SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCENVIRONMENTAL PROTETECTION AGENCY'S NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS ON OZONE AND PM 2.5
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1997
House of Representatives
Committee on Agriculture
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m. in room 1300, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Robert F. (Bob) Smith (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Combest, Barrett, Boehner, Doolittle, Canady, Lucas, Lewis, Chenoweth, LaHood, Emerson, Moran, Blunt, Pickering, Thune, Jenkins, Cooksey, Stenholm, Peterson, Clayton, Minge, Bishop, Farr, Berry, Goode, McIntyre, Stabenow, Etheridge, John, Johnson, Boswell.
Staff present: Paul Unger, majority staff director; Bill O'Conner, policy director; Pete Thomson, legislative director; Dave Ebersole, senior professional staff; John Goldberg, professional staff; Russell Laird, Callista Bisek, Wanda Worsham, clerk; Vernie Hubert, minority counsel/legislative director; Danelle Farmer, and John Haugen.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT F. (BOB) SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
The CHAIRMAN. Good morning. The committee will come to order.
We are momentarily awaiting the appearance of the Administrator, as well as two of our colleagues, so I think we will begin with opening statements.
I would like to make an opening statement, and then at which time, I would recognize Mr. Stenholm.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, good morning, all. Thank you for coming.
This morning, the committee meets to hear testimony from the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Carol Browner, who about 2 months ago, began a new regulatory implementation process when she and the President set new national ambient air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter.
We also will hear from two of our colleagues who, as members of the House Commerce Committee, have a hands-on knowledge of the Clean Air Act, and I understand, are concerned about how these new standards will affect their constituents, specifically, and the national economy, generally.
Then we will hear from a panel of experts who understand the science of these new standards or have the experience, from an agricultural perspective, of being regulated under the current standards.
In our letter inviting Ms. Browner, Mr. Stenholm and I specifically requested the Administrator be prepared to respond to questions about her June letter to Secretary Glickman which said U.S. agriculture was not a target for these new standards.
Additionally, we asked that she address the recent marks of her Deputy, Fred Hanson, before the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administration Law of the House Judiciary Committee where he said that EPA had not indicated to any person or group that an industry would not be targeted in the implementation of these new standards.
For my own part, I have three basic concerns and have had about the standards and in addition to the statements made by Ms. Browner and Mr. Hanson.
First, it appears from a reading of the record made here in the Congress of these new standards that the science has been selectively rendered and distilled to support of the policy.
Second, the lengthy time lines for implementation and the accompanying soothing words about them, for instance, ''there is no need to get agitated because these new standards are years away,'' could be shortened by just one judicial decision.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, third, I am concerned that we are at the beginning of a further aggrandizement of the bureaucratic of EPA. I will address these concerns as the committee proceeds this morning.
Of course, living in the Pacific Northwest, I am very concerned about burning on our forests and agricultural lands. Although my position on prescribed burns or the practice of not suppressing wildfires in our national forests is more complex than I want to get into this morning, burning is generally a beneficial tool used by foresters and farmers.
In response to questions I sent to Ms. Browner last month, EPA's regulatory policy on prescribed burns was not discussed thoroughly. On September 8, the EPA wrote to me that the Agency would be offering guidance through an inter-agency work group on prescribed burning. I did not find that answer responsive to my question about what regulatory restrictions may be placed on these activities.
It has been my experience that such guidelines usually end up in field technical manuals that have the tenor and scope and enforcement characteristic of rules and regulations.
I hope the Administrator will respond forthrightly about these issues this morning.
In conclusion, I believe it is worth knowing that yesterday and today, Secretary Glickman's national commission on supporting small and limited resource farmers and ranchers is meeting in Sacramento. According to the USDA's own technical comments to the EPA on its air standards, the folks who would be most harmed by these new standards will be, guess? Small farmers.
I will read briefly from the USDA's comments, and I quote,
Energy, as a percentage of variable expenses for many major crops and for livestock operations, are 40 to 45 percent. Farmers are sensitive to changes in variable expenses because production decisions are based on prices of variable inputs. Production and/or use of many of these inputs could be affected by emissions control programs, including fuel that power farm equipment, electricity, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Because a large portion of farms are small entities, increased cost for farm inputs resulting from emission control programs could have impact far beyond thought at this point
I would just mention that USDA's comments point out that 71 percent of U.S. farms have annual sales of less than $40,000. These new standards will make life much more difficult for these small farms.
As a part of the Clinton administration, USDA simply has a different story from the one the committee will hear this morning from the Administrator. That story is in our Resource Subcommittee's hearing record of April 23.
USDA's testimony is that, and once again, I am quoting,
The broad scope of these proposed standards and the likelihood that agriculture will be affected by programs implementing to attain them increases the necessity for USDA and the EPA to develop a joint research program that is aimed at answering critical research questions.
That brief sentence basically suggests two concerns of mine.
One, that agriculture will be affected by these new standards, and two, there are research questions surrounding these new standards that USDA, and by inference, EPA, cannot yet answer.
I will be sending copies of this hearing record, as well as a record from Mr. Combest's April hearing to our former colleague, Harold Volkmer, who is the chairman of the Secretary's Small Farm Commission.
That is the end of my statement and I would like to recognize the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Stenholm.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES W. STENHOLM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman thank you for holding this hearing today on the Environmental Protection Agency's new air standards for PM2.5 and ozone.
It is very important that we take a hard look at this issue because the impact on agriculture could be significant.
I would like to thank my colleagues, John Dingell and Ron Klink, for your leadership on this issue and for being here today, as well as EPA Administrator, Carol Browner, and the members of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. Hopefully, your participation today will help clarify much of the confusion associated with this issue.
Agriculture, the oil and gas industry and small businesses are deeply concerned that these regulations will deliver yet another blow to the viability of rural America. I share these concerns. Unfortunately, when I have been contacted by folks in my district regarding this issue, I have been unable to reassure them that their fears are unfounded.
I find myself in the regrettable position of having a lack of confidence in the scientific basis of the standards, as well as in the assurances that agriculture and rural America will not bear an unreasonable and indefensible burden from application of these regulations.
All of us want clean air and we want strong protections in place to safeguard human health and the environment. But I do not believe we should take a regulatory step of this magnitude without more scientific support.
I do not pretend to be a scientist. I am a farmer in real life. However, I cannot understand the EPA's decision to set new regulations for PM2.5 when we do not even have PM2.5 monitors in place across the country.
How can we possibly make a true assessment of our PM2.5 problem when we do not even have the raw data, much less an analysis of that data?
How can we possibly know the main contributors in a given problem area?
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, I am certainly not a scientist, but west Texas tractor seat common sense would dictate that we get the data first and then assess the problem before deciding how to solve it.
I am sure that the EPA has been inundated with calls and letters from concerned legislators and industry folks looking for assurances that they will not be the target of heavy regulation under these new standards.
Administrator Browner has made several assurances to agriculture that we need not worry. She sent a letter to USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, and appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee, offering comments to that effect.
I appreciate her presence here today to help us work through this issue. What concerns me, and what I hope we get a clarification on today, is how agriculture, the construction industry and the Steelworkers Union have all been assured by EPA that they will not suffer under these new standards.
If an ever-growing list of industries is held harmless under these regulations, then which industries are targeted by these new regulations?
Furthermore, I am concerned about the authority or the relevance of these assurances. States are responsible for the State implementation plans. They, not EPA, determine who will be held responsible and to what degree.
But this leads me to wonder if, through these assurances, EPA is indicating they will reject a State implementation plan that impacts agriculture.
I look forward to hearing from all the witnesses today, and I hope that we can work through these troubling issues and come to a clearer understanding of the impact of these new air standards on agriculture.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For the purposes and benefit of timeliness, I would ask all members if they have opening statements to please submit them in writing.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Brown, Schaffer, Barrett, Mrs. Chenoweth, Mr. LaHood, Mrs. Emerson, Messrs. Berry and Etheridge follow:]
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE E. BROWN, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
I thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Stenholm for providing us this opportunity to hear from Administrator Browner and representatives of the agricultural community on the Environmental Protection Agency's recently revised national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone and particulate matter.
I represent a District with a long history of air pollution problems in a State where agriculture forms a major part of the economic base. I was born and raised in California's Imperial Valley, one of the Nation's great agricultural regions. I believe my District, my State and the rest of the Nation will benefit from the reduced air pollution compelled under the new standards.
For many years I have been a strong supporter of research to improve our knowledge of the health and environmental effects of air pollution, as well as research to develop emission reducing technologies. Certainly, there will be economic costs to achieving the goals set by the revised standards, but we also have the proof of past experience to demonstrate we can improve air quality and improve the economy at the same time.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to determine pollution levels affecting the respiratory health of all Americans, including those who suffer from asthma or reduced lung function. Only after the level of air quality which protects human health is determined are the issues of benefits and costs addressed.
The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee indicated in their closure letters to the Administrator that the scientific information contained in EPA's Criteria Document and Staff Paper provided an adequate basis for the decisions made by Administrator Browner. CASAC's members supported moving to an eight-hour ozone standard, and over 90 percent supported the establishment of a fine particle standard.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The science does not and cannot dictate the appropriate numerical level of these standards or any other standards. These are policy decisions that must be made and the best we can do is to ensure they are informed by the current state of scientific knowledge. It is unfortunate that the scientific community has not marshaled a greater effort to communicate to Congress and to the public, a clearer picture of what role science plays in the standard-setting process.
Critics have pointed out that CASAC indicated there was no ''bright line'' identifying a threshold level contributing to adverse health impact. Scientists are fully aware of this phenomena when investigating continuous functions and proportional response; it is apparent in a great deal of physiological phenomena. The lack of a ''bright line'' has erroneously fostered the impression that the proposed standards are unscientific. Some have also suggested that a substance should be regulated only after we know with absolute certainty that the substance is harmful. I believe, that is an unrealistic and inappropriate standard. Absolute, final certainty is a rare commodity in science. When dealing with complex scientific issues, we need to recognize there will always be a range of uncertainty surrounding any scientific claim of understanding. Science cannot easily provide definitive answers to complex, real-world problems; problems of this kind provoke probabilistic statements from scientists, not cast-in-stone truths. An editorial in the August 14 journal, Nature, which I am providing for the record, emphasizes this point:
There is all the difference in the world between '''good'' science, and ''certain'' science. Science is continually evolving, and its conclusions are therefore never invalid just because they are provisional or uncertain''.
I believe the impact of the newly revised standards on agricultural operations will be small, and the beneficial effects on the agricultural community have been downplayed. Agricultural operations account for a very small part of the air pollution problem. Tests in California's San Joaquin Valley support this; dust and dirt from farm operations contributed less than 6 percent of the airborne particulates found in local air pollution. It is my understanding the majority of particles generated during tilling are large particles which are regulated under the existing particle standard, and that the small portion of fine particles released during tilling do not have the release height to allow them to be transported a great distance. If this is the case, then it is clear the agricultural community is not the major source of the problem, and therefore they should not be the focus of pollution control programs to meet the new standards. It is my hope that the Agency will act with common sense and focus their pollution control strategies on the industries and activities that are the largest sources of air pollutants and where the smallest amount of financial resources spent will achieve the greatest pollution reductions. I would also note that the implementation of the new standards will not require actions to specifically address small particles until the year 2009. This schedule will allow for both greater reduction in the number of potential ''non-attainment'' counties through on-going programs and for the development and introduction of new cost-effective mitigation methods and technologies.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The most promising prospect for agriculture resulting from implementation of the standards will be in the area of reduced transport of ground-level ozone from urban to agricultural regions. During the 1980's, experimental work undertaken as part of the National Crop Loss Assessment Program (NCLAN), which I am providing for the record, indicated that air pollutants damaged crop quality and reduced productivity in crops such as soybeans, peanuts, and wheat among others. Ozone, in particular was determined to negatively effect crop plants. Some of these results were summarized in two Office of Technology Assessment reports produced in the 1980's, which I am providing for the record. CASAC's closure letter to the Administrator on the secondary standard portion of the Staff Paper on Ozone, which I am providing for the record, stated:
''It should be pointed out that the panel members all agreed that damage is occurring to vegetation and natural resources at concentrations below the present 1-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) of 0.12 ppm. The vegetation effects experts were in agreement that plants appear to be more sensitive to ozone than humans. Further, it was agreed that a secondary NAAQS, more stringent than the present primary standard, was necessary to protect vegetation from ozone. However, agreement on the level and form of such a standard is still elusive for a number of reasons.''
I would urge the EPA and USDA to work together cooperatively with the agricultural community as we move forward in our efforts to bring about continued reductions in air pollution. Better cooperation and collaboration between USDA and EPA is not only desirable, it is imperative if we are to achieve our nation's environmental protection goals. This is not only true for air quality, but also with regard to water quality and pest and disease management. The agricultural community has a proud history of maintaining a ''good neighbor policy.'' I am confident the agricultural community is willing to do its part to preserve and maintain environmental quality. However, they should not have to bear a disproportionate amount of the burden of achieving our environmental goals.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I urge EPA to adhere to their stated intention to provide flexibility to the states and local communities in the implementation of the standards, to recognize the special needs of rural communities and the agricultural sector, and to focus pollution control efforts in areas where the greatest reductions can be achieved at the lowest possible cost. If this type of process is followed, I believe we can achieve cleaner air and a robust economy.
STATEMENT OF HON. BOB SCHAFFER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. On November 27, 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new air quality regulations that will have an enormous impact on my home state of Colorado, and on this nation as a whole. These new standards, increasing the regulation of the ozone and airborne particle levels, are backed by dubious science and will unavoidably carry enormous costs for agricultural producers, consumers, and taxpayers.
The new standards will be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to meet in many areas. The ozone standards will change from.12 to .08 parts per million. That means there will be less than one ozone molecule in every 10 million air molecules. The EPA rule for particulate matter sizeessentially sootposes additional problems. These new standards will set levels for particles of a size down to 2.5 microns and smaller. In comparison, the width of a human hair is 70 microns28 times as wide.
Everyone supports cleaner air, however, there is no scientific foundation for these extreme regulations. Very little is actually known about the health effects of such low levels of ozone and particulate or whether there are any health effects at all. At first, the EPA claimed the new standards would save 20,000 lives a year. The agency then revised the figure to 15,000 due to an admitted internal calculation error. EPA, however, has refused to release the data on which those estimates are based. Independent researchers say they cannot substantiate EPA's health claims on currently available data.
The costs are easier to establish. These standards will radically alter the way we live. The EPA has estimated that as much as half of the U.S. population will have to limit the use of automobiles, lawn mowers, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and even barbecue grills. These regulations will suppress economic growth and job creation throughout the nation. The President's own Council of Economic Advisers has estimated the costs of the new regulations to be between $11.6 and $60 billion per year, compared to benefits totaling between $200 million and $1 billion per year. Even the EPA's own calculations (which only estimate partial costs) show that the regulations' cost out weigh their benefit.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The EPA has denied that the unavoidable costs of this enormous regulatory burden will be borne by the agriculture community. However, the agency has been disingenuous in this claim. Technically, the EPA will not directly target any industry or source for regulation because implementation will be left to State governments. This means that State governments could very well target agriculture in order to implement the regulations EPA has imposed on them, in spite of EPA's present claims. Agriculture and consumers of agricultural goods will regardless pay for these new standards. Many analysts and officials, even some from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, predict higher costs for such agricultural essentials as fuel, electricity, fertilizer and farm machinery. These costs will inevitably result in higher operating costs, and higher prices for consumers. In our world's highly price-sensitive marketplace, even the smallest increase in commodity prices can destroy the American farmer's ability to compete internationally.
Air quality is improving nationwide, even without new regulations. All six air pollutants tracked by EPA have shown dramatic improvements since 1975. Air particulates are down 24 percent, sulfur dioxide down 50 percent, carbon monoxide down 53 percent, ozone down 25 percent, nitrogen dioxide down 24 percent, and lead down 94 percent. In recent testimony before the House Commerce Committee, EPA Administrator Carol Browner stated that air quality will continue to improve substantially even without the new regulations. Full implementation of the regulations should be delayed until more of our questions can be answered.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
The CHAIRMAN. We are privileged this morning and honored to have two of our colleagues here today who are experts on this issue. Certainly, Mr. Dingell for years has created a record of interest and knowledge on these issues, and Mr. Klink, of course, has some very, very important legislation that he has introduced.
We are privileged to have you both here.
Mr. Dingell, we would like to hear from you at this time.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. JOHN D. DINGELL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the privilege of being here, and I want to thank also my dear friend and colleague, Mr. Stenholm. You are providing a valuable service to the people and to the Congress by having this hearing to gather the facts.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for this privilege. I am delighted to appear with my good friend, Mr. Klink, who has provided, together with Mr. Boucher and Mr. Upton, the extraordinary leadership on addressing the problem, and he is with the other two very fine members, the sponsor of legislation, the Upton-Klink-Boucher bill, whose purpose is to make a rational correction in the policies of EPA on these matters.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that this hearing will help clear the air of misconceptions and misinformation being spread about the Environmental Protection Agency's new air quality standards. Mr. Chairman, these new standards do not reflect the inescapable application of science to the subject, but simply the judgment of a political appointee.
The findings of the independent scientific panel convened to advise the Administrator on these two standards was divided. While there was some agreement on changing the form of the two standards, on the most important issue, the stringency of the new standard, the panel reached no consensus whatsoever, and individual views were all over the map.
The Administrator exercised then her right to step in and made the calls the scientists would not. Having done so, the consequences in the decision are much clearer than the science.
Based on the data from EPA and EPA's past practices, we can expect some 540 counties will fail to meet the new ozone standard, and some 280 will fail to meet the fine particulate standards. These areas will then have to identify every source and to apply stringent controls and restrictions.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC EPA, in its own materials on the standards, refers to the ''stigma''and I am using a quote thereof noncompliance. And I now quote again, ''Burdensome planning requirements and restrictions on growth,'' that flow from being out of compliance.
We may hear from the Administrator that the figure I just cited on the number of counties affected is wrong because EPA does not yet know which areas do or do not comply with the new standards. If that be true, it is rather curious that they would be rushing to come forward with standards because that kind of information is an essential component of good, new standards.
But if EPA does not know the facts as to which areas will be out of compliance, how can the agency assure us that new controls will or will not be required?
Yet that is exactly what EPA is doing. EPA, as ventured by my friend, Mr. Stenholm, has promised the president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, that the rules would not affect agriculture. They were designed to get automobiles.
EPA told the Steelworkers Union that the rules would not affect mills or coke ovens; they would catch agriculture instead.
The Administrator testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee and said that the targets were power plants and large industrial facilities, and not agriculture.
Perhaps we should have a meaningful debate within EPA with the Administrator debating the Administrator or perhaps EPA staff as to who, in fact, EPA is really after.
EPA wrote a Member of Congress from Ohio to tell him that, even if his home county fell out of compliance, and that county will be out of compliance, new controls on industrial facilities would not be required.
It is interesting to note that the citizen suit provisions do not permit that to take place because the minute a county is in noncompliance, it immediately becomes subject to sanctions, and the State must redo its State Implementation Plan to bring itself into conformity, which is going to impose, at that point, significant burdens upon the people of that county and adjacent counties.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More recently, EPA wrote Senator Kennedy and assured him that construction jobs would not be affected by the new standards. This last promise is especially audacious, given the fact that the Clean Air Act has two mandatory sanctions for the failure to meet even a single requirement; a de facto ban on growth and a cutoff of Federal highway funds. And, as Ms. Browner has referred to it, burdensome permitting requirements. In other words, permits for construction improvements or modification of industrial facilities become enormously difficult and subject to intense review and delay. That necessarily means that business will be slow to expand, and indeed, it means that business will probably not expand in areas where you have a non-attainment stigma attached to the character of the county.
Of course, none of these assurances, let me tell you, is of any value. EPA does not draw up the plans to bring air quality into compliance. These plans are drawn up by the States in the State Implementation Plans. And when the States look to see who will have to take action to meet the new particulate standard, agriculture may very well be a target.
It is uncontested that many farm activities, such as feedlot operations, greenhouses, crop and debris burning, tractor and other farm equipment operations, fertilizer application, and even plowing and land disturbing activities generate substantial fine particulate emissions.
There is no doubt that these emissions will be significant. Administrator Browner, in her testimony, cites data from the central valley of California showing that the soil tilling alone in that area accounts for 6 percent of the total PM2.5 being measured.
While this may seem insignificant, bear in mind that EPA is about to order major controls on midwest utilities due to a similar contribution to the ozone problem in the northeast.
Moreover, after reviewing the implementation plan issued with the new standards, it is clear that we can adopt the Klink-Upton-Boucher bill and meet the time line in all ways for implementing the new standards envisioned in the administration's own implementation plan.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In other words, we can delay the new standards for 5 years and not slow down when actual emission reductions are due by one single day.
For example, under the administration's implementation plan, EPA will spend the next 5 years building a national fine particulate monitoring network and gathering the necessary atmospheric data to make designations under the new standards.
They will have to add some 1,450 monitoring stations to the some 50 that they have. They have approximately one per State, and they will have to add 1,450 more.
At the same time, EPA will conduct the research on the health effects to try and answer the numerous scientific questions that stymied its Science Advisory Board during the review.
EPA has promised in its implementation plan to complete this review before it begins any further implementation of the new standard.
It looks to me like they have got the cart in front of the horse. This is exactly the scenario provided for in H.R. 1984, sponsored by my able friend and co-member of this panel, Mr. Klink, Mr. Upton and Mr. Boucher, and to them we owe a great debt of thanks for their leadership in this matter.
The bill requires EPA to conduct atmospheric monitoring and research during the next 5 years and to use that to review the standard by the 5-year deadline so that H.R. 1984 will again, I reiterate, not delay by a single day any needed controls on PM2.5 sources: No delay on the adoption of that legislation.
H.R. 1984 will give the States and industry certainty that the approach that EPA has indicated will, in fact, be followed no matter who is in the White House, no matter who is the Administrator, and it will afford shelter to the American people, American industry and American agriculture against the almost certainty of citizen suits being filed under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Air Act, something which has been totally overlooked by EPA in its press releases and comments by the Administrator about how this whole thing is going to work. Because in a nutshell, what they have done is rush around the country making a series of promises which they cannot keep because, amongst other things, the requirements of the citizen suit provisions of the law.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Similarly, if we delay implementation of a new ozone standard for 5 years, the work that EPA envisions for this period, continued implementation of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Ozone Transport Assessment Group, will go forward without the considerable problems caused by the layering on of a new ozone standard.
And what EPA proposes to do is to have perhaps two ozone standards, or perhaps no ozone standard, which is a fine prescription for the kind of situation we saw for law enforcement in the Soviet Union, where bureaucratic discretion becomes absolute and the requirements of law lose meaning almost in entirety.
A statutory fix to delay implementation of the new ozone standard is, I believe, a far superior way to allow the States time to implement the Act and the transport strategy than the creative writing effort known as the implementation plan.
A statutory fix will clearly survive any court challenge brought by any dissatisfied environmental group with access to a first-year law student, and I want to reiterate that anybody who has reason to complain about any provision of the Clean Air Act can rush in and file a citizen suit, and that will assuredly follow the kind of implementation of this statute wherein all matter of promises are being made by EPA that they are going to have a new standard, but they are not going to enforce it.
I appreciate the promises the Agency and the Administrator have made to make these new standards more palatable. I would be more comfortable if I felt that these promises were as potent as the provisions of the Clean Air Act which authorize citizen suits, and I would be much more comfortable if I knew that the Congress were going to be laying down the policies rather than litigants and courts over promises made by EPA of the most doubtful character and reliability.
I will observe that I have enough experience with EPA and other bureaucracies to know that good intentions are simply not enough. As Ronald Reagan used to say, ''Trust, but verify.''
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My old dad, many years before used to say, ''Son, trust everybody, but cut the cards.''
I know that many of you support our efforts in the Commerce Committee to enact legislation delaying these standards and holding EPA to its promise.
I thank you for your support and for the opportunity to testify today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dingell appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. Mr. Klink.
STATEMENT OF HON. RON KLINK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. KLINK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to testify. It is indeed an honor to appear here with someone who has worked so hard on clean air matters and knows as much about them as my dear friend, former chairman and now ranking member of the Commerce Committee, John Dingell.
I would ask unanimous consent that I not read my entire statement and it be put into the record. That way, I save you a lot of time and do not repeat some things that Mr. Dingell said.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, unanimously accepted.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Klink appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. KLINK. Thank you very much. I would much rather just kind of speak around and fill in some of the points that I was going to make, which some of you discussed in your opening statements, as well as some of the points that Chairman Dingell made.
First of all, you know, we tend to think sometimes on the Commerce Committee that we are the only committee in Congress that really matters, but I have to tell you that on this matter, I really have to be laudatory toward the members of the Agriculture Committee. We have had more positive and creative dialogue with members of this committee. Charlie Stenholm has been just phenomenal. My dear friend, Mr. LaHood, has been great. And other members, I will not mention all of them, but you have been great for us, a great resource for us on this issue.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have a district in southwestern Pennsylvania, around Pittsburgh. It is a mixture of manufacturing and agriculture. And if my dear friends who represent manufacturing areas had stuck with us as well on this issue as our dear friends in agriculture had, I think we would be much farther ahead in making our H.R. 1984 a reality. And it, indeed, is a common sense approach.
