly, when these cleanup decisions are being made, how much attention is being paid to sediment stability?
Mr. CONNOLLY. In a scientific sense, very little. I think the issue of sediment stability is typically looked at in an anecdotal way, this idea that you would say, well, rivers are dynamic, and there is prop wash and there is ice scour. Those are nice generic statements and sometimes they are significant and sometimes they are not. It is very rare that there is a serious scientific investigation to evaluate whether in fact the sediments are stable.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Dr. Farrington, let me ask you. You talked about the gridlock that occurs in some of these situations and you say it is due mainly to five factors. But one caught my interest in particular, the social and cultural factors. Will you tell me what you mean by those social and cultural factors.
Mr. FARRINGTON. Mr. Chairman, the social and cultural factors relate to how local communities interact with the environment in which the sediments of concern are located. One example would be the Native American tribes that are in areas nearby whose cultural and social interactions have been changed by advisories against fishing. Another one would be subsistence fishing on the part of families that have traditionally had access to the rivers.
Mr. DUNCAN. Dr. Reible, let me ask you very quickly, are there any new promising technologies that you are coming across in your research at LSU that you think are going to be helpful in dealing with these problems in the future?
Mr. REIBLE. I believe that there are technologies. The use of microbes and bioremediation for particular contaminants that are receiving further development. I also feel there are a variety of technologies that are applicable in situ, in place, that are becoming more available. And I think there are a lot of technologies that are at the stage where they just need some demonstration and some field data and for people to build confidence in those technologies before they can in fact apply them. I think field demonstrations of those will go far to helping implement them.
Mr. DUNCAN. Can you give me any specific example?
Mr. REIBLE. I believe that using innovative caps. That might be reactive caps, for example, a clean sediment cap that in fact takes an active role in trying to degrade contaminants. Caps may also control permeability. Those are specific examples in my own area of interest.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Well let me say we have got two votes that is going to take about 30 minutes total by the time we get through with them. We have got many other questions, but what I am going to do is I am going to have the staff submit those questions to you and I would appreciate your response in writing so we can include those responses in the record so we do not delay you any further.
I do want to say that you have been very helpful, very informative. We appreciate your participation. And we will conclude this hearing at this point.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, just a procedural question.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes?
Mr. MENENDEZ. May we also submit questions?
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir, you certainly may.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:58 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]