Only a couple of months ago, Pittsburgh Business Times carried a story which said that an automobile company that was looking for a thousand acre site was going to employ about 2,500 people, had walked away from southwestern Pennsylvania, indeed had walked away from the northeastern United States because, locating there, they would have to purchase $3 million worth of pollution credits.
It is OK to pollute if you pay for the right. Go out and buy the credits.
Now they said, ''Wait a second. We are not going to be in the northeast ozone transport region, which is from Maine down to northern Virginia. It includes Pennsylvania. We will move somewhere else.''
We will get their pollution, but we will not get their jobs. That somehow does not seem fair to me. And that is the approach that the EPA takes to pollution.
And, also, what they seem to have done here with the admission of Administrator Browner and others, and I agree with them, the admission that the Clean Air Act is working, they want to now interfere with something that is cleaning up the air.
We in the Pittsburgh region, a city that was once known for having near midnight conditions at midday with the sun out because of the smog and the pollution coming out of our steel mills. People used to have to sweep the particulate matter off their lawns. They could not hang their clothes out.
The Clean Air Act has been a phenomenal success for us. We have cleaned the air significantly in Pittsburgh and other industrial regions of this country.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And regardless of whether or not these new standards are promulgated, the Clean Air Act will continue to succeed and the air will be continued.
Putting these new standards into effect really is about the same as adding 50 yards to the end of 100 yard dash and saying it is going to make you run faster. We are just changing the finish line. We are making it impossible for businesses to make an investment, to make a decision in where their capital investment is going to go and have any faith in the Government that there is going to be a standard that will be in effect, that will be reached by great scientific consensus.
Indeed, there is just too many questions about the scientific studies that have been done by the EPA. We held day upon day of hearing in the Commerce Committee. It was a joint hearing between the Oversight Investigation Subcommittee and Health and Environment.
And if we looked into some of these studies, most significantly was the Harvard Six City Study. With a look at six different cities, including Steubenville, OH, and Steubenville was the loser. Steubenville had significantly higher fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and also had significant higher premature death rates.
The winner, as far as having the lowest amount of PM2.5 and the lowest premature death rates was Portage, WI.
So you say, ''OK. Well, that proves it, Ron. Why go on from here?''
Well, you see, the problem is if the scientists who did this study forgot to look at a couple of other factors. You see, there are also many more smokers of cigarettes in Steubenville, OH. And when you exclude the smokers and you take a look at non-smokers, whether they live in Steubenville, OH or Portage, WI, there is the same premature death rate. It does not change.
Now add to that the fact that Portage, WI is a much more affluent area. People can afford better health care.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So these studies are flawed. If you had conducted the same study and you were going for a master's degree or your doctoral thesis, they would probably throw you out of college. But if you end up conducting this kind of a study for the EPA, they grant you more money, as long as you reach the conclusion that they want you to reach.
And I really, after studying this in depth, after us holding these hearings, very much believe that.
I want to go from PM2.5 to ozone for just a second because we really believe, after looking at this, that these new regulations, if promulgated, if they are successful, will keep the air dirtier longer because you are going to have an incidence where we're changing the standard for ozone from 0.12 parts per million, studied over a 1-hour period, to 0.08 parts per million, studied over an 8-hour period.
And so regions like the Washington, DC area that under the current 0.12 parts per million standard are supposed to have that air cleaned up and are supposed to be in attainment by 1999, will, in fact, we believe, be able to say, ''Wait a second. There is a new standard and we will be given 10 years or longer to meet the new standard.''
So if you are really worried about a 10-year old child on a playground in Washington, DC with asthma, why do you want to wait until that kid graduates from college to make the air cleaner?
It does not make any sense.
Now Carol Browner will disagree with me. Carol Browner will tell you basically that the new standard would not apply until the old one is met.
We do not believe that for 1 second. When you have a new standard, that is going to be the standard.
And if the EPA has not been able to enforce the current standard, how are they going to enforce two standards at one time?
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so I agree fully with the comments of Mr. Dingell a few moments ago when he alluded to the same point.
What the attorneys from the EPA seem to be doing is kind of looking for wiggle room within these new regulations as to how they can tell everybody what they think they want to hear. But the point of the matter is that we are here today with these new regulations because the American Lung Association sued the EPA because they were not doing what they were doing in reviewing each of these standards every 5 years, and so the EPA attorneys do not have a real good record when they go to court. That is, indeed, why we are here today.
I want to also talk about the EPA PM2.5 standard.
As some of you said in your opening statement and as Mr. Dingell said, when you have got only 50 monitors across this country, how are you going to know if you are in attainment or not?
How are we going to know, because we have to build 1,450 new monitors and deploy them across this Nation.
How long is that going to take?
It is going to take at least 2 years.
And then according to the Clean Air Act, we have to measure that air for 3 years. Now anyone on this panel who has gone to Congress, we count votes. We can count years. Two plus 3 is 5. At the end of 5 years, it is going to be time for the EPA to take a look at the PM standard one more time.
With H.R. 1984, we are simply saying, let us take the correct approach. If you do not know who is in attainment or out of attainment because you are not measuring PM2.5, let us put this whole thing on a moratorium. Let us keep the current standard. Let us build the monitors. Let us do the science first. It is a common sense approach, and in fact, I think EPA should join us in trying to reach that approach.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am also bothered by, and again, Mr. Dingell has mentioned, about the fact that each group is being told, ''Well, we are not after agriculture. We are after the steel industry and we are after the utility industry.''
I was at the meeting with the staff from the Commerce Committee when we were meeting with the executives and the management of the United Steelworkers Union in Pittsburgh. I sat at the table when they assured us that they had been told by the EPA, ''We are not after the steel industry. We are after agriculture and we are after the utility industry.'' And we almost fell out of our chairs because we had heard exactly the opposite from every other group that we had talked to.
So, you know, the problem is, I do not know who is telling who what, but there is a problem.
Mr. Dingell also mentioned about the fact that one of our colleagues from Ohio had gotten a letter that talked about the fact that he would not have to worry; that the industries in his two counties would not have to add any kind of pollution equivalent to be in attainment.
Thank you very much, Mr. Dingell.
Well, how do they know that? They do not have the monitors to measure it.
So how does EPA know whether or not there is going to be additional equipment that is needed?
And with the citizen's lawsuit provision, even if the EPA has the greatest intention to let a region slide or to let a particular industry slide, it only takes one citizen's lawsuit to put all of those great intentions aside, and there is nothing they can do about it. As I just alluded to, their attorneys haven't done well in court thus far.
Another one of our attorneysanother one of our members, our colleagues from Ohio, got a letter that when reference to the Amish community, which says analysis of the actual composition of the particles would be needed because the levels would be significantly affected by the regional transport of PM2.5.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC EPA's policy is to provide exemptions to the wood stove curtail program, where wood burning is the sole source of heat for cooking in the household.
Again, if you have a citizen's lawsuit, how can EPA say, ''Well, we are not going to monitor just woodcoal stoves?''
And they told us, in fact, it was during Director Browner's own testimony, that the EPA was not going to specifically designate to any area what steps they had to take to come into compliance, to come into attainment. They said, ''We will not tell you you cannot burn a charcoal grill. The EPA will not tell you you cannot use a two-cycle engine to mow your lawn. The EPA will not tell you you cannot drive diesel vehicles. We will not tell you you cannot plow your fields. We will not tell you you cannot fly your airplanes.''
No. They will not tell you, but it will be the local elected officials who have to make that decision. Now that is when they are talking about what the EPA is going to force you to do.
Now they come back, speaking out of the other side of their mouth, in a letter, in writing, to a member of Congress, saying that, ''Well, we are going to let the people with the wood stoves off the hook.''
Under what legal authority can the EPA do that? How can they do that? I do not think they have the legal authority to be able to do that.
We are concerned, and I will bring this to a conclusion because I would rather hear your concerns and answer your questions.
We are concerned because the longer that we get into this, we are convinced that the science that was done was done in a manner like playing the game, Jeopardy. We will give you the answer. You give us the questions. And that is really the way it appears the science was done.
They knew the conclusions they wanted to come to. They knew what they wanted to do and kind of focused the studies in the direction to get those kind of answers.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I am wrong, H.R. 1984 will not do this Nation any harm because, as Mr. Dingell said, we do not lose one moment by us, as Members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, working together, saying, ''Let us authorize the money to build the monitors. Let us deploy the monitors. Let us measure the air, and then we will implement these regulations.''
If I am right and Carol Browner is wrong, they implement these regulations, we will lose billions of dollars of investment across this country. We will lose the opportunity for millions of people to have jobs and there will be a devastating health effect in those communities when people cannot afford to go to the doctor. When they have the other kind of problems created in a family and in a community by unemployment or underemployment.
Let us be safe. Let us take the careful approach. Let us do the science first, and that is why I appreciate the co-sponsorship from so many members of this committee on H.R. 1984.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back my time. The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank Mr. Klink for the enlightening testimony.
I might announce Ms. Browner is here. Are there questions to be addressed to our colleagues?
Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman, I just want to congratulate Mr. Dingell, Mr. Klink, and Mr. Upton and other leaders for moving forward with this issue.
As we have heard from the two members at the witness table, the impact of these regulations goes far beyond simplly trying to clean up the air; these regulations will have a major impact on our economy. On behalf of all the members, I want to thank you for the work that you are doing.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Are there questions?
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Peterson.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I, too, want to commend their colleagues for their statements.
I would like to ask Mr. Klink, as I understand it, there is a process that we could go through where we disapprove these regulations. You have 60 legislative days. I think we set this process up here recently.
Why did you make the decision to proceed the way you are, rather than to proceed with going ahead and trying to get a straight up and down vote on this approval?
Mr. KLINK. I thank my dear colleague from Minnesota for giving me the credit for being able to make those decisions, being in the minority as a third-year member.
We did not make those decisions on our own. This was a bipartisan consultation. I included many of the top people in the Republican and in the Democratic side, Mr. Dingell and others, and we just deemed this to make most sense, because, as I said at the end of my statement, the point of all of usyou know, I have two children. My daughter is about to turn age 10. My son is 12. I hope we live in the Pittsburgh region the rest of our life.
If Ms. Browner is correct, I would like to know that we did what we could to monitor the air and to find out if we are headed down the right road. And so the H.R. 1984 approach seemed to make sense for me.
And, you know, I said to so many of my Democratic colleagues, if I were to have said to you a year ago that we would get our friends on the Republican side to line up with us and spend this kind of money to do environmental monitoring, you probably would have not believed it. But they have come to the table and we have to join them to say, ''This is just the right thing to do.''
And that resolution of disapproval I also think had not been done before, and that was a little more risky. This seemed to be the right approach.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Bliley and Mr. Upton and other people on the Republican side that worked with us seemed to think the H.R. 1984 approach was the best.
Mr. PETERSON. One more question, if I could, for Mr. Dingell, and I am not sure I understand all of this stuff.
But as I have been looking, when I was on the Government Reform Committee, we had hearings in Portland, ME where they were in nonattainment that was being causedthe testimony at that hearing was being caused by Boston and New York, who were given longer to come under compliance, and they were causing the problem, and yet the EPA was up there forcing Portland, ME to deal with a problem that was caused some other place.
As I understand it, San Francisco, you have the same kind of situation in Congressman Combest's district, where 30 percent of the problem in his district is being caused by San Francisco, and they also have a longer period of time to apply.
One of the things I am concerned about with what is going on here with these statements that now agriculture is not going to be singled out or these other industries, are we going to have a situation like developed apparently when we went through this the first time, where we are going to give people special consideration and give certain areas of the country special consideration so that they can allow these to go into effect and then cause these kind of problems, or am I way off track on the history of this, you know?
Mr. DINGELL. You are not off track at all. I think your concern is a legitimate one.
The original Clean Air Act set up a time during which all of the different States had to bring their areas into attainment under the Clean Air Act. The areas where it was worse, like Los Angeles, New York, and places like that, got more time. And that was rather difficult for me because my part of the country did not get more time. But it was expected that, ultimately, everybody would come into compliance and that the air would be cleaned up.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things that you need to note here is that we are not seeking to roll back any standards. We are trying to keep in place the standards which are now in place and which, in fact, are working and in which, in fact, are cleaning the air.
There is a problem, as you mentioned, with transport. In other words, air does not respect city limits, county lines, State lines or national boundaries, for that matter, so it tends to move. But it moves in peculiar ways, which as you can see from the testimony so far, we do not really fully understand. On particulates, we do not know how it moves because we have only got something like 50 monitors for the whole country, 50 States, 50 monitors. That does not enable you to know. We will need three or more just for the District of Columbia alone.
So there is a problem, as you mentioned, with transport. But it is impossible to tell how the transport is going to work either with regard to the ozone regulations or with regard to the particulate regulations because, as everybody here notes, the science has not been done. There is neither the basis on which good science can be done, because we do not have the particulate monitors, nor is there a consensus on the science.
So the answer to your question has to, at best, be speculative.
Mr. KLINK. If I could also just add, the gentleman brings up a fine point. There is nothing in the new regulations which helps EPA to deal with the transport issue. There is nothing in these new regulations which gives them a tool through which to deal with the transport problem of pollution.
And our part of western Pennsylvania is one of those areas that, on certain days, no matter if we moved out of southwestern Pennsylvania, we would be out of compliance for ozone. We simply could not clean the air enough.
And we want you to keep in mind, this July past, the Vice President came to Pittsburgh and told Mayor Tom Murphy that he would be willing to work with Pittsburgh on these matters. He said less emphasis should be placed on measuring air quality at fixed sites and more focus should be on the source of the pollutants which would lend one to think that we are going to work on this transport issue.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, see, the promises are made. As I said earlier, the EPA has made a lot of promises to people. But the same thing is going to happen to these other people that happened to Pittsburgh.
Twenty-one days later, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the EPA's decision, decided to bump southwest Pennsylvania up to serious nonattainment, and the EPA is committed to do that.
Never mind that the court found that a great amount of those pollutants were coming from West Virginia and Ohio. We are in serious nonattainment.
That means, in serious nonattainment, that anybody that wants to build a plant or wants to expand has to use the best technology available and it becomes more expensive to have that kind of construction in southwestern Pennsylvania.
So they will build elsewhere.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I thank both gentlemen, and it just seems to me that we ought to get these issues resolved before we go off on some other tangent that is going to cause us more problems.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. AgainMs. Browner is waving. Further questions of our colleagues?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. I have one question I would like to ask of Mr. Dingell.
Can you tell me the difference in what the EPA is proposing in their implementation plan and what H.R. 1984 does with reference to the particulate matter.
Mr. DINGELL. Good question. Ooh, boy.
H.R. 1984 really does not change the dates that EPA would have to meet with regard to achieving the air quality standards. What it does is it basically lays out the way in which implementation would be done. It requires there to be the necessary research, procurement of monitors and other things that would enable EPA to then move into place whatever regulations would best achieve protection of public health, both with regard to ozone and with regard to particulates.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so 1984 does not create delays. It does avoid the ambiguity of possibly having in place two standards on both ozone and particulates, and it sees to it that the necessary research, procurement and other things, which would enable EPA to move forward rapidly at the appropriate time, as fixed in the statute, can be done.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Dingell.
Mr. Klink, is there anything you would like to add?
Mr. KLINK. No. I think that Mr. Dingell gave a great explanation.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know these gentlemen talked about that generally in their statement, but I was asked to ask that particular question. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen very much for testifying.
Mr. DINGELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. KLINK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Would somebody notify Ms. Browner that she has a seat at the table.
Good morning, Ms. Browner. Welcome.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us about an issue that, as you well know, is often contentious and of great concern and emotional concern to agriculture and other industries.
I might say, at the outset, that any comments here are about the policy and not about you personally. We respect you highly. We all recognize, however, that you may not be the last Administrator of the EPA.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I hope not.
The CHAIRMAN. So our concerns are legitimate and will be to the point, and please do not take anything said here personally.
We are delighted to have you here and we are anxious to hear your statement. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF CAROL M. BROWNER, ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for inviting me to discuss EPA's newly updated air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter and the effects that these standards may have on the agricultural community.
The standards that we are here to discuss which were announced by the President in June and which I signed in July are the most significant step we have taken in a generation to protect the American people, most especially our children from the health hazards of air pollution. Together, these standards will protect 125 million Americans, including 35 million children from the adverse health effects of breathing polluted air. They will prevent approximately 15,000 premature deaths, about 350,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and nearly a million cases of significantly decreased lung functions in our children.
Clearly, the best available science shows that the previous standards were not adequately protecting the American public from the hazards of breathing polluted air. Revising these standards, modernizing these standards, updating these standards will bring enormous health benefits to the nation. That is why we took action on clean air.
Mr. Chairman, these proposed standards are based on the most thorough, the most extensive scientific review ever conducted by the EPA for any rulemaking. The review of particles, fine particles has taken nearly a decade, 10 years, and it has been nearly 20 years since the last time the ozone standard was thoroughly reviewed. These updated standards are based on a total of more than 250 of the latest best scientific studies on ozone, and PM, comprising literally thousands of pages, all of them published, peer reviewed, fully debated, thoroughly analyzed by an independent scientific committee, CASAC. We are talking literally peer review of peer review of peer review.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is good science. This is solid science.
Regarding the allegation that these standards will wreak economic havoc on many of our Nation's cities, let me say this: The implementation plan which we put forward simultaneously with the standards is designed to give our States, local Governments and businesses the flexibility they will need to meet these standards in a reasonable, affordable and cost effective manner.
Thanks to a multi-State program to reduce regional or transported ozoneozone can move very long distancesthe vast majority of cities that do not currently meet the new ozone standard will be able to do so without any additional new, local pollution control measures.
The implementation plan also provides for the completion of another 5-year review of all of the health effects of fine particles before any designations are made.
Mr. Chairman, there is no good reason for repealing these new standards. There is every reason to get on with the process of implementing them, and thereby, protecting the health of the American people, which is precisely what Congress required us to do when it rewrote the Clean Air Act in 1990.
Our common sense implementation plan is designed to address the concerns that have been raised about these new standards, and we ought to give it a chance to work.
Let me turn to another misconception about these new standards, the focus of this committee's hearing, our Nation's farmers.
I want to be as clear and concise as possible. It will not happen. This is not about our Nation's farmers. These new air quality standards will not require any farmer to change the way he or she does their job.
EPA is not going to regulate farmers as a means of reducing fine particles in the air. We will not restrict tilling. We will not regulate ammonia emissions from animal waste, and there is not going to be any wholesale action against agricultural burning on private lands.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC States are not going to target farmers.
It is true that the Governors of this country have the opportunity to decide how best to reduce the pollution within their State, how best to provide the public health benefits. I do not think there is any Governor in this country that is going to target their farmers.
Why not? Because there is no reason to. It simply is not necessary and it would not be effective.
The fears, the concerns we have heard about the effects on agriculture, unfortunately, are based on misconceptions and misinformation. The fact is, and we have said it time and time again, the reductions needed to meet the new public health standards will come from large industrial sources such as major power plants. That is where these pollution problems occur. Those are the sources.
If agricultural production is any partany part of the air pollution at all, it is, at best, a very, very small part. Soil particles are almost always larger than the size of the fine particles with which we are concerned, with which we have sought to set a new standard.
Soil particles are stirred up at ground level. They are not released high into the air through a smoke stack. Soil particles do not travel very far, and they normally do not add to air pollution in distant cities.
We are not worried about what is happening at the ground level. We are worried about what is happening up in the air.
When EPA monitored for fine particles in large, heavy, agricultural areas, not urban areas, but in the agricultural areas that many of you represent, soil particles accounted for less than 7 percent of the fine particles with which we are concerned. They are a tiny, tiny part of the problem and there is no reason to focus on agricultural practices.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fact is, Mr. Chairman, farms are but a small part, and let me say again, the biggest sources are the major power plants and other large industrial facilities. And it is the large sources that EPA and the States will focus on. It is where you can find the most cost effective reduction of pollution and provide the public health benefits.
It is my hope, Mr. Chairman, that today we can put to rest any fears about the effect of these standards on farmers. At the same time, let me ask that the committee take into account the benefit that these standards will have on the agricultural production in this country.
The ozone standards, not fine particles here. I will address a pollutant that is known to inhibit crop production. Ozone is bad for farmers. It is bad for the crops they grow.
Over the past decade, there have been more than 50 scientific studies showing ozone's significant adverse impacts on yields of wheat, corn, barley, beans, soybeans, cotton and tomatoes.
The independent scientific panel that reviewed EPA's proposed air quality standards unanimously agreed that damage was occurring to crops at levels below what was previously thought acceptable for ozone.
We estimate that the new ozone standard will reduce crop losses by more than half a billion dollars each year. Further, the new air quality standards will increase the demand for cleaner burning gasoline, and that means a higher demand for ethanol. More good news for America's farmers.
Mr. Chairman, we have a sensitivity to the needs of America's farmers. Like all Americans, we deeply appreciate their vital importance to the Nation's economy, to our food supply, and to our high standard of living.
Farmers are, in so many respects, the backbone of our country. They are providing some of the most significant, the most cost effective solutions to a wide variety of environmental challenges, and EPA has worked diligently over many years, not only to avoid unfairly burdening them with anti-pollution regulations, but also to find ways to enhance their economic prospects through environmental initiatives.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We continue to work with USDA on its Agriculture Air Quality Task Force, sharing information, exploring matters of concern to the agricultural community.
Soon, Secretary Glickman and I will sign a memorandum of understanding designed to involve the agricultural community in a cooperative effort to address agricultural related air quality issues.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, most importantly, America's farmers should know that these newly updated air quality standards will not have a detrimental effect on their ability to do their jobs, to support their families, to feed our Nation, to feed the world. That is the bottom line.
Thank you, and I am more than happy to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Browner appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Thank you very much.
I think just to point up what will be, I am sure, extensive questioning, Ms. Browner, is the point that you make in your statement. You are assuring us that agriculture is not going to be involved. You are assuring us that agriculture will not be impacted, and yet that is a judgment position of yours.
We have, with your promulgation of rules, a definite standard to meet. Now we understand that EPA will not shut down agriculture, but the Department of Environmental Quality in Oregon may well do so trying to meet your standards.
Now that is our concern, and frankly, you cannot speak for the Governor of Oregon, nor can you speak for the DEQ in the State of Oregon as to the implementation of PM2.5 and ozone standards. So your very testimony raises concerns especially when we have heard from our colleagues that spokespeople from your department have guaranteed, on the one hand, that we are not after steel mills. We are really after agriculture. And then we hear, we are not after agriculture, we are after steel mills. Now we are after large power plants.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Frankly, we would just like to be excluded in agriculture and let us go after large power plants, then we could hold this hearing in another place in this building.
Ms. BROWNER. But I disagree.
The CHAIRMAN. The concern here, you see, is your interpretation of what is a strict standard, and by all your kind words for us, we believe you, but we do not think you have the ability to carry out what you have said.
Now that is a statement, and I want to let you have a chance to respond, so let me put it in a question form.
How can you guarantee me and the State of Oregon that PM2.5 and the ozone standards will not impact agriculture in Oregon?
Ms. BROWNER. In looking to the States to craft the State-by-State plans, the State implementation plans for the pollution reductions, we actually provide guidance to the States about the best way to do this, the common sense, the cost effective solutions. We essentially provide the States with the tools necessary to go about reducing pollution.
At the Senate hearing with your colleague, Senator Lugar, we discussed and agreed to pursue in the guidance we would provide to the States on how to craft their plans, a discussion of farmers and why it made no sense to focus on farmers, to highlight the fact that study after study shows that soil or particle soil or dust from farming practices are not the problem. They are not the way to go about providing cleaner air for the public, and we would welcome the assistance of this committee in structuring that kind of practice.
The CHAIRMAN. Ms. Browner, there is a citizen's lawsuit opportunity. If you do not carry out the law as prescribed, citizens may file lawsuits, and then we have the judgment of the court as to whether or not a State fulfills the requirement of EPA. So we are immediately at risk.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, under the Clean Air Act, the only opportunity for a citizen's suit is toif a State fails to write a plan, not to engage in the specifics of the plan.
If a State does not write a plan, it is true that the State could find themselves the subject of litigation. But if the State writes a plan, then they have complied with their requirements to produce a pollution reduction plan that meets a public health standard.
Our review of those plans, if I might just add, is we are not allowed to tell a State if they choose a certain type.
What we review is whetherI am trying to figure out how to simplify thiswhether or not the public health protections that Congress directed us to provide will, in fact, be achieved.
You know, I want to say something. I, in my position over the last 4 1/2 years, I have certainly heard from a lot of Governors about air quality issues. I mean it has probably been one of our most significant areas of concern, and I have never heard from any Governor that they want to put requirements on farmers. I simply do not believe a Governor of any State is going to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, with due respect, they have not had the chance, but we have not heard from them.
Ms. BROWNER. Well, they have been providing plans over the last 4 1/2 years and they have not done that.
The CHAIRMAN. We are going to hold very carefully to the time allotments because we have a lot of members, Ms. Browner, that want to ask you questions.
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you and welcome, Ms. Browner.
Following up on the chairman's line of questioning, you believe the fears and concerns we have heard about the effects on agriculture have been based on the lack of dialogue, misconception, and misinformation.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What about the industries such as utilities, fuel, transportation, chemical, and others who will be affected by the standards and passing incresed costs on to agriculture producers?
Have you given any thought whatsoever to the fact that any cost imposed on industry, for standards that are not based on good science, are costs that agriculture cannot pass on to consumers.
We are in a world agriculture market and increased costs, whether they be apply to utilities or other industries, result in a cost burden.
Have you given any consideration to the impact of these air standards on agriculture?
Ms. BROWNER. We have conducted a cost benefit analysis. We have made that publicly available, beginning in lastI guess last November. We took comments on it during the public comment period. We made adjustments based on those comments.
Under the Clean Air Act, we are told to make a public health decision based on the best available science, not a cost benefit decision. But because we understood there would be tremendous interest in both the cost of reducing pollution in the public's air and the benefits, we did do such a study, and we did let people review that study, and we did incorporate the comments we received into the final report on the cost and benefits.
What the cost benefits showed is, when you look at the cost of reducing both of these pollutants, when you look at the benefits that we can monetize, we do not seek to put a monetary value on all of the benefits that the scientists tell us exist, but on those where the economists agree that you can assign a dollar amount.
What the study showed us is that the benefits that would derive from cleaner air, a dollar amount associated with those benefits exceed the cost of reducing the pollution. And that is the history of the Clean Air Act.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we did, in fact, look at, for the first time ever, and make publicly available a cost benefit analysis for a public health air standard.
Mr. STENHOLM. You are very eloquent but I do not have the time to debate you. You are so sure of your scientific basis, but my own research and other testimony indicates that there is reasonable doubt that these standards will accomplish their objective. That is the problem that we have on this committee.
You tried to assure the chairman when you stated, ''I really find it hard to believe any Governor, particularly a Governor of a farming State, would agree to agriculture controls.''
It is important to remember that the same Governor also represents utilities, energy, steel, automobile workers and many other affected industries.
Do you not think that a Governor in this situation may more likely spread the controls over all industries, including agriculture, as opposed to making one or two shoulder the entire burden?
Ms. BROWNER. We, in developing the implementation plan for ozone haveI want to use this as an exampleworked with the States for the better parts of 2 years now to understand what are the large sources of the ongoing ozone problem.
Where can you most cost effectively reduce the levels of ozone, and what the majority of States we have worked with agree is that focusing on the large utilities at this point in time is where you can get the most cost-effective reductions in the levels of ozone pollution.
Mr. STENHOLM. If I might interrupt you on that point, you have seen this chart. This comes from Sally Shaver, Director, Air Quality Strategies and Standards Divisions.
This says agriculture and forests are responsible for 34.3 percent of the anticipated emissions.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I would be more than happy to explain, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Show this to Ms. Browner.
Ms. BROWNER. This isif the committeeMr. Chairman, I am out of time. If I might have a moment to explain what is a rather technical issue but I think important?
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, thank you.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
I am going to simplify this. There are two types of fine particles: Those which are referred to as ''direct,'' and those which are commonly referred to as ''secondary.''
The direct ones could include something like dust generated from tilling.
The focus of these public health standards is not on the direct emissions. It is on the secondary emissions.
The secondary emissions come from large industrial sources. They come from smokestacks that disperse the pollutants high in the air. The pollutants move some distance.
That is our focus of concern. It is not the direct emissions.
What this chart is telling you is that it is attempting to explain direct versus secondary, and I think you ask a very, very appropriate question.
But our focus is not on direct emissions because that is not where you can get a common-sense, cost-effective solutions.
Maybe another way to explain this to you is a study that was done in the San Joaquin Valley, and I am sure many members here know this part of the country far better than I do. But it was a study to look at agricultural practices in the valley, which as I understand it, is one of the largest agricultural areas in the United States, and to measure fine particles in the Valley as a result of farming practices.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And what the study found, only 7 percentand this is in the most heavily, or one of the most heavily agriculturalized areas of the countryonly 7 percent of the fine particles came from farming. The rest came from other sources.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. COMBEST. Thank you, Ms. Browner, for appearing here today.
Is it possible, under your new standards, for a community to be declared a nonattainment community because of pollution which is naturally made, which is God made, dust, Mt. St. Helen's eruption, anything which is moved by air naturally? Wildfires?
Ms. BROWNER. Yes. The simple answer is, no. Maybe I could just take a moment to explain.
Mr. COMBEST. Please do.
Ms. BROWNER. In determining the quality, the amount of pollution in the air, a series of monitors are used.
In the case of the fine particles, we have agreed with our appropriators to cover the full cost of that network. Normally, it would be borne in part by the States, but we have agreed to cover the full cost.
These monitors record data. It is then interpreted through computers.
Any natural event, Mt. St. Helens, large fires, forest fires, wind storms, those data points, if you will, the measurements of the amount of fine particles in the air at that point in time are discounted, they are taken out of the data base.
Look, we all recognize that these natural events will occur, and this is not about natural events. This is about industrial sources. This is about the pollution we are generating, not about a dust storm.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COMBEST. All right.
Ms. BROWNER. So there is a mechanism for taking them out of the field of information.
Mr. COMBEST. Those are taken out, then. They are not even considered at all in a community when you are measuring the particulate matter that would lead up to a decision of attainment or nonattainment.
Ms. BROWNER. We do not count those days. That is the simplest way to explain it. Those days would not be counted.
Mr. COMBEST. At all?
Ms. BROWNER. No. At all. It does not make any sense.
Mr. COMBEST. I agree.
Ms. BROWNER. We do not do it.
Mr. COMBEST. I totally concur. That is where I was going is if this passed the logic test or not.
In a community thatwell, let me back up just a minute and make sure I clarify a point.
You said on those days, there were wind storms.
Ms. BROWNER. You said as an example. You had a longer list.
Mr. COMBEST. Right.
Ms. BROWNER. I agreed with the list.
Mr. COMBEST. Right. But in a area that there is athat the normal wind velocity on an average day is substantially higher, it would not be called a ''wind storm.'' But just in a day in which the windthe average wind velocity in an area might be 10 miles an hour versus some that might be 2 miles an hour, anything which is collected that is moving naturally, dirt in this instance or dust, would not even be considered at all in the compilation of particulate matter in the air for determination of attainment or nonattainment?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. We agree. Let me explain why.
I think some of the confusion, and I completely understand this.
Mr. COMBEST. Let me explain. Let me tell you where I am coming from.
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah.
Mr. COMBEST. Some of the confusion. My home is Lubbock, TX. Under the 1990 Clean Air amendments, Lubbock was declared nonattainment because the dust blows.
Ms. BROWNER. That is what I wanted to explain.
Remember that the focus on fine particles, the size 2.5 particles, that is 2.5 microns is new. What we have focused on previously was a larger sized particle as directed by Congress, which you all are very familiar with, PM10. That is a coarser particle.
It is true that when wethe health studies that focus on that, that you were picking up more of the dust situation.
By going to the finer particle measurement, the 2.5 micron, the kind of issueand I would be more than happy to sit down with you about your district, specifically. But the kind of concerns that people had raised over the coarser particles, the PM10, are not as likely to occur on the face of it, and then, if they do occur, there are mechanisms, as I have explained, for insuring that we do not take measurements or we do not use data points from days where you have a certain kind of weather or wind events occurring.
Mr. COMBEST. Could you submit those for the hearing record, those assurances to which you used the data which you used to reach that decision?
Ms. BROWNER. Oh, certainly.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, we appreciate you being with us today.
My questions, they are along the lines of the previous questioner's about things that some of us perceive to be beyond our control.
I just have to tell you that, coming from Minnesota, we feel pretty put upon up in my part of the world bybecause the 60 percent populations in the Twin Cities, and they do not have a clue about the real world in northern Minnesota. And putting them in charge of this makes me very nervous.
So if I give them to Wisconsin or some part of whatever.
Ms. BROWNER. I will leave that to you.
Mr. PETERSON. Anyway, I have been exposed to this problem that is out there where under the old rules, we have had areas put into nonattainment because things have come in from another area that have been given exemptions or been given longer to be phased in and so forth.
And what I am concerned about is, you know, are we going to haveyou have not been able to solve that problem, apparently, because it is still out there, and maybe you have and part of my question is, what are you doing about that?
And are we going to get into the same kind of situation with this?
I mean are we going to get these new regulations in place and have something be transported into our area from someplace else that we have nothing to do with it, and all of a sudden be put under some kind of new restrictions?
What protection are we going to have that we are not going to have those kind of problems with this particular standard that we have had and continue to have with the old standard?
Ms. BROWNER. If I might make sure that all the members understand that this is an ozone issue. There are different questions that arise under the two standards. And as I understand your point here, it is about ozone.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things that the science has showed us over the last 20 years with respect to ozone is that it moves long distances. This summer, when DC experienced ozone red alert days, the model showed that the cause of that, the pollutants causing that was coming from as far as 200 to 300 hundred miles away.
So the work we have done with the States, and your State participated, the Ozone Transport Advisory Group, was to look at how to address the transport problem. How to look at the sources that were contributing to transport causing problems downwind, upwind within the air shed.
The States have agreed to a program of regional controls focused on the large utilities to resolve the transport issue. It was something that had to be addressed under the old standard, the one-hour standard, and the fact of the matter is that the plan that we developed in conjunction with the States is adequate, both to the old standard and to the new tougher public health standard, that it will give you the level of reductions you need for the vast majority of areas that experience transport problems.
Correct me if I am wrong, my memory is that at this point in time, Minnesota has no nonattainment areas.
Mr. PETERSON. I am not talking about Minnesota.
Ms. BROWNER. OK.
Mr. PETERSON. I was at a hearing in Portland, ME where you said the problem that was caused in Boston and New York. You put them under nonattainment when they did not cause a problem. We have got it going in California.
Ms. BROWNER. That is what this is about solving is for the first time
Mr. PETERSON. But you have not been able to solve that problem. We have that situation going on out there.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I am concerned about
Ms. BROWNER. But that is what we agreed to do with the States.
Mr. PETERSON. Well, OK.
Ms. BROWNER. That is what we now have an agreement on.
Mr. PETERSON. Now what I am worried about is are we going to allow certain people off the hook with these standards because from what II was not here, but it looks like they had to, in order to politically get enough support to put these standards in, in the first place, is give certain areas more consideration than others, especially areas that had a lot of votes.
What it looks like to me, when they first put these in in New York, San Francisco, Boston, different standards get longer to phase these things in. So can you assure me that we are going to treat everybody the same and big population areas are not going to get special treatment and we are not going to get a mishmash of regulations out there because of political pressure.
Maybe I am wrong, but that is what it looks like to me. Maybe I am taking a cynical view of this, but
Ms. BROWNER. No. No. No. In 1990, Congress rewrote the Clean Air Act. It is true that Congress made the decision that for areas with the most difficult pollution problems, they would have to do more, and therefore, they would be given some additional time to do more than areas that did not have as bad a problem. That is certainly true.
Mr. PETERSON. So then we put areas that had nothing to do with this under nonattainment.
Why did they not think about that at the time, or why we did not stand up and say
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. Well, we did in our implementation plan.
And, Mr. Chairman, I am out of time, but if I might explain what we did for these areas because we agree with you. And I have spent a lot of time over the last 4 1/2 years looking at the issue and visiting with people from areas where, you know, they are doing everything they reasonably can to reduce their own pollution, and yet they continue to experience the adverse effects of pollution from another area.
And so what we did in our implementation plan, and this is the first time an administration has ever both put forward a public health standard and an implementation plan. Generally, one, the implementation plan, comes several years after the public health standard. And we did not think that was the way to proceed. We thought people should see this in its full context.
What the implementation plan does is create an opportunity for areas to have a transitional title. And the point of that is for an area which has done everything they should properly do locally, who has a transport problem which will be solved through a regional approach of, in many instances, large utilities. We think they should have an opportunity for this transitional designation, and we have structured a legal argument with the Justice Department. We have structured an implementation plan to do just that.
Let me give you one fact that I think shows you the magnitude of our implementation plan.
Four counties that meet the current, the old one-hour ozone standard, but might not, based on all dataand they get to collect more databut based on all data, might not meet a tougher public health standard.
The vast majority, and it is conceivable that all of them, when we get there, which is 3 years away, will qualify for, at a minimum, transitional, and many of them, simply because of a regional approach to the large utilities, will remain in attainment.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. We must go on.
Ms. BROWNER. By focusing on the utilities, you get the reductions for ozone.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, thank you for being here this morning.
I continue to have concerns about standards, inasmuch as so many areas continue to have problems in meeting existing standards, and now we are talking about new standards, and I believe by figures from EPA in July, you indicate 546 counties will fail to meet the ozone standard, 283 counties will fail to meet the particulate matter standard, 634 counties in all perhaps will violate the rule.
And, you know, as much as the League of Cities, the counties, the NCSA and other groups have continued concerns or are asking for time out, and we have so many areas that are having trouble meeting current standards, your comment, please, on how in the world are we going to expect people to begin to meet new standards when we are having people with existing.
Ms. BROWNER. First of all, nothing anybody, any city, any community, any State is doing to clean up their air is inappropriate. It is all about the same end point. It is all about the same goal, cleaner air for people to breathe.
And in looking at the science and in modernizing and updating the public health standards, all of the work that is going on should go on and is appropriate to go on. And what may be necessary in some areas is to add to that work an additional component, for example, a regional focus on the large utilities, a cap and trade type program which can be very, very cost effective.
The specific issue of numbers of counties, and I know this is an issue that has come up, many of you are, I think, familiar with the MSA designation that is used. It is a metropolitan statistical area. So, for example, it may be that your focus in terms of air quality is a large urban city, but you pick up surrounding counties.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In adjusting the standards, we also gave the States the ability to adjust the lines, if you will, because we have learned a lot about how you should or should not draw the lines.
I think the numbers you use would say that a Governor is going to draw the largest possible number of counties into the program. And based on our conversations with the States and the Governors, we do not think that is going to happen. That is not in their interest.
Mr. BARRETT. Is there a workable time frame, then, for the implementation of these regulations and is consideration being given to those that are or will be having continued problems with meeting existing regulations?
Ms. BROWNER. Yes. Absolutely. There is a time frame. We have published the time frame. If you would like, I can run through it very quickly for both standards.
I think it is abundantly fair in speaking to both the public health needs of the American people and the work that cities and States and industry have been doing.
I am more than happy to walk you through the model.
Mr. BARRETT. Not necessarily, but consideration, again, will be given to those that are trying to meet existing
Ms. BROWNER. Right. Generally, the position we haveI am going to try and summarize it here.
For an area that has work ongoing towards the original standard, as long as they maintain that work, as long as they maintain their commitment, which will get you pollution reductions, they will not be required to do anything new for ozone until they have completed the work in the time frames that they have promised their citizens.
They do not have to. They do not have to.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now many of them will choose to because there are better solutions they may want to use, but legally, they will not be required to.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you. You are very certain that the scientific proof is there now to justify the new regulations. You have been very clear about that.
Has this scientific information been peer reviewed by scientists outside the EPA?
Ms. BROWNER. Oh, yes. The 250 studies that I made reference to are studies that are not done at EPA. They are studies that are done by the leading scientists in the country who have long records on the issues which they study.
Every single one of those studies was a published peer reviewed study before it ever came into our process for review. In coming into our process, we used an independent panel to then conduct, if you will, another peer review of those studies and what the appropriate reading of the studies were.
Not to confuse you, but we began the process with 3,000 published studies that was narrowed to 250. Those are the studies that the independent peer review panel thought were appropriate for consideration because those were the studies that spoke to the public health consequences of air pollution.
So the studies, for example, on agricultural effects on air pollution are not included in the 250 because what Congress told us to do was set a public health standard.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you, Ms. Browner. My time is expired.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
I am going to continue to call on members according to their arrival.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Berry.
Mr. BERRY Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, I am reminded of an old joke in my part of the country that, ''I am from the Government and I am here to help you.'' And quite frankly, I am more concerned about the attempt to make public policy without the use of good science and the attempt to make public policy through citizen's lawsuit, and then the Agency just caving in to a solution that they cannot legislatively achieve.
We will do it in the future with my part of the country and my grandchildren and so on and so forth, but I am the air quality as it exists today, or will exist under these standards that we already have.
And I recently went through an experience where EPA attempted, along with USDA and FDA, to destroy the poultry and agriculture industry and the livestock industry in the midsouth without using any good science whatsoever. They just arbitrarily picked a number out of the air and attempted to shut out all of the soybean processing and the meat production and processing in my part of the country.
And I find it very difficult to accept that we would not be in agriculture impacted by these regulations. And if that be the case, I wonder why we are even doing this. If that is the case, is that written into your regulations?
Is it on paper?
Is it in concrete that we will not be impacted?
Ms. BROWNER. We have soughtwe put it in writing in numerous ways. We have responded to questions from a number of members, questions from thewe have worked with theSecretary Glickman and USDA and responded via the Air Quality Task Force that USDA is managing as part of this effort.
And as I explained earlier, we would welcome the ability to work with this committee in crafting the instructions, the guidance, if you will, that we will send to the States to ensure that the farming concerns which we all have are spoken to.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BERRY. Yes, ma'am. In all due respect, you just got through telling us that we would not be impacted.
Ms. BROWNER. That is correct.
Mr. BERRY. And so
Ms. BROWNER. EPA has no intention to regulate farmers.
Mr. BERRY. Right.
Ms. BROWNER. Absolutely not.
Mr. BERRY. Right. So then it would be agreeable with you if we just wrote that in?
Ms. BROWNER. I would not recommend amending the Clean Air Act.
Mr. BERRY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, it is my understanding that this is all in response to a court decision that asked you to complete the ongoing ozone review and make decisions on both the ozone and particulate matters standards. But the court did not require that you implement these standards, right?
Ms. BROWNER. Actually, that statement is not really correct. I would be more than happy to explain what happened.
There was not a court order on thoseI am more than happy to explain.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. There was not a court order on the ozone?
Ms. BROWNER. Correct.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Was there a court order on implementing?
Ms. BROWNER. No. If I might explain?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The time frame in which it should be implemented?
Ms. BROWNER. The time frames are largely spelled out in the Clean Air Act.
There was litigation over the failure of EPA to meet the Congressional 5-year review of the public health standards.
There was a court, I think it was in Arizona, a Federal Court in Arizona, that instructed EPA to conduct the Congressionally mandated 5-year review of the science for fine particles. Obviously, the court did not say what we should do with the result of that review.
There was not, however, a court order in the case of ozone. The law requires us to do a regular 5-year review for the six most commonly found air pollutants.
We did five of the six over the last several years. The one we did not do is lead because we have largely solved that problem in a national respect. We have individual areas we are still focused on.
Of the five we did review, we only proposed to change two. Three, we are maintaining because that is what the science tells us.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. You have answered my question.
You have talked about hundreds and hundreds of studies that were funneled into the Agency, but is it not true that actually there is only four studies that look for the connection between fine particle pollution and deaths? Only four published studies.
Ms. BROWNER. The fine particleI want to get you the right number of studiesthat were relied on, there were 32 peer reviewed studies for fine particles, nine of which focused on the 2.5 micron sites
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Only four of those have been published, though?
Ms. BROWNER. No. They are all published. We would be more than happy to provide you with the scientific journals where they were published.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right. As of 5 days ago, there were nine published, right, that dealt with the problem this committee is dealing with?
Ms. BROWNER. All of thewell, you agree, then, there were nine published? Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, as of the 10th, there were nine published or five?
Ms. BROWNER. No. During the case review
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Four?
Ms. BROWNER [continuing]. During the independent scientific panel's review, which concluded over a year ago, these were all published peer reviewed studies.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. OK. So there were nine studies instead of hundreds.
Ms. BROWNER. Well, you asked
Mrs. CHENOWETH. With regards to the subject matter we are dealing with today.
Ms. BROWNER. No. That is not accurate.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. With regards to the connection between the fine particle pollution and deaths, and that is what we are dealing with here.
Ms. BROWNER. There are 32 studies that looked at fine particles.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would be more than happy to provide you with the name of every study, where it was published, and what its focus was.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
You look at a variety of studies in the case of fine particles because you are concerned both with premature death, which is what studies have found, that when fine particles reach a certain level in the air, our older Americans experience premature death.
You also look at studies in terms of what happens in younger people and what the short term effects may be.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I understand that. I really do. I was just asking for the number.
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah. We will provide that.
Mr. Chairman, could we provide, for the record, the bibliography?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, please do that.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Our concern, and I think you have heard it expressed by the members of the committee, is that it is not just what you, in all sincerity, have been stating today, and I must say that your sincerity on a scale of 1 to 10 is 10.
The problem is that we are dealing with a massive bureaucracy, and when it comes to burning, which is an issue that is very important to agriculture, we have some fires that are accidental, which apparently will be exempted, but we do have other fires that are not accidental that are part of the maturity of the crops and the preparation of the soil.
In fact, Mark Scruggs, who is chief of the Research Branch of the National Parks Service Air Quality Division, and Donna Lamb, Air Quality Program Manager for the Forest Service, said that agriculture and prescribed burning are probably a bigger concern than milling and other dust related farming activities when it comes to haze formation.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And these are not large particulates, but how, on one hand, can you exempt a natural forest fire or a natural fire of any kind, naturally grass burning from a lightening strike and a farmer setting a field on fire to prepare his soil for the next year?
What logic would be incorporated in exempting one while not exempting the other?
The CHAIRMAN. Short answer, Ms. Browner.
Ms. BROWNER. We support the right of farmers to use prescribed burns. We support the right of forest managers, of Park Service officials to used prescribed burns. We think they are an important management tool. And what we have done is work with the relevant State, Federal, local agencies, the farming community to just make sure that it is the easiestfor example, that you do it on a day when the pollution is not going to be high otherwise.
There is no reason that farmers cannot continue to use prescribed burns. We think there are tremendous environmental benefits from these kind of management practices. It is not an air quality issue.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Etheridge.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Ms. Browner, thank you for being here today, and again, let me thank you for being kind enough to join our North Carolina chambers last week and the job you did with meeting with them.
I have several questions, but I am going to try to just move to one because I do not want to be redundant and some of the questions have been covered.
One deals with some things we have already heard this morning as it relates really to the President's announcement in July that the administration would go forward with the new standards. But he also said at that time that the implementation schedule would be delayed for 5 years to allow the completion of the nationwide monitoring and thewe have proposed legislation, as you are aware, House bill 1984, that would delay that implementation, but at the same time would provide $75 million for additional study of monitoring and research.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Would you comment on that?
Ms. BROWNER. We do not support that proposal, and let me explain why.
We believe there is a significant body of science that shows adverse public health consequences from current levels of pollution. We believe it is the responsibility of all of us to begin to take the steps that will result in the pollution reductions.
We did put forward a time line in the case of ozone recognizing that we have been working in communities for a long time. It builds on that work and allows us to provide the benefits of cleaner air.
In the case of fine particles, it is a new standard. We are the first to recognize that, to state that, and therefore, we allow for a more generous time frame, and we believe that is appropriate for two reasons:
One, to allow the Governors to collect the data, to make the decisions that they are allowed to make under the Clean Air Act to give them the full time allowed under the laws as Congress structured it.
Second, to allow for technology advancement to take place, for new solutions to emerge.
When you take both of those desires and you allow the time necessary to speak to those issues, what will alsothere will also be time for is to honor the Congressional requirement of another 5-year review.
So we will, again, conduct a 5-year science review which every President since President Carter, President Bush have supported. We will do the 5-year review, allowing for the implementation to move forward.
The bottom line, perhaps the most important thing I can say to you about implementation is, nobody is legally required to reduce air pollution until 2009.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now some places may make decisions because of how they can do it with other programs, but in terms of legal requirements, and that is, in part, a recognition, our recognition, the President's recognition that this is a new standard.
And if it might be helpful to the committee, we could provide these two explanations of the implementation schedule.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We would appreciate that.
[The EPA responded as follows:]
The following timelines for attainment of the ozone and PM2.5 standards differ due to the need to obtain valid PM2.5 monitoring data. Unlike ozone, for which data are currently available, PM2.5 data upon which to designate areas are generally unavailable except in certain limited cases. The attainment schedule for PM2.5 reflects this fact. For ozone, designations will be made in 2000, 3 years after the standards were set, and, as allowed by the Clean Air Act, attainment will occur in the 20002012 timeframe. For PM, due to the lack of data, designations will not be made until the 20022005 timeframe and attainment will not occur until the 20122017 timeframe.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Ms. BROWNER One is they are different and the other is for PM. And it is an effort on our part to recognize the need to do an additional science review.
But to go back to the bill that would have us do nothing for 5 years, I think that would do the people of this country a huge disservice.
The science shows us there is a public health problem. The science tells us it is time to start. Let us start our work. Let us do it in a thoughtful, considered manner, but let us not simply say, ''Wait 5, 7, 8 years.''
The CHAIRMAN. If the gentleman will yield for just one point here.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think it is, in fairness to Ms. Browner, that is not what the bill does. The bill delays implementation, 1984, for a period of 5 years, and you are not going to implement this until 2009.
Will you guarantee us you will be here in 2009?
Ms. BROWNER. I do not think I could guarantee you that.
Mr. Chairman, we may misunderstand the bill. Our reading of the bill is that the currentthe standards which we have recently sent to the Congress for your Congressional review would be gone. Gone.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, in all fairness to the authors of the bill and I am a co-sponsor, so I am a little sensitive.
Ms. BROWNER. OK.
The CHAIRMAN. It delays implementation of your regulations for a period of 5 years. It does not delay monitoring. It does not delay further scientific review, all the preparations you are doing anyway.
Ms. BROWNER. Does it maintain the new standard?
I guess that is where our confusion is, and maybecould help us understand that.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Thank you.
I'm sorry. Mr. Etheridge, please.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Mrs. EMERSON. Thank you for being here today.
This is probably a rather simple question, but I want to refer back to what Mr. Stenholm was talking about with regard to ancillary costs that perhaps the agriculture community would have imposed on them vis-a-vis increased transportation costs, perhaps increased utility costs to do their business.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How do you all really determine cost benefit analysis?
I mean how do you really determine how much is it going to cost this trucking company, or how much is it going to cost our nuclear power plant sites in Missouri, for example, to comply
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah. Yeah.
Mrs. EMERSON. I mean I am not asking you specifically.
How do you determine that? Are the stakeholders involved?
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah.
Mrs. EMERSON. Do you call upon those people and sit down with them?
Ms. BROWNER. Yes.
Mrs. EMERSON. Walk me through it.
Ms. BROWNER. Undertaking a cost benefit analysis is a very thoughtful and very thorough process, and there are economists who specialize in these kind of studies, includingyou know, this is not something I am comfortable with. This is not something I want to engage in.
Including such things, however, is putting a value on a human life. A dollar amount is assigned to a human life when you do these sorts of studies.
In terms of the cost to industry, the accepted form of analysis assumes, if you will, the worst case scenario. So, for example, it would assume no technology advances.
It sort of takes what you know exists today and it assumes that is what you are going to have to use to reduce the pollution.
I would tell you, we have heard from numerous environmental technology firms who already have new widgets ready to go. They are out there testing them.
There will be another generation of technology that will come on line as we seek to achieve these reductions, but we do not assume that. We do not assume technology advances in undertaking something like this.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things we would assume, for example, based on what city, States, economists tell us is omni areas might choose to use ethanol derived cleaner fuels. And so we would factor that cost in.
We would be more than happy to show you the protocols that is used, but it is done with a lot of input. And, again, as I said, we did publish this. We made it available over the Internet. We did take public comment, and we made adjustments based on that comment.
Mrs. EMERSON. Well, you know, and I guess my question really is, are you out in the field?
I have a very big, very rural district, and I do not believe that any of the thousands of farmers I have talked to or Farm Bureau people or FSA folks or any others have been directly involved in working with you all to determine the monetary impact on that particular business, whether it is farming or utilities or what have you, and do not make a habit of reading the Federal Register or looking at the Internet to know what public comment is.
Ms. BROWNER. But their trade associations do, and we heard from lots of them.
We would be more than happy to come to your district, to have people come outthis is for any members, sit down with your farmers. We would be more than happy to do that. We have worked very closely with your State representative, too.
We do make the assumption they speak for the residents of your State. That is true. We make that assumption, and we have worked very, very closely. In fact, I visited recently with your Governor about some of these issues.
So if there is another vehicle for us to hear from people, we are more than happy to send the appropriate people out into the field. We have certainly done that on this issue.
Mrs. EMERSON. I would be grateful because I really think that farmers or people who are directly involved in the business, rather than even we, who represent them, are much better judges of what something you might do is going to do to their own business. So I thank you for that offer and we'll take you up on that.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. Good. I might also just say that we have used what is called a Federal Advisory Committee. What that means is, we have had a group of industry representatives, farm organizations, sitting at the table for the last 2 years now, talking to us about what they think we should be doing, how best to do it.
I went to one of the meetings recently, and there is standing room only. I mean we are doing our level best to get everyone in there and to hear from people in a thoughtful, thorough manner.
Mrs. EMERSON. Well, as I said, we will be in touch.
Ms. BROWNER. Good.
Mrs. EMERSON. And I appreciate your interest.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. I thank the gentlelady.
It must not be totally unanimous, Ms. Browner, since the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the USDA, the Department of Treasury, Small Business Administration and the Council of Economic Advisors have all registered complaints with you about these regulations.
I will let you answer that later.
Mr. JOHN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me add my pleasure to th fact that you called this hearing here, too, because it's very important. These are issues that affect not only my district, which is very much at risk with its petrochemical, oil and gas, and agriculture, all combined in a very compact area, but for, I believe, the whole country.
And I also want to thank Administrator Browner for meeting with several of the Democratic freshmen and other people to talk about these standards and how they affect us.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I recognized early on the importance of these standards, and what was happening at the beginning of the summer when I put together a letter to President Clinton, and signed by 22 of my colleagues, asking him to take a look at these rules, take them off of the fast track, if you will, and take a close look at them because of the far-reaching implications that they will have.
I have two questions that to ask, one of which we have not really talked about. Another one, you talked with the gentlelady from Missouri just recently about: cost benefit.
The original cost of these regulations was about $8.6 billion. That was the original cost. That is the figure as I have researched it.
The new costs are $46 billion, 8 times as much.
Why the change?
Ms. BROWNER. Those are two different numbers. They measured two different facts. One measures what is called, ''partial attainment,'' and the other measures what is called, ''full attainment.''
They should be two different numbers. One takes a shorter period of time into account, the other, a longer period of time.
Mr. JOHN. I would like to know a little bit because I think that we were either mislead or that hte $8 billion number was misleading somewhat because we had never, or at least to my knowledge, that I had not received the $46 billion figure until just, I guess, recently when, in July, that number came out.
Ms. BROWNER. It was all part of the original documents that were put forward, and it goes back in part toI mean there is no secret here that there are some areas of the countrynot your area, but some areas of the country where air pollution problems continue to be difficult, some of our large urban areas.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JOHN. And I do not think that anyone on this committee disputes that. I think we all have the end goal of cleaning up our air, because in the endI think that is where we all want to go. I want to get there.
Ms. BROWNER. That is right.
Mr. JOHN. I know you want to get there.
What I have concerns about are some of the very sincere comments that you have made up to this point, and this point has been reiterated so many times that I hope it hits home, that I believe that you have made, or your department is making, some promises that you, frankly, cannot keep.
I believe that when you say that farming will not be affected, you overlook your own regulations, for they say that the States will have to implement them. You are going to have these standards and the States will have to come up with some ideas on how to do that.
We, frankly, cannot control that in any kind of way, no matter how many Governors say that. So that very, very much concerns me and that is why I think we are here today. And that point has been reiterated several times.
I would also like for you to comment whether you or your Agency believe that in any way do these regulations violate the Federal unfunded mandates to the cities.
I have been contacted by the National League of Cities and the Nation Municipal Association about these regulations and the violation of the Federal unfunded mandates law.
Could you comment on that, please?
Ms. BROWNER. The short answer is, we do not believe there is any kind of unfunded mandates issue here. However, while the Clean Air Act very clearly says when a monitoring system is being built that there is a cost share between the State Government and the Federal Government, as I explained earlier, we have resolved with our appropriators and will receive the dollars to cover 100 percent of that cost.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we are sensitive to those issues and we have worked with a number of members. We would obviously appreciate the opportunity to work with any members on this committee about that.
We do not believe there is, under the unfunded mandates issue. Mr. JOHN. That is an issue that we really need to clarify as we move through this process because the National League of Cities and my mayors and my police, whom I met with over the recess, truly believe that this is a blatant violation.
And finally just to make it crystal clear about what H.R. 1984 does, it does absolutely nothing to your numbers.
PM2.5, they do not do anything to your number.
Basically all that 1984 does is say, within this 5-year period, you cannot implement those new standards. And it just makes sense to me, if we do not have the monitors, which means we do not have the data, which begets why are we going to these standards that are going to cripple, I believe, much more than we all believe in the final say.
Ms. BROWNER. We will certainly reread the bill with your explanation.
Mr. JOHN. Sure.
Ms. BROWNER. I want to make sure I understand this, though.
Is it your explanation that the standard that we set for the 2.5 particles, the standard that we set, which is now here for Congressional review on ozone, that those standards would be in place, that the bill does nothing to remove those standards, except that no industry, no utility would be required to reduce their pollution to meet those standards?
That is not our understanding and that is a fundamentally different proposal.
Mr. JOHN. We both need to take a look at it because that is definitely not my understanding.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My understanding is that it does not talk about the numbers. It basically says that you cannot implement them until you have the data in place.
The CHAIRMAN. I am assuming you would support the bill, then, if we are correct?
Ms. BROWNER. Well, I certainly think it is helpful to knowwe read the word, ''establishment of any new standards,'' to mean that the new standards are not in place. It is not the word, ''implementation.''
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We will all read the bill together.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
Mr. JENKINS. Your background is in the practice of law, is that correct?
Ms. BROWNER. I have been in public service the vast majority of my professional career. I am trained as a lawyer, but I have worked in this field now for more than a decade.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, I have practiced law, too, and
Ms. BROWNER. I do not practice law. I want to be clear about this. I have never appeared in a courtroom. I do not practice.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, have you ever worked as a farmer?
Ms. BROWNER. I come from a farming State. I have done a lot of work with the farmers in my State. I have never worked as a farmer, although I am an avid gardener.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, normally lawyers deal in the courtroom with facts. Is that not correct?
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I do not practice law in the traditional sense. I am trained as a lawyer.
Mr. JENKINS. Are lawyers supposed to deal with facts in the courtroom?
Ms. BROWNER. I presume we all deal with facts.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, but today, in your capacity and you, in your capacity, and me, in my capacity here, we are dealing basically with a bunch of opinions, are we not?
Ms. BROWNER. I would disagree with that.
Mr. JENKINS. Would you?
Ms. BROWNER. With all sincerity, I would disagree.
I would just say to you, I have taken a lot of time to look at the science. I have been involved in this issue at the Federal level now for 4 1/2 years. I was involved in it during the 1990 debate on the Congressional floor. I was involved in it as a director of a large State environmental agency. So I have seen this from a variety of points of view.
Obviously, I am not a farmer.
What I can say to you, with all sincerity, is the science that we reviewed showed that far too many Americans were experiencing adverse health effects. It is not one study. It is not two studies. It is literally hundreds of thousands of health records from individual Americans collected by the American Cancer Society. It is studies of children at summer camps, what happens to them in their asthma attack when the pollution reaches a certain level.
We have never had this volume of science and it is science based on fact.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JENKINS. But in view of that, you say that you do not intend to enforce these regulations against agriculture?
Ms. BROWNER. It goes back in part to Mr. John's question, which I did not have an opportunity to respond to fully.
You know, I understand that you may have a point of view that, for some reason, you know, EPA cannot be trusted. I hope we have demonstrated that we can be trusted. But I accept that that may be some people's point of view.
But the truth of the matter is, does it make sense?
Why would a Governor say to their farmers, do something, if it did not make sense? And whatI mean I have notI have yet to meet a Governor who wants to require their farmers to do this.
So, you know, forget me. Forget what point of view you might have about my agency and what we have done historically. Your Governors care as much about the farmers as you do. They are not going to regulate farmers. That is a much better guarantee than anything I could probably say to you.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, I have not expressed any opinions about your agency.
Ms. BROWNER. No. I did not suggest you had.
Mr. JENKINS. I certainly have not talked about any distrust, and I do not mean to talk about any and I do not mean to imply any.
But let us talk about sense, then.
Under our system of Government, what sense does it make for a State legislature, a city council, the Congress of the United States or an agency of the Federal Government that can promulgate regulations, what sense does it make for anybody to put down a law that they say on the front end that they do not intend to enforce?
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Where does society gain?
Ms. BROWNER. We do intend to enforce this. We intend to work with the States, to focus on the large industrial sources, the power plants, the utilities to achieve the common sense cost effective pollution reductions and give the public cleaner air.
All we are saying and all we have said is this is not about America's farmers. You have cited the results of several studies and you have given several percentages about where the pollution occurs.
Mr. JENKINS.. Do you have any statistics on what percentage of this pollution that you intend to remove from our society occurs naturally from those events that you have mentioned, the volcanos, the fires?
Ms. BROWNER. That is notwe are not concerned with naturally-occurring events. That is why, as we explained earlier, and I apologize, that when the monitors accord the information, those events, those data points on the monitors will be removed from consideration. And we agreed with, excuse me, the chairman, or maybe it was Mr. Combest, to provide you with a list.
Mr. JENKINS. Well, let me move along.
Representative Ron Klink sat in the seat next to you, to your left there, and told us that representatives of EPA had told him and others that they did not intend to go after the steel mills with these regulations.
To your knowledge, is that true or false?
Ms. BROWNER. I am not aware. I never had any meeting regarding steel mills.
We are, right now, working with the steel industry on a proposal to reduce their toxic air emission, which is a different issue, and I do not know if that is what he was referring to. I am not sure.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I mean I have not had any meeting with the steel people and I have not said to anybody, you know, I do not think steel is a part of where we may all want to look in terms of finding the most cost effective common sense solutions. I have not said that.
Mr. JENKINS. By your own admission, you are after power plants and you want to reduce those emissions?
Ms. BROWNER. What we are after are the public health benefits, the common sense cost effective ways of getting them. And when you look at what we would refer to as the ''inventory of pollution,'' and we are stuckright now, we are talking about ozone.
When you look at where are all the pollution sources that contribute to the ozone problem, when 37 States for the last 2 years look at that issue, what those States said to us, what we agreed is that the most common sense, the most cost effective way of delivering clean air was to focus on the utilities that, for a variety of reasons, had not done as much as others.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman's time is up and there may be time for another round.
Mr. MINGE. I have a couple of questions that I would like that build upon your earlier comments. One of the comments that was made is that the proposed clean air standards represent an opportunity for ethanol.
Could you expand on that?
Is there anything that assures ethanol an improved place in this effort, and what, if anything, is the basis of the statement that there is that assurance?
Ms. BROWNER. Cleaner gasoline, cleaner fuels, cleaner gasoline and reformulated gas, which the farmers participate in, has been an important tool in terms of achieving air quality and reductions, and all of the conversations that we have had, all the studies that have looked at how to go about continuing our work towards cleaner air involve cleaner fuels. It is just one of the pieces, if you will, of the solution.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MINGE. Is that both ozone and particulate matter, or just one of those two standards?
Ms. BROWNER. The cleaner fuels program has historically focused on ozone. It may be, you know, can we respond, for the record? I do not want to get anything wrong on the technical piece of the fine particles.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that agreeable with the gentleman?
Mr. MINGE. That is agreeable.
[The EPA responded as follows:]
EPA has not quantitatively determined the benefit of reformulated gasoline on PM2.5 concentrations; however, qualitatively, there appears to be some level of benefit. EPA has quantified that reformulated gasoline provides reductions NOX and sulfate (SO4) emissions, which should reduce ambient PM2.5 concentrations since both (e.g. NOX and (SO4) are considered PM2.5 precursors.
Ms. BROWNER. It strikes me me off the top of my head, that the cleaner fuels are helpful in terms of thewhy do we not respond for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Ms. BROWNER. I just do not want to make a mistake.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mr. MINGE. Have you attempted to determine the magnitude of that benefit, or is this just more of a comment?
Ms. BROWNER. Well, no. We have heard from a lot of areas that are looking at cleaner fuels. We know some of them right now. It is not appropriate for me to say, I think, at this hearing what those areas are. They are putting in place their programs to use cleaner fuels, and their legislatures are involved in that
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MINGE. You have been going through the cost benefit analysis and so on for the proposed standards.
Is there any part of that evaluation that has considered the increased use of ethanol?
Ms. BROWNER. Why do we not get you the cost benefit analysis and show you where wethe problem I am having is that the States make the decision, and I do not want to put any State who is currently considering cleaner fuels, which is good for farmers, into a difficult situation.
Mr. MINGE. Well, I can appreciate that, but
Ms. BROWNER. Although they are doing it. I just talked to a Governor about doing it, so I know it is happening.
Mr. MINGE. Well, we would be interested in this information as the Agriculture Committee, and corn being the largest single crop grown in this country.
Ms. BROWNER. Yes. I think it is, the statistic is that 90 million people
Mr. MINGE. That is all right. I have another question.
You made a statement that ozone problems diminish crop production. Is the intensity of this problem evenly distributed in the country, or is it focused in areas which are not growing many crops?
I guess I have been very intrigued by this statement, but then I look at the area where I live and I am not sure that we have an ozone problem, yet we are a prime crop production area. And then I look at Los Angeles, where I do not see crop production, and I see a lot of ozone in the comments about that area.
Ms. BROWNER. There are a number of studies, and we would be happy to provide them to committee that have looked at specific types of crops. Soybeans, I think corn.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MINGE. Well, if I were growing corn or soybeans in Los Angeles, you know, the impact of ozone on my farm's productivity would be much greater than if I were growing corn or soybeans in southern Minnesota.
That is really the nature of my question.
Is your analysis also considering where these crops are being grown, or is it simply a statement that if they were being grown in our highest ozone areas, you would have the greatest problem?
Ms. BROWNER. Right. My memory of the studies is that what they look at is the amount of ozone in the air, and then they measure the crop production. And when you look across the studies, what you see is that even at levels below the one hour, the old ozone standard, we are experiencing crop loss.
Mr. MINGE. Would it be possible for you to provide us with this information in a way that looks at the ozone level in a typical agricultural area, say in the midwest, as opposed to an urban area?
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly. I think some of the cities focus on specific farming communities, and we will certainly make thatwe will make all of the cities available. We will try and pull out for you those that are focused in that way.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mr. MINGE. I cannot see the light, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You are out of time, but there may be another round, Mr. Minge.
Mr. MINGE. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. Browner, I, too, have corresponded with your office on a number of different occasions, and I appreciate your efforts to respond to our concerns.
My State is, I think, probably facts would bear this out, the most agriculture-dependent State in the country in terms of the contribution that it makes to our gross domestic product.
We have some 730,000 people who live on 77,000 square miles in our State, and if you ask them what the major problems in our State are when it comes to any subject, you might hear about winter and floods and droughts and grasshoppers. But one thing you will not hear is that clean air is one of those.
And in the business of agriculture, there is a lot of planting and plowing and raking and mowing and harvesting and everything else that goes on, and those activities, obviously, stir up particulate matter.
Producers in my State, I do not mind telling you, I think have a basic mistrust of Federal agencies, and they do not want to be taken to the woodshed for what some Federal agency determines that their farming practices might be toying with the air shed.
So I guess you have tried to make as many assurances as you can and speak with a great deal of confidence that, in fact, agriculture is not the focal point of this. And I believe that those are your intentions.
But, again, you know, when you get past the intentions, there is a long ways before you get this implemented.
Why would we not give some consideration, and the question was asked earlier, and I do not believe that in terms of, you know, exemption from the Clean Air Act would be appropriate.
But if, in fact, your intention is that agriculture would not be affected, of actually exempting ag from the PM2.5 standard in the regulation.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. As I said before, we would welcome the opportunity to work with all the members of the committee in the guidancethe instructions, if you will, that we will send to the States. We do want to specifically speak to the agricultural, the farming community's questions.
And we give guidance, if you will, to Governors on where we think reductions are best found. And so we would certainly welcome that opportunity.
With respect to your State, and you may know something we do not know, I do not think you have had problems with these standards previously and
Mr. THUNE. One.
Ms. BROWNER. You may have had maybe a specific facility, I think.
And based on the data that we have seen at this point in time, which is provided by your State, and the work that is going on from the national perspective in terms of cleaner air, we do not anticipate a problem.
And I do not think your State anticipates a problem.
The CHAIRMAN. If the gentleman would yield on that point.
I would like to hear your answer to his question.
If you guaranteed this committee and the country that agriculture is not a target, nor will it be involved, why can you not support eliminating it from the new standards?
Ms. BROWNER. We are effectively doing that in the work. The CHAIRMAN. Well, let us just do it publicly. Let us do it through H.R. 1984. We have no further questions, then.
Ms. BROWNER. Well, you know, what we are required to do and what we have done at this point, pursuant to Congressional instructions in 1990, is to set a public health standard.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I mean I think Congress did something quite novel and quite important in reserving to the States the ability to make State by State decisions about how best to manage their pollution.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, let us make a natural one. Let us not do it State by State. Maybe I do not trust my Governor.
I am sorry I took the gentleman's time. I will grant him further time.
Go ahead, please.
Mr. THUNE. I am happy to yield to my chairman on any occasion.
But, and that, I think is the point, you know. The fact of the matter is that the Governors, or whomever still has to come up with
Ms. BROWNER. It is the Governors. It is not whomever. It is under the law.
Mr. THUNE. OK. The Governors.
Ms. BROWNER. It is the Governors.
Mr. THUNE. I will yield you that point, the Governors.
But there still is, and I guess I would simply, again, for the record say that, if in fact, the focal point of this is not agriculture, it would seem to make sense to me that we could deal with that right here and now.
But just one other question, I guess. And incidentally, when you make reference to my State, we have had one community in our State that has been affected by the existing standard, and that is
Ms. BROWNER. The PM10 issue?
Mr. THUNE. It is a PM10 issue.
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah. Right.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THUNE. That is correct.
Ms. BROWNER. That is what we thought.
Mr. THUNE. And I think that there is some indication, at least, that the PM10 standard in this community situation might be relaxed, and I guess my question would be, with the implementation of the PM10 standard, does EPA intend to relax the PM10?
Ms. BROWNER. We did make an adjustment in the PM10. As part of the final package, there are a lot of little pieces to it that have not gotten the same level of attention. But you are essentially right.
Based on the comments we received, there is an adjustment to the PM10 standard. And we are more than happy to have someone contact your office about what that may mean.
We do not think you have a nonattainment PM10 issue. We think there may have been some data concerns. But there is an adjustment to PM10. That is correct. And it is not just to the other members on the committee. It is not just for his State. It is a national PM10 adjustment.
[The EPA responded further:]
Currently, South Dakota does not have any areas designated as nonattainment for PM10. Based on the analysis performed to date regarding the collection and reporting of PM10 data, all currently operational PM10 monitors in South Dakota, e.g. one in Brookings County, one in Minnehaha County and three in Pennington County, would show a decrease in both the annual mean concentration and the 99th percentile 24-hour concentration (based on 199496 data) under the revised ambient temperature pressure conditions. Based on preliminary information, South Dakota should expect equal or lower readings during calendar quarters 2 and 3 (e.g. spring, summer), while slightly higher (e.g. on the order of 5 percent) readings could be expected in calendar quarters 1 and 4 (e.g. winter and fall) under the revised recording/reporting procedures. However, the annualized effect should be minimal.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. THUNE. Well, we will make sure that we are not being unfairlyfairly singled out as a
Ms. BROWNER. Well, I think that would be called ''fairly.''
Mr. THUNE. Well, since we are usually unfairly singled out, fairly would be good for a change.
But just one final question. You have talked a lot about the need to enforce, and I think that is one of the questions that we have.
And it seems to me, at least, that to the extent that a lack of resources have prevented EPA and the appropriate State agencies from adequately enforcing PM10 standards, and I think it is fair to say that, around the country, there are some thatwhere that is the case.
How does EPA intend to enforce the even more stringent PM2.5 standard?
Ms. BROWNER. With all due respect, I do not understand the premise of your question in terms of a lack of money for PM10.
There are no complaints with Congress about how you have funded us work in this area.
Mr. THUNE. Let us get away from the resources.
But in terms of enforcement, there are areas in the country that are nonattainment.
Is that correct?
Ms. BROWNER. That is not a question of enforcement. What that means is that they have developed plans. They have put forward ideas and plans of how to reduce pollution, and they are working towards it.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is not a question of enforcement. What the Clean Air Act, I think, very smartly did is say, articulate a plan. Make a set of commitments, and then Congress and EPA will provide you with the time necessary to honor those commitments and get that pollution reduction.
That is what it means. That is what those places are doing.
Mr. THUNE. Might not that be the first place that we ought to go, though, is to try and get that done before you start rationing down a standard?
If people in my State look at this and say, if you have got areas in the country that are in attainment with the current existing standard, why would you come with a lower standard that might affect the place.
Ms. BROWNER. Two different issues. It is two different pollutants. Ten and 2.5 are two different pollutants.
And I will be honest with you, from the agricultural community's perspective, you should like our focus on 2.5, as opposed to 10.
The 10 issueand one of the reasons we made the adjustment in 10 is, in part, because what we have heard from the agricultural community, but it is two differentthe easiest way to think about PM10 and PM2.5 is two different pollutants. They are both particles, but they are two different pollutants, and they have different sources, and they will ultimately have different strategies in terms of how you speak to the reductions that are necessary.
And because you are working on 10 does not necessarily mean you are getting 2.5 reductions. You may get some.
Mr. THUNE. I appreciate that and I thank you. My time is up, but I would just close by saying that obviously there is a general perception, I think, among all the folks who are affected by this that this is, in fact, a tightening of an existingit may be different. But the fact of the matter remains that you have a whole lot of people in this country, including agriculture, including a number of farm organizations who perceive it in that fashion.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I do not know that, and I would like to see again, if you couldif agriculture is not supposed to be the target or the subject of this whole issue, then we could take care of that right now.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you the gentleman.
Ms. BROWNER. Mr. Chairman, if I might just add one response very quickly?
The CHAIRMAN. Please.
Ms. BROWNER. With the adjustment we made to PM10, again, it's a different pollutant than PM2.5. The adjustment results in only 14 counties in the entire country that still need to do some work on PM10. Fourteen counties. That is it.
You know, we made an adjustment. It is not insignificant.
The CHAIRMAN. There will be time for another round.
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate Administrator Browner coming in today.
And I am just wondering because you have given us assurances. All of your questions, of course, have been previously asked before we got here, before you were able to get to me, but I appreciate all the assurances you have given us on the fact that agriculture and farmers need not worry a great deal about this implementation, and that is assuring.
We also were assured earlier when the testimony we heard from two fellow members of Congress that H.R. 1984, we are told, it would not delay by one day any needed controls on the PM2.5 sources.
And I wonder if, looking at this new proposal, do you see willingness to work with Congress on thiswhat may be a compromise bill, H.R. 1984?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I do not believe that it is necessary to amend the Clean Air Act. I think that the implementation plan which we have put forward, it is, in part, entailed in an official memorandum from the President to me, speaks to a thoughtful and extended time frame.
And as I said, we would be more than happy to provide to the committee all the explanations of those kind of things.
The CHAIRMAN. If the gentleman would yield to me for clarification.
H.R. 1984 does notunderline, does not, amend the Clean Air Act. Thank you.
Mr. JOHNSON. A question about the monitors.
Who determines where these 1,500 monitors?
Is it the States or in EPA where they will be placed?
Ms. BROWNER. The States make the decisions in terms of where they are placed. We will cover the cost, the full cost. Normally, there is a cost share, and there will be no cost share, assuming our appropriations bill gets passed, which we assume it will.
Mr. JOHNSON. I have two areas in my State now, two counties that have been labeled, ''nonattainment,'' partially because of the transport issue. It is up to the individual States, of course, to determine their policy of cleaning up the air, but it is difficult when it comes in from other States.
How is this addressed?
Ms. BROWNER. In fact, the work we have been doing with the States, in combination with the new ozone standard, gives us, I think, a very good chance to solve the transport issues. You and I have visited on this before, as I have with many other members.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Certainly, the long-distance transport of ozone has proven to be more difficult, I think, than any of us envisioned, or perfectly understood 10, 20 years ago when the ozone standard was established.
And the work we have been doing is about a transport issue. All of us, the States, your State participated, recognized that, if you are going to give the public the cleaner air that the Act promised them, then you are going to have to deal with the long-distance transport of ozone.
And, in part, that is why all of the 37 States we worked with focused on the utilities as the place to go to get the ozone reductions.
Mr. JOHNSON. All right. Thanks very much.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for being patient with this hearing.
Mr. FARR. I am getting kind of a kick out of the questioning here. For the last several months, we have been debating on the fact that we totally trust the Governors to give ustake care of all the poor people in America. And we totally trust the Governors to decide the level of education, because we do not want any nationalized testing, and we totally trust the Governors to set up the health care delivery system.
But when it comes to regulating dust, we do not trust the Governors.
I come from a little bit different position than a lot of people here. I come from the third most successful agricultural county in the United States. And if you took away the two that are ahead of us, if you took away their Federal subsidies, we would rank number one.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a county that essentially cares about air quality and it was the farming community that beat the Federal Government in a proposal to drill oil offshore, Monterey County, because they were worried that the ambient air quality would be affected by offshore oil drilling.
So I think that the farmers I represent have a different perspective because they know that, in order to sell their agriculture around the world, that we have got to have that kind of logo, that we are cleaner, better, fresher than anyplace else. And I think I really appreciate the fact that we have, that Congress created an agency to protect the environment and to remind us that we have to constantly stay vigilant about air, water, soil and so on.
But I think that the issue is really raised by Congress many of us will not be here to hear, which is Roger Isom is coming in the next panel. And he points out the same thing that you did, and he is from the San Joaquin Valley, that the standard 10 was probably more problematic to agriculture there than the 2.5.
But I think what they are concerned about, and I think I would like to ask in my question is, in the particulate matters, and you have just stated it is going to be 13 years before the shoe drops on nonattainment; that in the meantime, we are going to set up these monitors. They are not going to be all over.
Where will they be?
Are they going to be in the rural areas or where weyou say there is no problem, or are these monitors going to be in the urban areas?
Ms. BROWNER. They are where the people are. They are in the urban areas. This is a public health standard for the people. That is where they go.
Mr. FARR. So they are going to be in the urban areas and they are going to be monitoring urban particulate matter
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. Air quality.
Mr. FARR [continuing]. Not agriculture?
Ms. BROWNER. Correct.
Mr. FARR. And it is going to take, what, 3 years to collect the data?
Ms. BROWNER. Right. Under the law, under the Clean Air Act as it exists, there is essentially 2 years to go out and install them.
Mr. FARR. Two years to install them and then after they are installed?
Ms. BROWNER. Then you get 3 years. The Governors get 3 years to collect the data.
Mr. FARR. So 5 years of collecting data.
And I think the concern is, and maybe you have answered it in some of these other questions, are there going to be any interim regulations particularly affecting
Ms. BROWNER. No. No.
Mr. FARR. So there are going to be no rules coming out?
Ms. BROWNER. No. No.
Mr. FARR. So what is the problem?
I mean, frankly, you know, in this Committee on Agriculture, I think we have got to, if we are going to be competitive in a global market, that agriculture in Americaand I think it does. I just think when you get into these regulatory issues, they get a little nervous. But they really do stand behind the fact that we have got to protect the environment, and you know, farmers will argue that they are the one of the bestmost sensitive because they live off the land more than any other entity in this country, and they know you need the clean water, clean soil and clean air.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that you have handled this fairly well.
And my last question is, you know, the one department that is responsible for speaking for agriculture in this country is the USDA. And I have had nobody in my office from USDA complaining about your regulation.
What is EPA doing with USDA to get them on board, because they certainly have not been an opponent of these proposals?
Ms. BROWNER. We have been working with them. Congress created the USDA Air Quality Task Force. It is a group of individuals they bring together. We have been working with their task force to ensure that we speak to the needs of farmers.
Secretary Glickman and I have exchanged letters about the issue and we will shortly sign a memorandum of understanding with Secretary Glickman on these issues.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Dingell was here and indicatedhe thinks thatwas not quite sure when he was asked to explain what H.R. 1984 did.
It essentially says that no new regulations on ozones or particulates until the research is done. And then an implementation plan is laid out.
Would that change what you have proposed here?
Ms. BROWNER. The schedule for the fine particles has, as you point out, the States collecting their data up until the year 2000.
The year 2000remember, that is just data collection. No designations. No industry pollution reductions.
The year 2000 is also the year when another 5-year science review will be completed, as the statute requires it. So you have it very, very nicely coming together. The States have their information. The Governors are making their first rounds of decisions, dovetailing with, as the law requires, another 5-year best available peer reviewed scientific analysis.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FARR. The seconds that are remaining, I want to thank you for coming here. I think you have done an excellent job of assuring this committee that the standards for ozone and PM2.5 will not cut off the hand that feeds and clothes America.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly not.
Mr. FARR. That is taken from Mr. Isom's statement, rather than my words, but I appreciate Isom's points. And we will look forward to working with you.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, thank you, again. I want to thank you, as just commented earlier, for your participation at our business January seminar, the three of us from North Carolina. We have had very, very favorable comments about your participation and presentation.
I want to run through briefly with you a list of some activities.
You said earlier in your testimony today that you were concerned more with secondary PM2.5 than primary, and in response to Representative Chenoweth, you said that burning on the farm would still be expected and would not come under the coverage of this.
Is that correct?
Ms. BROWNER. Correct.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. I want to run through a list of some other things to see whether these would or would not be considered secondary.
Ms. BROWNER. The distinction between primary and secondary is a very relevant distinction. It is separate from the distinction in terms of when you make a measurement of the levels of pollution.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCINTYRE. Right.
Ms. BROWNER. And so, for example, you do not count the natural disasters. You throw those data points out.
In terms of a prescribed burn, what normally would happen is the State officials, the local officials would work with the farming community to make sure that the burning was done on days when the pollution would otherwise be low.
There are ways you can manage all of this so that any farmer who needs to burn can burn.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. So potentially, they would still be subject to the regulations, and if they have to coordinate it with the Division of Forest Management
Ms. BROWNER. Most of them coordinate it already for a variety of reasons, health and safety being one.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Right. But if they do not, they would have to.
Is that what you are saying?
Ms. BROWNER. They may not. It is not something we can answer for the country as a whole. It is something that would have to be addressed on a State-by-State, and in some instance, you know, a community by community basis.
There may well be many, many farming communities, where given the air trends, the pollution levels, they can continue as is.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Let me run through this list and you tell me if they would be subject to the regulations or not, if it is occurring with the premise on farm.
Spraying, for instance. There are spraying activities that are going on.
Ms. BROWNER. Are you talking about the spraying of maybe herbicides or pesticides?
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCINTYRE. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. BROWNER. They should not be affected. Those are not PM2.5 issues. I mean maybe there is something we do not know about, but based on what we know, we do not know anything.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right.
Ms. BROWNER. If someone has actually got a particular product, you should let us know and we will check it for you.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. Activities such as haying or bailing, composting or mowing. Any of those activities would fall under regulations?
Ms. BROWNER. No.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. With regard to road building on a farm, if a farmer is trying to clear some land and make a farm road?
Ms. BROWNER. It should not be a problem.
Mr. MCINTYRE. OK.
Ms. BROWNER. Remember, again, that a lot of I think the questions you are raising were really important questions about PM10.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right.
Ms. BROWNER. We did adjust the PM10 standards, so a lot of things you used to hear from farmers, we hope you are not going to hear anymore.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Would that include ginning and milling and grinding, as far as agricultural process?
Ms. BROWNER. Those are a lot of PM10 questions you used to get.
Mr. MCINTYRE. If several of these activities were to add up, even though none of them may themselves fall within the range, if several of them are occurring on a farm, would you take the other 2, totalling them or
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. No. No. Let me tell you why. The solutions, the strategies, the technologies that you use to reduce the pollution cannot look at a farm in its entirety, right? It looks at the individual sources.
And when you break out the individual sources, they are just not big enough to matter. They are not where the cost effective solutions come in.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you very much.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you.
Mr. MCINTYRE. I yield back the remainder to Tom.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. BROWNER. I had a technical issue that might be helpful to the last question.
The CHAIRMAN. Sure. Go ahead.
Ms. BROWNER. There is no measurement of individual farming sources that would take place under any scenario, and I do not think anyone has ever suggested it, but I think that is important to your question.
Remember, this is an ambient air measurement, and as I used the example of San Joaquin Valley, even when you look at all of the farming practices in the most heavily agriculturalized area of the country, you are not getting 7 percent.
The CHAIRMAN. You know, Mr. McIntyre, I might add that, should you continue this line of questioning and add to it, you would have effectively exempted agriculture, so I encourage you to continue.
Dr. COOKSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Browner, do I understand you correctly to say that only 14 counties in the United States would be affected by these new standards?
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I was speaking to PM10, which is an existing standard. It has been on the books for a decade I think now. It predates me.
We made an adjustment in the PM10 standard as part of this package.
Dr. COOKSEY. OK. What about the new standards? How many counties would be affected?
Ms. BROWNER. In the case of PM2.5, in the case of the fine particles, the monitoring system and the data collection, obviously, has not yet taken place, we can provide you with analysis that is extrapolated from other information. But, again, the Governors have a right to collect that information for 2 years.
Dr. COOKSEY. So you do not know the answers?
Ms. BROWNER. Well, no. It is important to understand, we worked with the States to do computer analysis, so we can give you an analysis. But it is important to respect the law, I think we would all agree, and the law says the Governors get to collect 3 years of data.
So in no wayany list you see right nowI am going to be really clear about thisany list you see is not a legally-binding list. That cannot occur until the Governors collect 3 years of information.
Dr. COOKSEY. OK. Well, go back to the 14 counties. If there are only 14 counties involved, would it be correct to assume that there were nowithout standards, would it be correct to assume that there were no parishes involved in my State?
Does that give you a hint about my State?
Ms. BROWNER. We are going to check.
Dr. COOKSEY. While we are checking, let us go to the next question, because I want to get all my questions in this time limit.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Next question while you people are looking that up, my next question, Ms. Browner.
Ms. BROWNER. OK. We have the answer for you.
For PM10, the coarse particles, which is an existing standard that we have adjusted, what we understandwe are looking through a book very quickly hereis you had no areas that had a PM10 standard problem before we adjusted the standard, and I can assure you, if you did not have one before we adjusted it, you are not going to have one after we adjust it.
The number of counties went down.
Dr. COOKSEY. Next question. You mentioned this would affect urban areas, primarily.
What is the threshold for
Ms. BROWNER. I did notwith all due respect, I did not say this would affect urban areas. What I said, when I used the word, ''urban'' was, the question was, where would the monitors be placed?
Where would the data be collected?
And we were explaining that which you care about is protecting public health, and so the monitors would tend to be located where the large numbers of people live.
Dr. COOKSEY. What is your threshold for urban, then, for the, ''large''
Ms. BROWNER. Governors actually make the decisions. We work with them. There are a lot of air quality monitors out in the
Dr. COOKSEY. You will not give them any guidance, do you?
Ms. BROWNER. We do work with them on it. Yes.
Dr. COOKSEY. OK. Approximately, if you would just make a reg about the sizeyour definition ofthe definition of an urban area, what would the threshold be? 100,000, 200,000?
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. Obviously, that would vary from State to State, and it isthe staff says that the discretions we are having now with the States, in terms of the locations for the new monitors, approximately 250,000 sites.
But, you know, I want to be clear about this. This is something we are in discussion on. I am trying to be responsive to your question.
Please allow us to continue and complete these discussions with the States. They have certain rights. We will honor those rights.
Dr. COOKSEY. Fine. Another question. My district has two types of agriculture, row crop farming east of the Red River Mississippi Valley area, and timber, west of it.
How does this affect paper mills? Does it have any adverse effect onwhich is timbers and papers, we consider agriculture.
How about row crop farming?
Ms. BROWNER. The focus on paper mills, we are about to conclude a several year effort with the mills and the States to set new standards on paper mills, both under the Clean Air Act and under the Clean Water Act. We should complete that in the next month. That should be a finaland we worked very closely with the industry in developing those.
I do not knowwe will answer this, for the record. I do not know that you will need any additional reduction.
Yeah. The way this works, with all due respect is, we are out there working under a variety of laws, focusing on large industrial sources for a variety of reasons. Once we have achieved a level of reductions with a particular industry, such as we will do with the pulp and paper industry, we tend not to go back to them in the short term. It does not make any sense. That is not where the cost effective solutions lie.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. COOKSEY. I have a call into your office. It was made last week.
Do you think it would be possible for
Ms. BROWNER. To me?
Dr. COOKSEY. To your office.
Ms. BROWNER. OK. I do not have a message.
Dr. COOKSEY. I know you did not. I made it.
Do you think it would be possible for you and me and some of your staff and some people from my area to sit down and talk about this in your office?
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly.
Dr. COOKSEY. After going over all this to work out a solution?
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly.
Dr. COOKSEY. Is your background biochemistry or scientific or engineering, something like that?
Ms. BROWNER. We had a discussion about this earlier.
I have worked in this field for the better part of a decade.
Dr. COOKSEY. I am new here. I am learning.
Ms. BROWNER. Excuse me.
Dr. COOKSEY. I am new to Washington.
Ms. BROWNER. No. No. No. I understand. My training is as a lawyer. I have never practiced in a courtroom. I am not a lawyer.
Dr. COOKSEY. Never any scientific
Ms. BROWNER. I do pay my bar dues.
Dr. COOKSEY. You did not do your thing about your work andor anything like that?
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. No.
Dr. COOKSEY. OK. Good.
No further questions except we will have a meeting together, then?
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly.
Dr. COOKSEY. I will tell my staff that. My concern is agriculture in my district.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly. We would be more than happy, and again, to any members of the committee.
Dr. COOKSEY. My background is scientific. I am a physician and I am truly concerned about clean air and clean water, because believe it or not, doctors breathe the same clean air and water that regulators do. Not necessarily the same air and water that lawyers breathe, but
The CHAIRMAN. Very good news for all of us.
I thank the gentleman. Mr. Bishop.
Mr. BISHOP. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Ms. Browner, for coming. I apologize for my late attendance, but I was required to attend some other duties, but I am very, very interested in the subject matter.
And I am particularly concerned about regulations where we do not really subject them to the cost benefit analysis.
In an early House Commerce hearing, you asserted that the air quality problems that you are trying to address here were largely caused by emissions from large power plants.
In the agriculture hearing in July, you indicated unequivocally that farmers would not be affected by the new air quality standards.
Considering that energy costs comprise about 50 percent of agribusiness overhead, does it not seem to be a little bit stretching to assertsuggest that farmers will not be affected by the new standards?
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. We did do a cost benefit analysis of this, and we would be more than happy to make it available to you.
Mr. BISHOP. Would you, please?
Ms. BROWNER. We made it publicly available for almost a year now it has been available. And we did take comment on it and we made adjustments.
It is not a cost benefit statute, as you well know. It is a public health requirement. We are not allowed to use the cost benefit analysis in making our decision.
Congress told ussomewhat arguably, we should not have even done a cost benefit analysis.
I directed my colleagues at EPA to do it because I thought it would be helpful to members of Congress and the public at large, and we will provide that to you and to the committee.
Mr. BISHOP. But you would have to concede then that, as a result of the implementation of these new standards, that it would result in increased utility prices?
Ms. BROWNER. The program that the States and we have been developing to reduce the utilities' pollution will be ait is actually a Republican proposal developed under President Bush. It is an emissions credit trading program. You cap the amount of pollution that can be allowed in a particular area to meet the public health, and then you allow utilities to decide.
If they are below that cap, they can sell pollution credits. If they are above the cap, they can install technology or they can buy pollution credits.
This program, in terms of cap trading, has been incredibly successful in driving down the cost of pollution reduction, for example, in the
Mr. BISHOP. Yes, I know.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. It is not a simple question. I apologize it does not lend itself to a ''yes or no'' answer.
Mr. BISHOP. What I am trying to get at is, whether or not this is going to require an increase in utility prices for power users, particularly farmers, with whom I am concerned.
Ms. BROWNER. For two reasons, that is not a question that can be answered ''yes or no'' with all
Mr. BISHOP. So you do not know the answer then?
Ms. BROWNER. There are things happening in the marketplace.
I have had utilities come in and meet with me and say they will be able to meet a tougher public health air standard, and through restructuring pass on its savings to their consumers.
Mr. BISHOP. I do not mean to interrupt you, but time is little bit limited.
Ms. BROWNER. Well, they tell me they can give a savings.
There are utilities out there who have said to me, personally, ''We can pass a savings on and meet the standards.''
Mr. BISHOP. The answer, then, that you would be giving today to that question would be, you do not know?
Ms. BROWNER. The answer is, nobody knows, because you are involvedthe market, the utility market right now
Mr. BISHOP. Are you included in ''nobody''?
Ms. BROWNER. We are all included. We are included in ''nobody.''
Mr. BISHOP. So the answer is, you do not know.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is that correct?
Thank you. You have indicated that your agency would have the responsibility for final approval of the SIPS?
Ms. BROWNER. That is how the law is written.
Mr. BISHOP. OK. Will you commit to me and the committee that you will disapprove of any regulations that would result in adverse impact on agribusiness or increases in utility cost?
Ms. BROWNER. What we are required to do is review the Governor's plan for pollution reductions and determine whether that plan, in its entirety, provides the public health benefits.
As we explained earlier, we would like to work with the committee in the guidance we issue to the Governors to ensure that no Governor does.
But I guess some people think Governors are going to dowe do not think they are going to do itwhich is focus uniquely on farmers. No Governor is going to do that. Your Governor is not going to do that.
Mr. BISHOP. The bottom line is that many people believe that these regulations are premature, that they have not been justified in terms of a need scientifically based, and that basically, you are disregarding the real need for cost benefit analysis and that we have notit has not yet been established that there is, in fact, a need to impose these regulations.
Ms. BROWNER. Well, with all due respect, the Congress made a decision that has been reaffirmed under President Carter, President Bush, that this not be a cost benefit decision, that it be a public health decision, that it be based on the best available science. That is what we have done here.
We believe there is an overwhelming body of science.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, Mr. Chairman, I might just say to the committee
Mr. BISHOP. We have been trying to find out where this body of science was because it is my understanding that scientists, that there is a difference of opinion, and that reasonable minds are disagreeing about the need for this.
Ms. BROWNER. We would be more than happy to go through all of the studies with you. We have done it at numerous hearings, and we would be happy to do it in any venue that makes sense for this committee to show youthese are not EPA studies. These are
Mr. BISHOP. You could provide me with a summary of those studies if you would like.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly. We provide it to many members, all of the studies, where they were published, and we would be more than happy. And then any one you want, we will certainlythere is a lot of themwe will certainly get it for you.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mr. BISHOP. If you could get me the executive summary of them, then I will recommend which ones I would like to get the full studies of.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly. We would be more than happy to work with you on that.
Mr. BISHOP. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
An example of the new federalism, I suppose, is the idea that you create a stiff standard, federally. Then you turn it over to the States to make sure that it is followed, and therefore, you are exempt from any reasonable liability as to what you do.
An example, I am very familiar with the Clean Water Act and how it is implemented, and the EPA has, of course, jurisdiction in that area, as well.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the States, with the passage of the Clean Water Act, each State is directed to clean up its water, and in order to do that, they have created councils on every stream. They have put together water shed basin agreements, all with the direct fear that they would either be punished or the EPA would not find them in compliance.
So the gun is held at the head of the Governor in this respect. In my suspicion, that is what is occurring with these new standards.
Then one walks away and says, ''Well, the EPA did not have anything to do with it. The EPA did not punish the States. The EPA did not punish agriculture, steel, anybody else.'' That is fairly transparent.
So there is concern and fear and I do not blame anybody for not just taking you at face value, which I would love to do, and I hope you are there. I hope you are there in 2009 because we will have you in Oregon to make damned sure of what you said here is going to be happening in 2009 in Oregon.
Ms. BROWNER. I do not think I will be here.
The CHAIRMAN. I hope that is true.
One issue I raised in my opening statement and I want to go over it with you again because it is still not clear to me, and maybe we ought to go at this like Mr. McIntyre did, by you voicing exemptions as we go along.
But, for instance, near the city of Portland, which is 250,000 people, there are forests and part of the tools we use, some of them, are prescribed burns.
Now we have, obviously, the method by which you are going to audit air ambient standards because we had a prescribed burn or a wildfire.
Now can you tell me that neither of those events will impact or farm or the City of Portland would be found out of compliance should those actions occur?
Ms. BROWNER. That is correct.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. They will not be found to be out of compliance for prescribed burns, which is
Ms. BROWNER. Let meand weI could not agree more with the validity of a prescribed burn as an important environmental and management tool.
If you have a wildfire, the monitoring data collected during the wildfire will be tossed out. It will be as if the fire did not occur when you look at the data base.
The CHAIRMAN. By whom, please?
Ms. BROWNER. Excuse me?
The CHAIRMAN. By whom will it be tossed out?
Ms. BROWNER. The Governors collect the data and we tell them what they can throw out.
The CHAIRMAN. Or we just give you whatever we want, then.
Ms. BROWNER. No. It has to be verified. It has to be pursuant to certain guidelines.
We have been very clear with States that data points collected during natural events, whether it be dust storms, Mt. St. Helens, fires, and there may be others, are not included in determining whether or not an area has too much pollution and needs to make adjustments.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. STENHOLM. Where I disagree with you is whether the EPA has really utilized the best available science. And that is not the case, in my opinion. There are scientists who I have more credible information than what you have expressed, and that is a respectful disagreement.
Ms. BROWNER. That is fine.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STENHOLM. And what leads me to that conclusion?, Look at the chart. Now this chart references PM2.5 anticipated emissions, major categories. Those are your agencies' words.
Today you tell us that agriculture is only 7 percent of the problem, and yet this chart said it is 34 percent.
Now which is it?
Ms. BROWNER. There is a distinction, when you look at reducing the amount of PM2.5 that is made, and I think everyone in the scientific community would agree with this, between the direct emissions of 2.5 and the secondary emissions.
Mr. STENHOLM. No. No. This is a question that I believe you can answer, ''yes or no.''
This chart gives a figure of 34.3 anticipated emissions for agriculture and forest. Today you said it is only 7 percent of the problem.
Ms. BROWNER. No. With all due respect, Mr. Stenholm, I was explaining San Joaquin Valley, one farming area in the country.
There is a chart I would like to give you
Mr. STENHOLM. I have another question regarding the San Joaquin area, because that is part of the problem I have with your conclusion that you are coming to.
Ms. BROWNER. OK.
Mr. STENHOLM. In answering Mr. Combest's question, you made a distinction between PM10 and PM2.5.
Ms. BROWNER. But they are two different pollutants.
Mr. STENHOLM. Exactly. But your own information, as put out by your agency, says that agriculture contributes 24 percent of PM10 and 29 percent of PM2.5.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I am more than happy to show you a chart that goes through the entire 2.5 emissions inventory, both primary and secondary, or direct and secondary.
Mr. STENHOLM. Can you see where a farmer like me might be concerned about what you are saying and how we might interpret that meaning?
Let me follow-up with this question: I know that everyone here appreciates the verbal assurances you have made over and over that agriculture will not be significantly affected by these standards. But I am concerned that not everyone in Government shares your view of the world.
For instance, I have in front of me a volume published by the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials entitled, ''Controlling Particulate Matter under the Clean Air Act, a Menu of Options.''
Are you familiar with that?
Ms. BROWNER. It is a study of, I think, the direct emissions, not the secondary.
Mr. STENHOLM. I beg your pardon. Now STAPPA and ALAPCO are the national associations representing State and local air quality officials in States and territories in over 165 major metropolitan areas throughout the country, are they not?
Ms. BROWNER. I am sure.
Mr. STENHOLM. And the EPA supports this group financially, does it not?
Ms. BROWNER. The Congress directs us to.
Mr. STENHOLM. Right on.
Is it not fair to say that STAPPA and ALAPCO members will have the primary responsibility for making the decisions to implement the new air quality standards?
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Put another way, the States and local Governments, not EPA, make the final decision on how to bring their nonattainment areas into compliance with EPA's national ambient air quality standards, correct?
Ms. BROWNER. The Governors. The Governors send us the plans.
Mr. STENHOLM. Right.
Ms. BROWNER. The Governors.
Mr. STENHOLM. Their decisions will be based on something. They are not going to just pull them out of the air.
Ms. BROWNER. I am sure they work with their professional staff as we all do.
Mr. STENHOLM. Now, according to this document, agriculture would appear to be a very large source of fine particualte matter, or PM2.5. For instance, the volume shows that agriculture, including emissions from crops and livestock, agricultural burning, and diesel equipment, contributes some 5 million tons of primary fine particle emissions. This is approximately 30 percent of the nationwide total of primary fine particle emissions.
Ms. BROWNER. Twenty-two.
Mr. STENHOLM. And it shows agricultural emissions contributing significantly to the various fine particle precursors, so-called secondary emissions, including over 1 million tons per year of ammonia.
This contribution, by the way, is larger than all of the other PM2.5 precursor emissions combined.
So I am not sure that the State and local regulators agree that agricultural emissions are insignificant for either primary or secondary fine particle sources. That is my concern.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And you say, ''We are just putting out some harmless regulations, based on what Congress has told us to do,'' and yet in this book, somebody has spent a tremendous amount of time doing this research. You have been quoting from numerous research papers that have backed your opinion. In this case, you can look right through it and you see, not a separation between PM10 and PM2.5, but the same category, and agriculture is on the list. And we are doing this without having done the primary science to determine which is the best direction to go. That is my concern.
Ms. BROWNER. I certainly appreciate that. It is really important that weand I know you understand this, but I understand there is a lot of confusion in the farming community over 2.5 versus PM10. They are two different pollutants. And we made an adjustment for PM10 which I have received a lot of causative feedback from the farming community, from the organizations that represent farming interests in this country.
So, first and foremost, we have to distinguish between the coarser particles and the fine particles. No one would disagree, least of all me, that when we were focused only on the coarse particles, which is what has gone on for the last 10 years, that the farming community was a part of that.
In making the adjustment to 10I mean someone used the word earlier that we pushed it down. That is the easiest way, perhaps, to think about it, and the effect is the concerns that farmers have raised about PM10, I think in large measure, have been spoken to.
With respect to the new pollutant, the 2.5 pollutant, you have to make a distinction between the direct and the secondary sources of fine particles.
I do not dispute that report or your statements that farmers generate what are referred to as ''direct fine particles.'' But we do not worry about them because they are not coming out of a smokestack and moving long distances and creating a health problem. They come up, as you know far better than me, and they fall right back down, maybe a few inches away. That is why the focus would not be on the direct sources.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would reference a study done by one of your own organizations, the Congressional Research Service. They have a very, very good chart in their document. This is not our document, which goes through the various sources of PM2.5. And what it shows you is that coal-fired electric utilities represent 22 million tons, and farmers areI have got to find them on heredown at 1.2.
I mean it proves, I think, the point that we have been trying to make and trying to help the farming community understand that the cost effective solutions, the places where you can get the technology advances, where you can get the most cost effective way of achieving cleaner air and the public health benefits will be on the industrial side, will be on the large utilities.
I mean it is your own report, and we will submit it for the record. It is a Congressional report. It was not done by EPA.
[The information is on file with the committee.]
Mr. STENHOLM. I guess my hope would be that after this testimony and all of the excellent questioning you have had and the statements from your side, you will see more Americans supporting H.R. 1984. We seem to be in agreement that nothing bad is going to happen until we have more time to study and analyze the issue.
If we can pass H.R. 1984 with your support, then it seems we will have answered most of the questions. And I hope you will think about that.
Let me ask you one specific question, because San Joaquin Valley has come up.
The monitor in the San Joaquin Valley, is not the same type of monitor that will be placed across the country. The one in the San Joaquin is much more sophisticated and can better identify the sources of the fine particles.
Is that true?
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. Apparently, it is a monitor that speciates differently than the monitors the States will ultimately be using. And if you want, we can explain that. It is a technical distinction that we would be more than happy to explain, for the record.
[The EPA responded as follows:]
Many of the monitoring sites in the San Joaquin Valley are dichotomous samplers which monitor PM2.5 and PM10 simultaneously. These monitors are reference methods for PM10 but may need to be redesigned prior to becoming designated as Federal reference method samplers. Also, there have been other special purpose samplers operated in the San Joaquin Valley to augment special field studies.
There has been no reference method or standard approach in the past, so there was no ''correct'' way to sample PM2.5 when California purchased their monitors. However, most of the commonly used methods (including the dichotomous sampler) have been shown to produce relatively similar data.
Mr. STENHOLM. I would appreciate that. Based on your discussion regarding urban and rural areas, if you are a rural agricultural county around a large city, no matter how many assurances made to the rural county, it is going to be very tempting to get a 2.5 reduction in a rural area that does affect agriculture.
In order to meet those standards, you have got to pick and choose. And that is why, in spite of all your assurances, when you have had someone from your agency tell my colleagues that agriculture will be exempted, that steelworkers will be exempted, that X industry will be exempted, you see why some of us are a little nervous about where we are headed?
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. I do not disagree there has been volumes of misinformation about this issue. It begins back almost a year ago now.
But I will tell you, with all due respect, that the amount of science, the thoroughness of that science is unparalleled in the history of the EPA. There is no doubt in my mind.
Mr. STENHOLM. I do not disagree with that, but when you talk about monitors, if we are not going to use sophisticated enough monitors to determine
Ms. BROWNER. How much do they cost for a monitor?
Mr. STENHOLM. But you just got through saying you are not going to use a certain monitor.
Ms. BROWNER. There are different types of monitors that can be used. We have been working with the States to ensure that we all agree that the best type of monitor is being used.
The monitors are expensive. They are going to run approximately $4,000 to $5,000 per piece of equipment. I mean this is not unsophisticated equipment.
And, in fact, I think in the lastwas it last years, there has been even some further advancements in terms of what the monitors can do, and so it may be appropriate to use a variety of types of monitors so you are getting the best picture.
Mr. STENHOLM. Will these monitors be able to identify smoke coming from a set fire versus a naturally-occurring fire?
Ms. BROWNER. Yes. In the analysis, you can do that.
Mr. STENHOLM. There is a difference?
Ms. BROWNER. In the analysis, you can do that.
But common sense, you know the day you have the fire, so you take it out.
The particles are different. You can make those distinctions. We would be happy to bring the monitors in here and show them to people.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Following the gentleman's question of why we are sometimes confused about what really is the intent, I have before me testimony from Mr. Fred Hanson before the House Judiciary Committee in which he was asked the question, ''Has the EPA made assurances to some elected officials that some businesses will be exempt from the standards?''
Answer: ''Mr. Chairman, the answer is absolutely not. What we have done and when we have been asked specific questions, we have analyzed the current data, 1993 to 1995, made judgments on what we thought. If that same set of facts continued, what, in fact, would be the effect in certain counties or in certain areas.
''But we have made no such assurances. We would not have the ability to, and certainly it would not be appropriate for us to.''
Do you agree with that?
Ms. BROWNER. Mr. Chairman, under the law, the public is promised air that meets a certain standard. Some areas of the country are fortunate. Their air already meets those public health standards, and we have worked to understand the data and to respond, based on the data, when asked, ''Does my area, on currently available monitoring information, meet the standard, the new standards or does it not?''
The CHAIRMAN. You have just exempted agriculture.
The CHAIRMAN. You have exempted agriculture.
Ms. BROWNER. It is not a question of exempting agriculture. It is a question of where can you find
The CHAIRMAN. You have said that these new standards do not apply to agriculture.
Ms. BROWNER. The EPA has absolutely positively no intention of regulating tilling practices, agricultural practices.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Ms. BROWNER. That is not what we are going to do.
The CHAIRMAN. So you are making an exemption. You are saying agriculture is not covered by these new standards?
Ms. BROWNER. Agriculture is not going to be required, under any EPA rule to produce
The CHAIRMAN. If the Governors agree with you?
Ms. BROWNER. I will be shocked if a Governor sends me a plan. I will be shocked.
The CHAIRMAN. Here you are. I appreciate that. I really do.
Ms. BROWNER. And I will be back up here before you. I promise.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, you will.
Ms. BROWNER. I will look forward to that, and I hope so will that Governor.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. One further comment here in all of this paperwork.
Dr. Wolf, I assume, is a credited scientist, as far as you are concerned?
Ms. BROWNER. Sidney Wolf, I think
The CHAIRMAN. George Wolf.
Ms. BROWNER. I am sorry. There are two differentGeorge Wolf isyes. He is employed by General Motors
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Ms. BROWNER. And he did share out peer review.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Scientific advisory. All right.
Ms. BROWNER. And we appreciate his work.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask you about his letter when he came to closure with the committee to you. It says, ''Dr. Wolf, 5 years from now, if we do not have the results of research coupling ozone air quality and plant biology under conditions more representative of the ambient field conditions, to avoid the shortcomings of the open-topped chamber experiments then we will continue to be hampered by our inability to come to consensus of levels of air quality that are protective of vegetation and the ecosystems at the most reasonable cost.''
Ms. BROWNER. Yeah. I can explain it.
The CHAIRMAN. Please.
Ms. BROWNER. Under the Clean Air Act, there are twothis is getting really confusing, but there are two types of national ambient air quality standards that we are authorized to set: A primary, which focuses on public health, and if necessary, a secondary, which focuses on the kind of things that you just referenced, plant life, for example.
The CHAIRMAN. This is ozone?
Ms. BROWNER. It would work for any of these, but let us use ozone as the example.
If you make a determination that your public health, your primary standard is adequate to address the non-human health effects of pollution, then it is not necessary to set a secondary standard.
If you made a decisionthe one way things could happen under this provision in the law is that, rather than setting a primary public health standard, you could set secondary plant ecosystem agricultural standards.
And what he was speaking to in the closure letter was the distinction between what the law directs us to do in terms of a primary standard, which is focused on public health, and a secondary standard.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The panelif you read the sentence above, I think the one you read, it says, ''The panel is in agreement that plants are being damaged by ozone and that the current secondary standard is not sufficiently protective.''
We did not make an adjustment to the secondary standard at this point in time because we addressed it through the primary public health standard.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. You really cleared that up for me.
Ms. BROWNER. This is not an easy part of the law. I apologize.
The CHAIRMAN. I do know that you, and I think you claim that there would be $500 million advantage to agriculture, and I think he is saying we do not know.
Ms. BROWNER. That is not what he is saying, with all due respect.
It is not what he is saying. He is making a different distinction here.
The CHAIRMAN. Then how did you determine that we would have $500 million advantage to agriculture?
Ms. BROWNER. The studies that we are going to provide to you that focus on agricultural crop loss as a result of current levels of ozone, the dollar amounts are extrapolated from those studies, and we are going towe will give you all of the studies that looked at what was happening to farmers when the pollution hit a certain level.
The CHAIRMAN. Make sure we get those. Thank you.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Cooksey.
Dr. COOKSEY. Ms. Browner, an easy question. Maybe a ''yes or no'' answer.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you ever get impatient with politicians?
Ms. BROWNER. No. We each have a responsibility in our serious nonattainment to the American people. We seek to discharge that. No.
Dr. COOKSEY. Have you spent your entire career with politicians or are there with us?
Ms. BROWNER. I am more than happy to explain what I have done.
I have had the great fortune to work with State legislatures, with the United States Senate, to work in the Executive Branch, to work a number of individuals who choose public service and have done a very good job of it.
Dr. COOKSEY. Well, in case you do get impatient, there are people out there in the private sector, farmers that get impatient with regulators, and that is the reason for the question, the concern.
And apparently, just from what I can pick up, there has been some misinformation for that. I am not sure who put it out and where.
How many people do you have with you today?
Are the three of them or all six of them with you?
Ms. BROWNER. We have three technical experts. Ourwe have
Dr. COOKSEY. Six?
Ms. BROWNER. We have 18,000 people. Hardly several.
Dr. COOKSEY. Out of the six people today, how many of them have a scientific background?
Ms. BROWNER. Raise your hands.
Dr. COOKSEY. How many are lawyers?
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. She comes from industry. Does thathow do we
Dr. COOKSEY. How many are lawyers?
Ms. BROWNER. I am a lawyer.
Dr. COOKSEY. Just two lawyers. That is good. OK.
Well, it looks to me that part of this is a communications problem and a PR problem, and I am really, really sure that all of these proposed regulations are not so bad. They are really not going to have any adverse effect on anyone, and they will have a very beneficial effect.
Ms. BROWNER. Let me be clear. There are industries that will have to reduce their pollution. I want to be abundantly clear. And based on the work that we have done with the States, the largest utilities are where you can get the most cost effective pollution reductions.
This is not a question of people continuing to emit the levels of pollution they have emitted. Those levels of pollution, as you understand, is a position are causing very real health effects in people across this country. So there will be industries that need to reduce their pollution.
The States have come to us. They have worked with us to develop a plan that says, ''Hope is on the large utilities.'' That is where you can get the pollution reductions in a cost effective manner.
Dr. COOKSEY. Along that line, what fuel sources are large utilities using?
Ms. BROWNER. Most of them would be coal. There is some natural gas. There is some oil. The vast majority would be
Dr. COOKSEY. The type of guidance that we have received in Louisiana from the Federal Government, seventies, eighties, we were first to build coal burning plants in Louisiana, and there is one built right on top of the Tuscaloosa train, which is one of the most productive gas resources in United States at the time. And it still produces a lot of natural gas.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We would invite everyone to burn Louisiana natural gas.
Do you consider that a clean fuel source?
Ms. BROWNER. It is cleaner. Natural gas is cleaner.
Dr. COOKSEY. Is it the cleanest?
Ms. BROWNER. I do not know that we couldI mean there is all kinds of emissions you worry about from utilities. We are focused today on air. You focus on waste. You focus on water.
I mean when you look at a facility in its entirety, in terms of air pollution, I think we would agree with you on balance that natural gas results in less air pollution. Not zero.
Dr. COOKSEY. Let me ask this: Where does nuclear
Ms. BROWNER. That is an important point. I do not know if this is where you are going.
A coal facility, a natural gas, the way the program that we are developing, have developed with the States is structured, through a training program, they can meet the standards. So this is notthis is, I guess, the term you might be looking to use is, you know, does this new public health air standard prefer one fuel over another, and it does not dictate the fuel choices in any way, shape or form.
Dr. COOKSEY. But it dictates the fuel emissions?
Ms. BROWNER. It dictates the overall emissions. That is what we are worried about. And, again, remember you use a cap and trade program, so what could happen is a natural gas facility would be required to have emissions below the cap and could sell pollution credits to another type of facility that might be above the cap.
What we care about, because ozone moves such great distances, it is like soup up there. What we care about is just reducing the overall amounts of soup.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are otherwise focused on individual facilities.
Dr. COOKSEY. I understand.
Now let me ask this: Where does nuclear energy stand in this in terms of emissions?
Ms. BROWNER. They do not have emissions in terms of this issue.
Dr. COOKSEY. So then are you telling me, then, that nuclear energy would be cleaner than natural gas?
Ms. BROWNER. Again, what we are focused on today is air pollution from smokestacks. We are not focused on the broader issues of these facilities. And all of the pollution problems, waste disposal problems that can occur with these facilities, and the challenges that we face, they will be different from facility type to facility type.
This is an air pollution standard.
Dr. COOKSEY. All right. Let me ask you this question: What would the EPA think is the best source of energy?
If you are saying that energy
Ms. BROWNER. That is not my job.
Dr. COOKSEY [continuing]. Utilities which are producing energy, taking one form of energy, turning it into another form of energy, what I know that that is not what you are supposed to do, but give us guidance.
Ms. BROWNER. We have a Department of Energy that does that.
That is not our job. Our job is not to go out there and pick a favorite few.
Dr. COOKSEY. Would you have any wild idea
The CHAIRMAN. She is not going to answer your question, Dr. Cooksey.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BROWNER. You know, what our job is to ensure that the public has clean air to breathe, and I believe that is a goal we all share, and to do it in the most cost effective manner.
Using these cap and trade programs, asI mentioned earlieryou may have been out of the room. This was a program actually developed under George Bushhas proven to be far more cost effective than anyone ever dreamed, EPA, industry, anyone ever dreamed.
The acid rain problem, just by way of example, 10 years ago, and that was being debated by Congress. There were studies done of what it would cost industry to reduce acid rain. And the studies done by industry said it would cost $1,000 per ton of pollution reduction. But that is expensive.
EPA did its own study, and it said, $600, so there was an EPA industry split.
Do you know what it costs today for the Chicago Board of Trade to buy 1 ton credit for acid rain?
Dr. COOKSEY. Tell me.
Ms. BROWNER. Seventy-eight dollars. Not a thousand, not $600. $78.
What that shows you, that if you use market forces, if you get Government out of the business of saying, ''You have to reduce this facility by this much and this facility by that much,'' and instead you allow the people who run the facilities within their board rooms to say, ''Gee, this facility is an older facility. We do not want to put a new scrubber on. We are going to buy some credits, but, boy, we are building a new one and we are going to make it even cleaner. We are going to sell those credits for some money.''
Allow the market to buy
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. All time has expired.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. COOKSEY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. We are about to expire.
No. That is not true.
Ms. Browner, thank you for your patience in answering all our questions. There will be questions submitted in writing from the members who had to go elsewhere or some of these members still here.
Ms. BROWNER. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. We do have another panel. Again, thank you very much for your time.
Ms. BROWNER. Thank you very, very much, and we will look forward to working with you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Ms. BROWNER. And obviously on the guidance and other issues that we have spoken to today. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Dr. Parnell and Mr. Roger Isom, gentlemen, thank you. I know it was quite a long wait. I am sorry about that, but the interest in this subject, as you know, is immense.
I will ask you, Dr. Parnell, to begin your statement, please.
STATEMENT OF CALVIN B. PARNELL, JR., PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE STATION, TX
Mr. PARNELL. Yes, sir. My statement is in the record, and what I am going to do is try to summarize that.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, so ordered. Thank you.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PARNELL. Thank you.
Let me say that I represent myself and not Texas A&M University or Texas A&M University system. I have to say that.
I am a professor at Texas A&M in agricultural engineering. I have been on a farm. I have choppedcotton. I have shovelled manure. I have done the kind of things that some of your members may say that I qualify.
My question to the Congress here is, why now? If you go back and look at the schedule that EPA has for implementationmy schedule differed a little bit from the Administrator's. A SAPRA has 3 years to perform PM2.5 sampling. I am using the term, ''SAPRA,'' State Air Pollution Regulatory Agencies, and I will use that quite often in my testimony. And the reason why I do that is, in Texas, we have the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, and Mr. Smith, in Oregon, you have the DEQ. And every State a different name for its SAPRA. So I use the term, ''SAPRA,'' State Air Pollution Regulatory Agency, to represent all of those.
They have 3 years from the initiaion of the PM2.5 NAQQS to obtain 3 years of data. They should have initial PM2.5 data by the year 2001. Then they will have the rest of the monitor's data by the year 2004.
The first examination of nonattainment will be 2002. The SAPRA's have 3 years to submit control plans to the EPA. That is 2005 to 2008, and they have ten years to bring nonattainment areas into attainment. That is 2012 to 2015.
The implementation dates I have presented here are a little different than the Administrator's. She says 2009, and I am saying 2012.
But the point is this: We have until 2012 before we are going to see a change in the ambient level of PM2.5. That is the issue. When EPA comes up and says that we are going to save 15,000 lives and 300,000 people with diagnosed asthma, the only time you do that is when you change the ambient level of PM2.5.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Irrespective of all this other discussion you have had today, if you do not change the ambient level of PM2.5, you are not going to impact public health. You are not going to get any of the benefits.
And that is the issue that the Administrator is not addressing here. You have got to change it.
Now how do we change it? Well, the only way you change the ambient level of PM2.5 is you go out there and look at the sources of PM2.5 and say, ''We are going to have you reduce the amount of PM2.5 you are putting into the ambient air. Some of PMS 2.5 will be forced to reduce the amount of PM2.5 they put into the ambient air.'' That is the only way.
I mean all other discussion aside, if you have a source out there that is emitting PM2.5 if you do not have them reduce the amount of PM2.5 they are emitting into ambient air, you are not going to change the ambient level.
Now all the discussion today about science has been focused primarily on health effects. The Administrator kept using the term, ''science, science.'' She's primarily talking about health effects. But when you get down to the real problems here, they are engineering problems. How are we going to reduce the emission rate of PM2.5 from that facility?
In addition, how are we going to speciate out on this very small mass of PM2.5 captured by FRM sampler. The PM10 sample is 40. This one sample is 0.6 CFM.
The sample is a very small amount of particulate, and what EPA is saying is, ''We can speciate. We can tell you where that particulate is coming from.''
The science associated with operating PM2.5 is not well developed. That is really difficult.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If we cannot speciate out where PM2.5 comes from, then how do we determine the origination of the PM2.5 so we can regulate the source? They can sample, in your district, Congressman Smith, and it could be coming from some other place, PM2.5 can travel long distances.
In fact, we have indications that it comes all the way from Africa to this country.
How do we determine who should we put that control on?
If we are in Texas, Mr. Stenholm, and we have an area that is not in attainment for PM2.5, was that a consequence of a dust storm in Lubbock, TX or was it a consequence of something happening in Houston at a utility or maybe a petroleum processing plant?
How do we determine that? That is hard. That is not easy. That is difficult. But yet the impression you get from the EPA is, ''Oh, yes. We could do that.'' That is my concern.
Now let me go to the main concern here, and that is, is it going to affect agriculture?
It is my opinion, yes it will. I have been involved in doing research in air pollution for 30 years. It is going to impact agriculture. Let me tell you why.
The Administrator keeps saying, ''Well, the Governor will not do this and the Governor will not do that.''
Well, I used to be a member of the Texas Air Control Board in Texas, and the Governor Clements did not come down to our board meeting. He did not tell our staff or enforcement staff whether or not they were going to go out there and tell that cotton gin they had to put in more cyclones, or tell that grain elevator that they were fined $10,000 because they are in violation of TNRCC regulations or the Texas Clean Air Control Act. The Governor did not do that.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Texas Air Control Board is now the TNRCC. About 20 of my graduates, including my daughter, work for the TNRCC. And I have a high regard for them. They do a super job.
And how do we assure our agricultural clientele that they are not going to be impacted?
Because the Administrator said so? No.
It is going to happen with actions taken by the SAPRA's. TNRCC is going to regulate air pollution in Texas and the DEQ in Oregon is going to regulate it. And it does not make a difference how much you tell your people who voted you into office and say, ''Well, I talked to the administrator, and she said it is not going to affect us.'' It is going to affect agriculture, and let me stop right there. I have just a few more minutes. It is going to affect agriculture.
If I could make one last statement.
What if I came to you and said that I am a Federal agency and I said, ''Look, we want to save 15,000 lives and we can do it with this new regulation. We are going to change the speed limit you can drive down the highway from 70 to 20, and we could save 15,000 lives. We are going to do it, you know. It is important. 15,000 lives are more important than anything in the world.''
It is the same thing, gentleman, but the people who voted you into office would not allow you to do it. They would say, ''You are not going to tell me I cannot go 70 miles an hour,'' and you would not allow that to happen.''
The difficulty with this issue is it is so complicated and so technical that the general public really does not understand it. But the real issue is, are we going to change the ambient level of PM2.5, and I question whether we really will.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Parnell appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you, Dr. Parnell, very much.
STATEMENT OF ROGER ISOM, DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES, CALIFORNIA COTTON GINNERS AND GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Mr. ISOM. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Again, for the record, my comments have already been submitted, and my name is Roger Isom and I am director of technical services for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association. And let me say one thing before I get into my comments and that is I hope to God that I am wrong in what I say because I think that a farmer in California truly wishes that we are not going to have another issue like air quality.
We have already got endangered species, water quality and numerous other ones that we do not need another one. But I think my experience or our experience in California dictates a totally different answer, and let me tell you why.
We will start with the ozone standard. There are two ingredients that form ozone or smog, and those are volatile organic compounds, VOC's, and then there are oxides of nitrogen, or NOX.
VOC's and NOX, when they are mixed together in the air, form smog.
We are alreadyand I am saying thisalready under a rule in California for pesticides because pesticides contain VOC's. We have to reduce those emissions of VOC's by 20 percent by the year 2005.
To say that farmers are not going to be affected by that is totally wrong because what is going to happen, in order to produce those VOC's, you can't go up there and put a scrubber on the field after it has been sprayed. You have to do two things: You either reformulate the pesticide to lower its VOC content or you eliminate it.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if a farmer in California cannot get a pesticide, the cost of doing business is going to go up.
If a chemical manufacturer has to reformulate a pesticide just for California, a California farmer is going to pay more than anybody else in the United States. So, truly, it is going to affect agricultural operations.
The other ingredient I talked about, NOX, two sources that were currently being addressed right now, and those are NOX emissions from engines, be it our trucking or tractors or irrigation pumps. We have already addressed that in my comments. I talk about irrigation pumps and how at one time, the air districts out there estimated we had more emissions than all the cars and trucks in the San Joaquin Valley.
Only through studies and better science that we are involved did we find out the real answer; that we were not part of the problem, at least on that part of it.
Another issue that States and EPA have brought up and we are currently studying in California is soil NOX, or oxide nitrogen emissions that come off the soil from fertilizer application, and ammonia emissions. Ammonia emissions from the fertilizer application and from dairies and feed lots.
They're are currently in our State implementation plans for PM10 and for ozone and/or being addressed by the California Regional Particulate Matter Quality Study. So they are very much part of the issue.
It has already been commented today that an STAPPA/ALAPCO report that Congressman Stenholm referred to, that is one of the primary tools when I went to the district to say, ''Is PM2.5 going to be an issue?'' That is the document that they handed and said, ''Yes, you are. You are No. 2.''
And while I would again hope that what Ms. Browner presented today is true, that agriculture is only 6 percent of the PM2.5 problem, the study, the science that is coming out on that is just barely getting started.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I sit on the technical committee that reviews that study, that participated in that, and we are in the very first years of that, and we do not expect to have final results until 2003 or 2004. We have a long ways to go, and I am only talking about California.
The VOC's and pesticides that I mentioned earlier, Ms. Browner talked about primary versus secondary. Secondary come from oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulphur. They form nitrates and sulphates.
Again, oxides of nitrogen, the diesel trucks, tractors, the fertilizer are all part of that.
In the San Joaquin Valley, the State Implementation Plan that was submitted to EPA that is currently under review, they included VOC's and pesticides as a control measure under their PM10/PM2.5 issue.
And to some of them, maybe one other comment that was made iswas the issue of is there damage to crops or how much are we going to save.
I do not know about all the crops, but in the San Joaquin Valley, we have the highest yielding cotton in the world, and we have some of the highest ozone levels that are measured anywhere in the United States.
So I do not know if that is truly an issue if the levels that were mentioned in that study actually referred to levels that were out there, but to say that there is widespread damage, I would have to raise some questions.
But in summary, what I am saying is that we are definitely going to be affected. We are already being affected. There is no question we are going to be affected, it is just a matter of how much we are going to be affected.
What we need to do is carry out these studies that have been talked about, the California Regional Particulate Matter Quality Study. We need to get monitors that can speciate, that can surely tell you where those sources are coming from.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is hard to say that agriculture is a PM2.5 emitter. We do not even have monitors out there that are federally approved yet, in place and operating, that can tell you that. We need to get those in place. We need to do those. We need to work with EPA as we are with the Air Quality Task Force and USDA, and our California Regional Particulate Matter Air Quality Study.
I mean my organization, a little organization as it is, has put over $120,000 in that study. So we are committed to working with these people, with the EPA and USDA to find those answers, but we have got to find those answers before we are forced into laws that can seriously impact our operations.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Isom appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I thank you both, and I think the tenor of many of us, this committee, first Dr. Parnell, what are we going to do if we really want to reduce ambient air, we got to take action, and we are not doing that. And no one knows what it is going to mean to energy developers in this country. We do not know the cost of that.
And Mr. Isom, you have accurately, I think, pointed out that agriculture is involved, will be involved, and despite what has been said.
So it is very important you were here, and I thank you for appearing. I know it is a long way to come, but it reassures our supposition that agriculture, indeed, is involved, and we have to do something somewhere along the line to ease what may be a great thing to agriculture.
Mr. STENHOLM. Let me see if I can pose the question another way, Dr. Parnell and Mr. Isom.
We are holding these hearings because the EPA proposed changes in the ambient air quality standards; they tell us that 2.5 is a problem, and if we do not do something about the problem, bad things are going to occur.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You testified eloquently to the 15,000.
Can the EPA share any information as to where we are in terms of technology?
If it is agriculture that is creating the problem, we all know we are going to have to solve the problem eventually. People will demand it.
Where are we on the technology to do that which EPA says we need to do?
Mr. PARNELL. Let me comment first by saying, and complement EPA and the SAPPA's.
In the last 10 years, we have reduced PM10 by 30 percent. That percentage varies and those numbers are kind of nebulous. But there has been a significant reduction of PM10 as a consequence, by the way, of the excellent efforts by EPA and the State air pollution regulatory agencies.
Now the question you are asking is, ''Where are we at on the PM2.5 issue? And when you heard the Administrator talking about, ''Well, PM2.5 and PM10 are two differentare two different particles.''
In reality, when you sample PM10 samples, you are sampling PM2.5. It is included in that measurement.
But the way they are doing this new PM2.5 sampler is they are supposed to be making the sharp cut at 2.5 microns aerodynamic. Taking all the particles larger than 2.5 microns out so that they are only measuring the smaller particles.
So as the Administrator says, you are talking about two different pollutants, she is, in part, right. They are two different pollutants. PM10 will contain PM2.5.
The answer to your question, ''Where are we,'' I think we are in aif I were to view it, in kind of the Model-T stage of automobile development in this PM2.5 area. It is just a new pollutant.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now we have not got the technology, in my opinion, to go out there and put on a cotton gin right now, or a grain elevator, whatever, and lower PM2.5. And let me give you an example.
Roger is in California. If his cotton gin were 20 bales per hour, it would require 140,000 CFM. Typically, you use a cyclone for that, and it costs about a dollar per CFM. So they would have an investment of $140,000, and Roger will tell you that is low, but that is the number I am going to use as a basis.
The very next step for control of that cotton gin is bag filters. The cost is, at a minimum, is $10 per CFM. $1.4 million. Now the gin itself may not be worth $1.4 million.
And the fact is, if you force cotton gins to put bag filters on today, they would probably go out of business, every one of them would.
So that is where we are at. We are in a Model-T stage of this development of controls, and we do not know how we are going to control in agriculture our reduction in PM2.5.
Did I answer your question, Mr. Stenholm?
Mr. STENHOLM. Yes. That is one area.
Do we have the equipment to measure the 2.5?
Where are we on the technology of measuring that?
Could we use the San Joaquin Valley example of a test?
Mr. PARNELL. One of the areas that you were asking earlier is that the sample they used in California, which is a little bit more advanced.
Now we submitted, along with two other colleagues, some comments to EPA in open comment period on the equipment, what is called the Federal Reference Method Sampler for measuring PM2.5.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And according to our calculations, it has a cut point not of 2.5 micron aerodynamic equivilent diameter, but 2.74 microns.
In addition to that, it is not a performance based sampler. What I mean by that is, there is some equations you use as an engineer to design the sampler, and say, ''OK. This should be the cut point.''
You have not taken it out there in the environment and tested it where you have a 65 micrograms per cubic meter PM2.5; 150 micrograms per cubic meter PM10 and 300 micrograms per cubic meter TSP and see how it works. It has not gone through that. It only came out in January.
They had the open comment period up until September 8. One of the comments I put on my written document is, ''We are putting the cart before the horse.'' I mean we have got the standard all ready. The Administrator has signed it and the President supported it, and we are still talking about whether or not that sampler is going to really do a reliable job or accurate job of measuring PM2.5, and there is some concern of whether it really will.
Mr. STENHOLM. Do you have any comments?
Mr. ISOM. No. Not on the specific equipment. That issue, you just do not want to go in, so other thanI think the answer to the question is, no one knows.
Mr. STENHOLM. We should be rightfully concerned about the adoption of a rigid standard to address health issues. We should also be concerned about having the equipment to do the job. I believe that was the gist of your testimony, Dr. Parnell.
I am certainly not disagreeing with my colleague, Mr. Farr, and his analysis. I do not disagree with what he said about agriculture. I differ with him in that if we adopt the purest environmental policy, there would be many more than 15,000 people who would die every year from hunger. And that is what bothers me about some of the extrapolations made about from the safety of our food supply, and the safety of our air and water.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you take all of this to the extreme degree, you are going to have a lot of folks starve to death in this world today. Maybe not in the United States any time soon, but certainly in other areas.
It is difficult to talk about this without looking like we have a total disregard for human health outside and off the farm. Thank you both for sharing your testimony. It was excellent, and I enjoyed your verbal dissertations.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Dr. Cooksey.
Dr. COOKSEY. I appreciated your comments. As a scientist, I believe you are a true scientist, even though you are a Texas aggie. I have one of my degrees from down there a little ways east of you.
Mr. STENHOLM. Would the gentleman yield?
Normally I would not do this, but since I have now had a daughter graduate from Texas A&M, and even though I am a Red Raider, I feel compelled to come to the defense of my Texas aggie, even if it is on the public record.
Dr. COOKSEY. I do appreciate your comment. It uses scientificit is believable, you know, and that is what we need here. I think everybody here just wants facts and not so muchI have to be careful about my choice of words here, with that Texasbut you know what I am talking about.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, thank you.
Mr. PARNELL. Let me make one comment.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, please, Dr. Parnell.
Mr. PARNELL. And let me comment on Mr. Stenholm.
I have a daughter that has two degrees from aggie land, and she works for the TNRCC in Texas, and I am convinced that agency is probably one of the best State air pollution agencies in the United States.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But in response to what Mr. Cooksey said, I think it is important here because I think he spentaway from me, and every time I come here, I am intimidated and I am in awe of you elected officials, and especially today of the Administrator Browner. She is an absolute articulate person, and it was a joy to watch her respond to your comments.
But we have a situation right now in this country where our concern should be what is best for the public. And one of my concerns is, and I put it in my written document, is that I get the impression sometimes that the regulatory agency, EPA, can get a little bit influenced, a little too one-sided, and let me comment on that.
At one end of the spectrum are the industries that says, ''We do not need any regulation. We are good guys. We will do the right thing.'' That is wrong. That is incorrect.
At the other end of the spectrum are the environmental special interests that says, ''We really want pristine air. We want absolutely perfectly clean air,'' and that is wrong. That is incorrect.
But the agency has to be somewhere in that center, and they are constantly being influenced by both ends of the spectrum, and my concern right now, and as I put it into my written documents, I am concerned that EPA is being influenced by one side of the spectrum, a little more so than the other, and it is no longer in the center. And we have got to be careful.
Dr. COOKSEY. Can I comment on that?
I assume the lady behind youyou are from the EPA? Is that correct?
Let me just tell you the reason for my concern and my line of questioning to Ms. Browner.
I had a meeting with someone from an EPA regional office. They came in earlier this year and I was a little bit bothered by the fact that, ''if you got a problem, just call us. We can probably work it out.''
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But anyway, I got to question this person and I thought, ''Gee, she has a background. She is a chemical engineer. Something like that.''
And I asked if she had a technical background, and she said, ''Well, no. I do not.''
And it turns out, she said her background is that she grew up near Virginia and in the Washington, DC area, and she has worked in Government all of her life. She did not go anything beyond a high school education, and yet she is a regulator.
And that is what bothers me. And that will influence me for the entire time I am in Congress to think that people with the EPA do not have any kind of scientific background.
I am trying toand when you are trying to do the scientific method, you have to deal with facts. Lawyers, politicians, all those deal with facts. But I cannot overcome my training, and that bothers me. And I will always be jaundiced in my opinion of regulators as a result of this person.
I do not want to identify her. She was pleasant. She was courteous, but it bothers me that a person with thiswith no scientific background is a regulator.
Mr. PARNELL. Let me comment, Mr. Cooksey, on the young lady who is right behind me that is with the EPA. She is a very sharp chemical engineer and a very sharp lady. I happen to know her.
Dr. COOKSEY. Congratulations. You are a chemical engineer? Well, that is great. Now that reinstalls my faith in the EPA. That offsets that other lady.
The CHAIRMAN. You may continue this discussion after the hearing, if you do not mind.
This hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:55 p.m., the committee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN D. DINGELL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
I want to thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Stenholm for giving me this opportunity to testify on the Environmental Protection Agency's new air quality standards. I hope that this hearing will help clear the air of the misconceptions and misinformation being spread about this matter.
Mr. Chairman, these new standards do not reflect the inescapable application of science to the subject, but the judgment of a political appointee.
The findings of the independent scientific panel convened to advise the Administrator on these two standards was divided. While there was some agreement on changing the form of the two standards, on the most important issuethe stringency of a new standardthe panel reached no consensus and individual views were all over the map.
The Administrator exercised her right to step in and made the calls the scientists wouldn't. Having done so, the consequences of this decision are much clearer than the science.
Based on data from EPA and EPA past practices, we can expect some 540 counties will fail to meet the new ozone standard, and some 280 will fail to meet the fine particle standard. Those areas will then have to identify every source and apply stringent controls and restrictions. EPA, in its own materials on the standards, refers to the ''stigma'' of noncompliance and the ''burdensome planning requirements and restrictions on growth'' that flow from being out of compliance.
We may hear from the Administrator that the figure I've just cited on the number of counties affected is wrong, because EPA does not know yet which areas do or do not comply with the new standards. But if EPA does not know the facts as to which areas will be out of compliance, how can the agency assure us that new controls will not be required?
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Yet that's exactly what EPA is doing. EPA promised the President of the Arizona Farm Bureau that the rules wouldn't affect agriculture; they were designed to get automobiles.
EPA told the Steelworkers union that the rules wouldn't affect the mills or coke ovens; they would catch agriculture instead.
The Administrator testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee and said the targets were power plants and large industrial facilities, and not agriculture.
EPA wrote a Member of Congress from Ohio to tell him that even if his home county fell out of compliance, new controls on industrial facilities would not be required.
Most recently, EPA wrote Senator Kennedy and assured him that construction jobs would not be affected by the new standards. This last promise is especially audacious given the fact that the Clean Air Act has two mandatory sanctions for the failure to meet even a single requirement: A de facto growth ban and a cut off of Federal highway funds.
Of course none of these assurances is of any value. EPA doesn't draw up the plans to bring air quality into compliance. The plans are drawn up by the states. When the States look to see who will have to take action to meet the new fine particle standard, agriculture may well be a target.
It is uncontested that many farm activitiessuch as feed lot operations, green houses, crop and debris burning, tractor and other farm equipment operations, fertilizer applications, and even plowing and other land disturbing activitiesgenerate fine particle emissions.
And there is no doubt that these emissions will be significant. Administrator Browner in her testimony cites data from the Central Valley in California as showing that soil tilling alone accounts for 6 percent of the total PM2.5 being measured. While that may seem insignificant, bear in mind that EPA is about to order major controls on Midwest utilities due to a similar contribution to the ozone problem in the Northeast.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Moreover, after reviewing the ''Implementation Plan'' issued with the new standards, it is clear that we can adopt the Klink-Upton-Boucher bill and meet the time line for implementing new standards envisioned in the administration's own implementation plan. In other words, we can delay the new standards for five years and not slow down the point when actual emissions reductions are due by one single day.
For example, under the administration's implementation plan, EPA will spend the next 5 years building a national fine particle monitoring network and gathering the necessary atmospheric data to make designations under the new standard. At the same time, EPA will conduct research on the health effects to try and answer the numerous scientific questions that stymied its science advisory board during this review. EPA has promised in its Implementation Plan to complete this review before it begins further implementation of the new standard.
This is exactly the scenario provided for under H.R. 1984. The bill requires EPA to conduct the atmospheric monitoring and research during the next five years and use that to review the standard by the five year deadline, so H.R. 1984 will not delay by a day any needed controls on PM2.5 sources. H.R. 1984 will give States and industry the certainty that the approach EPA has indicated will in fact be followedno matter who is in the White House and who is the Administrator.
Similarly, if we delay implementation of a new ozone standard for five years, the work that EPA envisions for this periodcontinued implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and implementation of the recommendations of the ozone transport assessment groupwill go forward without the considerable problems caused by the layering on of a new ozone standard. A statutory fix to delay implementation of the new ozone standard is a far superior way to allow States the time to implement the Act and the transport strategy than the creative writing effort known as in the implementation plan. A statutory fix will also survive the first court challenge brought by any dissatisfied environmental group with access to a first year law student. The administration's implementation plan will not.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate the promises the agency and the Administrator have made to make these new standards more palatable. But I have enough experience with EPA and other bureaucracies to know that good intentions are not good enough. As Ronald Reagan used to say, ''Trust, but verify.'' Or as my dad used to say ''Trust the dealer, but cut the cards.''
I know that many of you support our efforts in the Commerce Committee to enact legislation delaying these standards and holding EPA to its promises. I thank you for your support and for the opportunity to testify today.
STATEMENT OF HON. BOB ETHERIDGE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
I want to commend the Environmental Protection Agency and you, Administrator Browner, for your efforts to protect and enhance the quality of our nation's environment. As the number of people inhabiting the earth continues to grow, as businesses continue to expand and as new development sweeps the globe, the work of the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental advocacy groups has never been more important than it is today.
Reasonable laws and regulations designed to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, play a necessary and proper role in our continuing struggle to balance the needs of the environment with the need for quality jobs and economic security for our citizens. I strongly support efforts to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere and to clean our air as is being accomplished through the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The current standards represent the type of justifiable and balanced approach to protecting our environment that I favor. These standards and the Clean Air Act in general have provided a successful framework for the attainment of national air quality goals. As a result of the Clean Air Act and the current standards there has been a 31 percent reduction in air pollution in the United States since 1970, despite a 27 percent increase in the U.S. population. Further emissions reductions are expected as the current Clean Air Act requirements are fully implemented between now and the year 2000.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With the success of the current standards in mind, it concerned me when I came to Washington in January and learned that the administration wanted to implement new and farther-reaching standards. Enjoying the cleanest air we have had in over two decades and with the air expected to only get cleaner over the next five years, it seemed to me that the proposed standards were a solution in search of a crisis. I have also been concerned about the divisions within the scientific community, some within the EPA's own Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, over the health effects of particulate matter and the necessity for the new standards. I was especially alarmed when I learned after reading your testimony before the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment that the air would actually get dirtier as the new standards were implemented.
With this in mind I have joined a number of my colleagues in encouraging you and the President to go slow in the implementation of new and costly clean air standards and to perform additional research on the health effects of particulate matter. Again today, I would urge you and the administration to redouble your efforts to work with state and local governments and businesses throughout the country in an effort to continue and build on the success of the current clean air standards while conducting additional research and monitoring of particulate matter prior to the implementation of the new ones.
TESTIMONY OF HON. RON KLINK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee for inviting me to speak today. This is an issue of great importance to me because the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new ozone and fine particle standards are already adversely affecting the economy and the public health of the District I represent.
In April, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported that Western Pennsylvania economic development officials were pursuing a massive auto manufacturing plant. It would have employed 2,500 people. But the plant officials dropped Western Pennsylvania from the list of sites under consideration almost immediately because they would have to purchase well over $3 million in pollution credits to locate in Pennsylvania. Instead, they are looking at states such as Ohio and West Virginia, which are upwind of us. That means that Southwestern Pennsylvania would get the auto plants' pollution but not the benefits of job creation.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is only one example of the effects the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) revisions could have. There may be dozens of other such stories that were never reported in the press.
Everyone agrees that the Clean Air Act has been an incredible success and will continue to clean the air for at least the next five years, with or without these new standards. It is important to me as a father of two that nothing derail the continued success of the Clean Air Act.
The area of Pennsylvania that I represent is outside of Pittsburgh which used to be referred to as ''Hell with the lid off.'' In my previous life, I was a news reporter and interviewed a doctor from Donora, Pennsylvania, who treated the people of that town during a temperature inversion. The inversion, in effect, put a lid on the atmosphere, trapping all the air underneath. The results in a high pollution area can be horrible, with no place for the pollution to go except in people's eyes, noses, and throats. This doctor witnessed people literally dropping dead in the street. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, we know how important clean air is and we have worked very hard to clean ours.
Today we are here to look at the process by which we clean the air under the Clean Air Act, and, more importantly, the process that lead the EPA to change the ozone and particulate matter standards. In the press we hear a lot of theoretical posturing about whether cleaner air is good, as if there is any doubt. But what no one wants to talk about is how the new standards affect the process we must follow to get cleaner air. The fact is, the new standards severely hamper the effectiveness of the Clean Air Act and will significantly slow our progress in cleaning the air.
Putting aside the lack of a scientific basis, the lack of evidence, or the intentions behind these new standards, the effect will be to keep the air dirtier for a longer period of time. Let us take, for example, the Washington, DC-Baltimore area. Under the old ozone standard (0.12 ppm), they would have had to reach attainment by 1999 to avoid being bumped up to more serious non-attainment designations or losing highway funds. Under the new standard, they have 10 to 15 years longer before they must reach a slightly more stringent standard. Why should we wait 10 to 15 years for cleaner air when we can demand it now? And more to the point, what is to prevent the EPA from letting the polluters off the hook again when that deadline gets close?
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So this is the question: why are we tightening the air quality standards, which will most certainly cause economic hardship across the country, when it does nothing to clean the air and in fact keeps it dirty? Doesn't that run counter to the purpose of the Clean Air Act?
As ranking member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, I have heard days upon days of testimony about the findings of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and how the EPA came to the conclusions it did. It is due to the comprehensive and methodical process of review by CASAC that we have learned as much as we have about the desperate need for more study of PM2.5 and the extremism of the new ozone standard. We had three past chairs of CASAC, as well as the current chair, testify before Oversight and Investigations about their findings and conclusions. They each said that though further study and regulation of P.M.2.5 is necessary, they do not have enough information at this time to recommend a standard. It was implied at the hearing that the EPA believes without actually setting a fine particle standard, they could not do the necessary study to determine what exactly the health affects of exposure to PM2.5 are. However, the EPA does have the authority to study P.M.2.5 without setting a standard, and I have introduced a bill (H.R. 1984), along with Mr Upton and Mr. Boucher, that directs EPA to get started immediately.
Something that troubles me are the glaring holes in the studies on which the EPA relied in setting this standard. For example, it was concluded in the Harvard 6- city study that Steubenville, Ohio (the city with the highest concentration of PM2.5 studied) had a 26 percent higher mortality rate than Portage, Wisconsin (the cleanest city studied). However, what the EPA did not mention was that researchers found among non-smokers there was no statistical difference in the deaths between these two cities. This was the basis of the EPA's proposal to set a PM2.5 standard.
On top of the lack of solid research and information about PM2.5, the EPA does not have the monitors to designate counties as being in ''attainment'' or ''non-attainment.'' The Clean Air Act requires that these designations be made within two
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 2 years of a new standard. However, the EPA has proposed an implementation plan that would leave most counties without a designation for six years or more. This makes the EPA vulnerable to a lawsuit for failure to comply with the Clean Air Act. The EPA claims their lawyers have found a way to interpret the Clean Air Act that would permit them to use their creative implementation process. But most of us know that there is always a way to interpret the law to support your position. The question is will a judge agree? The EPA's lawyers are obviously not concerned with Congress' intent, they are only concerned with helping Carol Browner to ram these standards down the throats of the American people through the use of an illegal implementation plan. Other attorneys who disagree with the EPA's interpretation will argue their positions in lawsuits. This will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in court costs to defend an agency whose implementation plan violates the very Act it was created to enforce.
The point is when Congress stated in the Clean Air Act that a designation should be made within two years of a new standard, it meant just that. Congress does not set deadlines without reason. The purpose of this deadline was to keep the clean-up process moving. Setting a standard and then putting off implementation for five to ten years does not accomplish that. It looks like the EPA does not believe its own numbers. They say pollution is killing people, but don't worry about stricter standards because none of the polluters will be punished or deterred for ten years.
Moreover, the EPA says that by putting off the enforcement of the standards, they are protecting business. But that is not true. Permits are not going to be granted to build or expand factories because states could lose highway funds six years from now. And anyone who understands business knows that no company is going to invest millions of dollars to build in an area that may be subject to severe restrictions and penalties in five to ten years. Once the standards are on the books, they are effectiveimmediately.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It would make more sense for the EPA to follow CASAC's advice and gather more information on PM2.5. After all, it will take a minimum of two years to get the needed monitors built, deployed, and calibrated. It will then take three years to gather enough information to make designations. By that point, the EPA will have to conduct another five-year review of this standard. My bill, H.R. 1984, authorizes the funds needed to buy the P.M.2.5 monitors and do more studies on the health effects of P.M.2.5. Then the EPA could bring complete data to CASAC for the next five-year review, and if a new standard is required, the EPA will have the ability to move forward firmly grounded in science and with the tools needed to move quickly.
Now to turn our attention to ozone, CASAC stated over and over again that there was no ''bright line'' between the various proposed ozone levels that is more protective of public health and that any choice would be a policy call. That means that no longer do we have easy choices. Instead, every step steadily brings more modest benefits all the way down to background levels. Considering the fact that CASAC recommended a range of 0.07 ppm to 0.09 ppm for ozone and none of the levels is a ''bright line'' choice, it seems to be the best ''policy'' choice would have been 0.09 ppm. But instead, the EPA selected a much more expensive, only slightly more protective standard (which is what no one ever mentions) that will delay the cleaning of the air, put thousands out of work, and throw over 600 counties into ''non-attainment.''
Incidentally, the EPA was under a court order to review only the P.M. standard. They had until 1998 before the ozone standard had to be reviewed. When you look at the ozone standard alone, the EPA's own cost-benefit analysis shows that the costs outweigh the benefits of the new standard. But when combined with the PM standard, that is no longer true. It may be that the ozone and PM2.5 standards were linked to hide the cost of the ozone standard.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The problem I have with this whole process is that there is a tendency to look at these standards in isolation. What I mean is the EPA looked at the association between P.M.2.5 and respiratory problems. But what about hospitalizations and deaths due to lack of medical care? Or lack of medical care due to joblessness? We should not move hastily and find out that we have substituted one problem for another.
This is not the first time the EPA has rushed dangerously into a costly program. As a part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the EPA informed Pennsylvania that we would have to adopt a centralized auto emissions testing program. Believing that we had no choice, then-Governor Casey began to implement this system by hiring Envirotest Systems Corporation, a company out of Arizona, to run the testing system. A seven-year contract was signed that could have created profits as high as $100 million a year for this company.
As it turns out, the EPA mislead Pennsylvania. This particular system was not necessary to comply with the Clean Air Act Amendments. But we were already stuck with 86 ''E-check'' centers that had been built around the state and the contract with Envirotest. In late 1995, Envirotest threatened to sue Pennsylvania for more than $350 million for its expenses and loss of profits. Governor Ridge and his administration decided to pay a $145 million settlement rather than go to trial. Not one penny of that money went to clean up the air.
With the new ozone and fine particle standards, the EPA is making the same mistake all over again by rushing into something too quickly. When the flaws are discovered, Pennsylvania and other states will be left to repair the resulting damagealone. We cannot afford this kind of ''rush to judgment'' again. This time the damage will be more costly. EPA does not have a complete and conclusive scientific basis for these revisions, and they still have failed to address ozone transport. They have also failed to explain why the present mechanisms to clean the air should not play out before we tighten the standards. Pennsylvania's State Implementation Plan is not completely in place yet from the last revisions. We need to be allowed to finish what we started in 1990 before the rug is pulled out from under us and we are asked, unnecessarily, to begin again.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ever since these standards were proposed, Carol Browner has been running across the country, making promises of leniency in return for support. These promises include proposing extra-legal implementation plans, assuring that certain areas will not be affected, or telling one industry that other industries are the targets. The Act is supposed to be fairly and equally implemented across the country to clean the air. However, the EPA's abandonment of the statute for their implementation ''fixes'' means that the Agency's power to define implementation requirements and judge whether a state is meeting them are boundless. A column in the New York Times noted that under this extra-legal improvisation, ''the need for EPA waivers will mushroom, as will the temptation to use them to reward political friends and punish enemies.'' For example, Congressman Dennis Kucinich was assured in a letter from EPA Assistant Administrator Mary Nichols dated May 16, 1997 that certain automobile manufacturers in his district would not be affected. (See attachment.) In return, the EPA got his support.
At the same time, Southwestern Pennsylvania is being unfairly bumped into ''serious non-attainment.'' From 1989 to 1994, ozone levels in Southwestern Pennsylvania were so improved that they surpassed national standards. As a result, Pennsylvania asked the EPA to re-designate this region as in ''attainment.'' The EPA had 18 months to make that determination, yet took until April of 1996. They determined that Southwestern Pennsylvania slipped into ''serious non-attainment,'' but did so by including 17 instances that occurred after those 18 months elapsed. If they had acted in a timely manner, Southwestern Pennsylvania would be in ''attainment'' and at worst we would be looking at being bumped up to ''marginal non-attainment.'' As it stands, the region is faced with being designated as ''serious non-attainment'' which means it would be subjected to more stringent and costly air standards for industry and the loss of Federal highway funds.
Keep in mind that in July Vice President Gore assured Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy he would be willing to work with Pittsburgh. He said that less emphasis should be placed on measuring air quality at fixed sites and more focus should be on the source of pollutants. But 21 days later, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the EPA's decision to bump up Southwestern Pennsylvania to ''serious non-attainment.'' And the EPA is committed to do just that. Never mind that the Court found that the region's ozone problems stem from overflow of pollutants from Ohio and West Virginia. So, while Carol Browner is offering Mr. Kucinich's constituents a break from the Clean Air Act, Southwestern Pennsylvanians will continue to get Ohio's dirty air and get punished for it.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The EPA and Carol Browner are also doing a lot of finger pointing. They are telling agriculture that the targets of the new standards are utility and steel. And they are telling steel that the targets are utility and agriculture. In June, I met with the Steelworkers Union to discuss the new air quality standards. At that meeting, I was informed that the EPA had assured the Steelworkers that the steel industry was not the target of these new standards. But, rather, as contributors to fine particle pollution, both utilities and agriculture would be expected to share in the responsibility of cleaning up the air.
Saying EPA's new standards will help deal with the current air quality problems (and meeting the old standards) is like saying the addition of 50 yards at the end of a 100-yard dash will help someone run faster. As Chicago Mayor Daley says, ''The new standards include no new ideas.'' While the Northeastern states are filing ozone transport complaints against each other and the Midwestern states, the EPA stands idly by and offers no solutions. We should spend money to bring the hot spots into compliance and continue successful cleanup. We should not waste the taxpayers money to change the finish line in the middle of the race, slow the current progress in cleaning up the air, sacrifice thousands of jobs, and throw 600 counties into non-attainment.
TESTIMONY OF CAROL M. BROWNER, ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to discuss the effect on agriculture of Environmental Protection Agency's revisions to the national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone and particulate matter.
As you know, the Clean Air Act directs EPA to set national standards for certain air pollutants to protect public health and the environment. For each of these pollutants, Congress directed EPA to set what are known as ''primary'' standards to protect public health without consideration of cost. Under the Act, Congress directs EPA to review these standards every five years to determine whether the latest scientific research indicates a need to revise the standards.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In July of this year, I set new standards for ozone and particulate matter (PM) that will be a major step forward in public health and welfare protection. Each year, these updated standards have the potential to prevent as many as 15,000 premature deaths, and hundreds of thousands of cases of significantly decreased lung function in children and cases of aggravated asthma.
The new ozone and particulate matter standards are based on an extensive scientific and public review process. Congress directs EPA to consult with an independent scientific advisory board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In conducting these reviews, EPA analyzed thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies that had been published in well-respected scientific journals. These studies were then synthesized, and along with a recommendation on whether the existing standards were adequately protective, presented to CASAC. After 3 1/2 years of work, 11 meetings totaling more than 125 hours of public discussion, and based on 250 of the most relevant studies, the CASAC panel concluded that EPA's air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter should be revised. CASAC unanimously supported changing the ozone standards from a 1-hour averaging period to an 8-hour average to reflect increasing concern over prolonged exposure to ozone, particularly in children. CASAC also supported adding a fine particle standard. Fine particles are inhaled deeply into the lungs and are more strongly associated with serious health effects and visibility impairment than larger particles.
Based on scientific evidence reviewed by EPA and CASAC, EPA proposed revised standards and conducted an extensive public comment process, receiving approximately 57,000 comments at public hearings across the country and through written, telephone and E-mail message communications.
After carefully considering the results of this extensive process, and with the support of the President, I issued a final rule updating the ozone standard from 0.12 parts per million (ppm) of ozone measured over one hour to a standard of 0.08 ppm measured over eight hours, with the three-year average of the annual fourth highest concentration determining whether an area is out of compliance. The new standard will reduce ''flip-flopping'' in and out of attainment by changing from an ''expected exceedance'' to a ''concentration-based'' form.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For particulate matter, EPA is adding new standards for particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (known as ''PM2.5'' or fine particles). The fine particle standard will have two components: an annual standard, set at 15 micrograms per cubic meter and a 24-hour standard, set at 65 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA has also changed the form of the current 24-hour PM10 standard; this will provide some additional stability and flexibility to states in meeting that standard.
Our PM2.5 rule requires three years of Federal reference method air quality monitoring data for determining whether an area is ''attainment'' or ''nonattainment'' with the new PM2.5 standards. To obtain these data, a comprehensive network of monitors must be put in place. EPA has agreed to cover the cost of establishing that network through grants to states. In view of the time needed to establish the network and collect data, EPA expects that three years of PM2.5 monitoring data will not be available until between 2001 and 2004, depending on when monitors are installed in a given locality. Therefore, actual designations of attainment or nonattainment will not take place until between 2002 and 2005. If an area is designated nonattainment, a state will have up to three years to develop a plan to control the problem. Areas will have ample time to review and analyze the nature of their particulate matter problem and to develop technically sound and cost-effective control strategies. In addition, states that are participating in regional reduction programs to curb acid rain will not face new local requirements if full implementation of the acid rain program would enable attainment of the PM2.5 standard.
As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA intends to complete its next periodic review of the particulate matter national ambient air quality standards, including review by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, within five years of issuing these new standards. By July 2002, EPA will have determined, based on data available from its review, whether to revise or maintain the standards. This determination therefore will be made before any areas have been designated nonattainment under the PM2.5 standards and before any new controls related to the PM2.5 standards are implemented.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Effect on Agriculture of EPA's Revised Air Standards for Ground-level Ozone
Ozone causes damage to vegetation by interfering with the ability of plants to produce and store food, so that growth, reproduction and overall plant health are compromised. Plants and trees weakened in this way become more susceptible to disease, pests and environmental stresses.
Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), EPA and elsewhere has shown that ground-level ozone damages many kinds of trees and crops. Significant damage due to ground-level ozone has been seen in tree species such as black cherry, white pine, aspen and ponderosa pine. It also damages many kinds of crops such as soybeans, wheat, kidney beans, cotton and peanuts, resulting in significantly reduced crop yields. Ozone can cause visible injury to vegetation, affecting the aesthetic value, and therefore, the market value of leafy crops. Overall, EPA estimates that full compliance with the newly-revised ozone standard would result in more than $500 million in benefits to the American farmer.
The extensive scientific review of the ozone standard included a review of the effects of ozone on trees, crops, and other vegetation. The CASAC supplemented its panel with experts in plant biology and economics to examine the impact of ozone on crops, trees and vegetation. In the April 4, 1996, closure letter to EPA on this matter, George Wolff, chairman of the CASAC wrote:
''It should be pointed out that the Panel members all agreed that damage is occurring to vegetation and natural resources at concentrations below the present 1-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) of 0.12 ppm. The vegetation effects experts were in agreement that plants appear to be more sensitive to ozone than humans. Further, it was agreed that a secondary NAAQS, more stringent than the present primary standard, was necessary to protect vegetation from ozone....''
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are other benefits from controlling ozone. For example, reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), one of the key components that causes ozone, also helps protect sensitive waterways and estuaries, like the Chesapeake Bay, Tampa Bay, and the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound. Airborne sources of nitrogen, including NOx, are responsible for an estimated 27 percent of the overall nitrogen loading to the Chesapeake Bay, contributing to fish kills and algal blooms. Emissions of NOx are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of this deposited nitrogen.
There are a number of other significant benefits from reducing adverse effects of ozone on vegetation, forests, and natural ecosystems. For example, specific benefits from ozone reductions in ambient concentrations would accrue from: decreased foliar injury; averted growth reduction of trees in natural forests; maintained integrity of forest ecosystems (including habitat for native animal species); and the aesthetics and utility of urban ornamentals (e.g., grass, flowers, shrubs and trees).
Effect on Agriculture of EPA's Revised Air Standards for Particulate Matter
Historically, EPA's standards for particulate matter have often tended to focus emission control efforts on ''coarse'' particlesthose larger than PM2.5. Before 1987, EPA's particulate matter standards focused on ''total suspended particles''including even larger-sized particles. In 1987, responding to new science showing that it was the smaller particles that are capable of depositing in the lungs that were associated with the most adverse health effects, EPA revised the standards to control only those particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter (or PM10). For comparison purposes, a human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter.
The most recent scientific review focused attention on the need to better address the ''fine'' fraction particlesthose smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. CASAC recommended setting a fine particle standard. However, we continue to see adverse health effects from exposure to the ''coarse'' fraction (those between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter) of PM at levels above the current standards. As a result, CASAC scientists agreed that existing PM10 standards, with minor revisions, should be maintained for the purpose of continuing to control the effects of exposure to the ''coarse'' fraction of PM10.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, over twenty of the new health and atmospheric science studies have highlighted significant health concerns with regard to the smaller ''fine'' particles, or ''fine'' particle indicators. These particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the type-written period at the end of a sentence. In the simplest of terms, fine particles represent a health concern because they can remain in the air for long periods, both indoors and outdoors, and can easily penetrate and be absorbed deep into the lungs. These fine particles are not only associated with serious health effects, but are also a major reason for visibility impairment in the United States in places such as national parks that are valued for their scenic views and recreational opportunities. For example, visibility in the eastern United States, which should naturally be about 90 miles, has been reduced to under 25 miles.
These fine particles get into the air in two ways. They are emitted directly into the air from a variety of sources such as diesel buses, utility and commercial boilers, woodburning, and construction activities. These are known as ''primary'' or direct emissions. Fine particles are also chemically formed in the air from sulfur or nitrogen gases emitted from sources such as power plants, motor vehicles, or fuel combustion and can be transported many hundreds of miles. These are known as ''secondary emissions.''
Based on our analysis to date, we believe that ''secondary'' particulate mattersulfates and nitrates formed from nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide gas emissions from power plants, for examplegenerally represents the largest percentage of PM2.5 in the air. Since secondary PM2.5 is formed in the atmosphere and often transported much greater distances than ''coarse'' particles, EPA and states will need to assess regional, rather than local-only, emission control strategies to reduce PM2.5.
Some have alleged that EPA's new PM2.5 standard means EPA and the states will focus on regulating agricultural tilling. This is not true. EPA does not intend to focus on regulating agricultural tilling to control PM2.5 and does not believe it would be efficient for states to do so. First, soil particles are a very small part of the PM2.5 problem. Combustion particles are almost always smaller than 2.5 micrometers and soil particles are almost always larger than 2.5 micrometers. In addition, the ''release height'' of a pollutant has an impact on how widespread an air pollution problem can be. Combustion particles as well as the gases that form sulfates and nitrates from power plants, for example, are released higher into the air than are soil particles from tilling. These combustion products can travel hundreds of miles, affect air quality over broad regions, and affect populated areas, whereas soil particles tend to settle back out of the atmosphere near to their sources.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In order to better characterize the types of emission sources potentially contributing to the PM2.5 air quality problem, EPA has analyzed PM2.5 filter samples from areas where such data are available. This kind of analysis is helpful in determining, for example, the extent to which agricultural tilling is a significant source of PM2.5. We have found that even in a heavily agricultural area such as the San Joaquin Valley in California, agricultural wind erosion and tilling account for less than 6 percent of the total PM2.5 being measured. The bulk of emissions come from motor vehicles and stationary combustion sources.
In the eastern United States, sulfates formed from the sulfur emissions of coal-fired power plants and other boilers represent roughly half of the entire PM2.5 problem. In Washington D.C., for example, soil particles represent only five percent of the total PM2.5 problem. And all of that five percent is estimated to come from construction activity and road dust, not agricultural sources.
This same pattern can be seen in other rural and agricultural areas that EPA has analyzed, where soil is a very small component of overall PM2.5 levels. With the exception of a very few areas that have a mix of agricultural, mobile, and industrial sources, there is little evidence that levels of PM2.5 in agricultural areas would exceed the new standards. For example, air quality data for Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; Clint, Texas; Portage, Wisconsin; Bismarck, North Dakota; and several rural National Parks, such as the Badlands National Park in western South Dakota, all show levels of PM2.5 well below EPA's newly-promulgated annual standard.
For these reasons, and as I indicated in my June 5, 1997 letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, I intend to issue guidance to the states so that in planning to meet the new PM2.5 standard, they focus their control strategies on fine, rather than coarse particles. Moreover, EPA will not focus regulatory efforts to meet the PM2.5 standard on farm tilling activities. EPA will work with states to help determine sources of PM2.5 pollution and to develop appropriate regulatory strategies, including regional strategies, to address PM2.5 problems.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Moreover, in our final rule, we are directing states to target PM2.5 monitors in urban areas with large populations where PM2.5 health effects are likely to occur, not in agricultural areas. Monitors will provide data with sufficient speciation to identify which sources are contributing to PM2.5 levels (e.g., combustion devices, smelters, industrial plants or agricultural tilling).
With regard to prescribed burning on Federal lands and open burning on agricultural lands, EPA recognizes the role of fire in forest ecosystems and on agricultural lands, and will continue to work with USDA's Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop air quality strategies that accommodate appropriate uses of burning.
We are also continuing to work closely with the USDA on their Agriculture Air Quality Task Force and this Committee to share information and confer on matters of mutual importance regarding air issues and agriculture. We intend to take into consideration recommendations made by the Task Force on agriculture-related issues. To date, the Task Force has unanimously endorsed a list of high priority research needs to improve the level of understanding of agriculture's impact on air quality levels. We have agreed through this Task Force that additional research is needed on particulate matter to better understand windblown dust, agricultural burning, field operations, and nonroad engine emissions for example. For ozone, we have agreed that additional research is needed in order to fully estimate the economic consequences of ozone pollution on crop yields, and to better characterize the ozone pollution problems in non-urban areas.
Another major activity under development by the Task Force is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between USDA and EPA that establishes a framework to share expertise and a process for involving the agricultural community in a cooperative effort to address agriculture-related air quality issues. The MOU has been drafted and is undergoing review by USDA and EPA.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Conclusions
In summary, the best available science indicates that crops and vegetation will benefit from programs designed to meet the new air quality standards for ground-level ozone. For particulate matter, despite misconceptions, EPA expects that agricultural sources will turn out to be a very small part of the overall PM2.5 problem. The major sources of PM2.5 are sulfates from power plants (particularly in the eastern United States), and soot emissions from inefficient combustion in boilers, mobile sources and woodburning. EPA's goal is for states to locate PM2.5 air quality monitors in highly populated areas and other areas likely to have a PM2.5 problem. To address the PM2.5 problem, we do not intend to target agricultural areas for fugitive dust-related emissions, such as those associated with agricultural tilling. And we are committed to working closely with Secretary Glickman, his Department, and the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force on agriculture-related matters associated with the new air quality standards.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my written statement. I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER A. ISOM, DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES, CALIFORNIA COTTON GINNERS AND GROWERS ASSOCIATIONS
I am Roger Isom, director of technical services for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, which represent all of the over 100 cotton gins and over 2600 cotton growers in the Sate of California. My comments presented here today, will focus on the impact of the new ambient air quality standards for PM2.5 and Ozone on agriculture. Operating a business in California has provided us with enough experience to know that it is imperative that we take a cautious and calculated approach to implementing and achieving these new ambient air quality standards. As our Association has previously conveyed, it is an absolute necessity to allow for credible science surrounding PM2.5 and Ozone to develop, so that intelligent, reasonable, and justifiable decisions can be made.
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It has been stated in recent weeks that ''these new air quality standards will not require any farmer to change the way he does his job''. While we would wish for that to be the case, I can say with some assuredness that this is simply not true. Our experience in California dictates a quite different story. There are numerous examples that can be cited of how agriculture has been affected by the previous ozone and PM10 standards already in place.
Due to the current Federal and State ambient air quality standards for Ozone, the agricultural industry has had to address many areas of their operations for reductions in emissions, including engines in their tractors and trucks, new lower emission diesel fuel, and the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from pesticides.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a ''precursor'' to ozone formation. As part of the State of California's ozone attainment plan, known as the State Implementation Plan (SIP), there already exists a requirement to lower VOC emissions from pesticides by 20 percent by the year 2005. This requirement was promulgated in direct response to a proposal contained in the EPA Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) imposed on California in 1994, which would have called for a 45 percent reduction in VOC emissions from pesticides. Since VOCs are directly related to the formation of ozone, it would follow that pesticides that contain VOCs will be addressed under the new ozone standard. This may include the mandatory reformulation of high VOC pesticides, or the possible loss of these pesticides. As evidenced by the California SIP, and the proposed EPA FIP, there is no question that pesticides will be part of any ozone attainment strategy, where agriculture is prevalent. It should also be noted that this control strategy for pesticide VOCs is also contained in at least one state's PM10 SIPPM10 Attainment Demonstration Plan, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, May 15, 1997, pg. 4-19. as a PM10/PM2.5 control strategy. That District indicates that VOCs contribute to the formation of secondary organic aerosols in the PM2.5 size range.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other primary precursor to ozone formation is oxides of nitrogen, referred to as NOx. One area that farmers have already had to address for NOx, is internal combustion engines used to drive irrigation pumps in the San Joaquin Valley. The original emissions estimate in the San Joaquin Valley for NOx emissions from these sources was placed at 626 tons per day. That same inventory indicated that emissions from all of the cars and trucks in the San Joaquin Valley was only 353 tons per day. This initial study was based on a few interviews with supposed industry experts. A new study was commissioned, that based the emissions on actual surveys of farmers and engine manufacturers. This new study estimates NOx emissions from these engines at only 32 tons per day of NOx. This discrepancy truly exemplifies the need to move forward cautiously and allow the fundamental and accurate information to be developed.
Yet another area of concern that has developed over the past three years with ozone is the issue of ''soil NOx and ammonia (NH3)''. It has been indicated that significant emissions of these pollutants come from fertilizer applications from agricultural soils, and from plant breakdown in the soil. In fact, in a recent report CRPAQS TSS No. 15: Task 3, Initial Ammonia Inventory for the San Joaquin Valley, Sonoma Technology, Inc., September 1996 for the California Regional Particulate Matter Air Quality Study (CRPMAQS), it was estimated that ammonia emissions from soils and fertilizer applications account for 46 percent of the ammonia emissions in the San Joaquin Valley. While this data is preliminary and many question the accuracy of this report, this is yet another example of agriculture being affected by the ambient air quality standard for ozone.
It has also been mentioned in recent weeks that ''EPA is not going to regulate farmers as a means of reducing fine particulates in the air, and that ''States are not going to regulate farmers either. The agricultural industry; however, has been made aware of a document published and distributed by the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO) Controlling Particulate Matter Under the Clean Air Act: A Menu of Options , STAPPA/ALAPCO, July 1996., which indicates that fugitive dust from agricultural lands (tilling and feedlots) is the second leading source category for PM2.5 emissions in the United States. Agricultural PM2.5 emissions are second only to fugitive emissions from non-ag land, including paved and unpaved roads, constructions sites and wind erosion. This directly contradicts the information presented in the previous statements. At this time it is impossible to dispute or agree with these statements, because we simply have no published data, whatsoever, on PM2.5 emissions from these sources. Without this data, we have no idea how the new PM2.5 standard will affect agricultural operations.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The biggest issue with air quality that the agricultural industry has faced in California, has been with PM10. In 1987, the first PM10 ambient air quality standard was promulgated. Less than a year later, the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin released a draft report entitled the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin Nonattainment Area Plan. From this plan was spawned the first fugitive dust regulations, primarily based on control measures for windblown dust. Control measures such as ''no-till'' days, water sprays on discs, and air pollution permits for farms were all initiated by the setting of this new ambient air quality standard. The problem with that scenario is that the San Joaquin Valley does not experience exceedances for PM10 on days when the wind is blowing. In fact, almost all of the PM10 exceedances occur on the calmest, most stable air days. Unfortunately, this was not determined until 1995, when enough monitoring and meteorological data had been collected to make this determination.
In summary, I would hope that the necessary time is granted to conduct the research necessary for intelligent, proven decisions to be made. Make no mistake the agriculture industry will be affected by these new regulations. Let's ensure that the impact of the regulatory requirements is based on proven science and implemented in a manner that does not force agricultural operations into closure. Only through extensive monitoring and thorough air quality studies, such as the California Regional Particulate Matter Air Quality Study, are the proper decisions going to be made. Only through collaborative partnerships, such as the USDA Air Quality Task Force, are meaningful and approvable solutions going to be arrived at. A delay in the implementation of these new standards is not only crucial, it is absolutely necessary to the viability of the agricultural community of today. We are not attempting to deflect this issue, only trying to ensure that we can actually achieve that ambient air quality standards for ozone and PM2.5, and do so without cutting off the hand that feeds and clothes us.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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