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74–382 PS












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JULY 11, 2001

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman

THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
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SUE W. KELLY, New York
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DEMINT, South Carolina
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
HENRY E, BROWN, JR, South Carolina
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SAM GRAVES, Missouri
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
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JAMES P. MCGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington



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JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee

STEPHEN HORN, California
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana, Vice-Chair
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
  (Ex Officio)

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GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
BOB FILNER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
  (Ex Officio)



    Davis, Cameron, Executive Director, Lake Michigan Federation, Chicago, Illinois
    Green, Emily, Director, Great Lakes Program, Sierra Club, Madison, Wisconsin
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    Kirk, Hon. Mark, a Representative in Congress from Illinois
    Kuper, George H., President, Council of Great Lakes Industries, Ann Arbor, Michigan


    Ehlers, Hon. Vernon, from Michigan
    Kirk, Hon. Mark Steven, from Illinois


    Davis, Cameron
    Green, Emily

    Kuper, George H


    Davis, Cameron, Executive Director, Lake Michigan Federation, Chicago, Illinois, Restoring the Great Lakes, report

    Ehlers, Hon. Vernon, a Representative in Congress from Michigan, letter from Gov. John Engler, of Michigan, July 10, 2001

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    Kuper, George H., President, Council of Great Lakes Industries, Ann Arbor, Michigan, report and charts


    Great Lakes Commission, statement


Wednesday, July 11, 2001
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, D.C.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:02 a.m., in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

    Mr. DUNCAN. The subcommittee will come to order.
    I would like first of all to welcome everyone to our hearing on H.R. 1070, the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2001. Today, we will be hearing from Members and stakeholders from the Great Lakes Basin on a consensus proposal to address the problem of contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes.
    We will have some members here. We have just come from a conference with the President and I understand that Congressman Kirk and Congressman Ehlers and others are on their way here even as we speak, as well as Ranking Member DeFazio.
    The Great Lakes are a vital resource for both the United States and Canada. The Great Lakes system provides waterways to move goods, water supply for drinking, industrial and agricultural purposes, a source of hydroelectric power, and, very important, recreational and environmental benefits.
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    However, all of this human activity has had a negative impact on the Great Lakes. Most of the Great Lakes can be used safely for swimming and other recreational activities and as a source for drinking water. There have been improvements over the past many years, but most of the Great Lakes do not meet all of their designated uses, particularly aquatic life uses. Many of the Great Lakes are under fish advisories, warning people not to eat fish.
    Pollution from over 200 years of human activity has concentrated in these lakes, sinking to the bottom and contaminating lake sediments. By treaty, the United States and Canada are developing cleanup plans for the Great Lakes and for specific areas that are called ''Areas of Concern.'' Unfortunately, only one Area of Concern, located in Canada, has been cleaned up.
    Most of the activity at U.S. Areas of Concern has occurred as a result of Superfund enforcement action or threat of Superfund enforcement action. However, Superfund's suitability for cleaning up the Great Lakes is limited. Great Lakes sediments became contaminated as a result of pollution from many sources over several generations. Applying the Superfund laws could make virtually every citizen of the Great Lakes Basin a liable party.
    There are better ways to address this problem, positive ways rather than negative ways. One solution is to encourage cooperative efforts through public-private partnerships. That is the solution recommended by H.R. 1070, the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2001.
    H.R. 1070 would authorize $50 million a year for five years to make grants to States, Indian tribes, regional agencies, and local governments to help clean up contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes. This Federal funding must be matched with at least a 35 percent non-Federal share, encouraging local and private sector investment. This bill also makes sure that these funds are well-spent.
    Funding would not be available at sites where significant recontamination would occur from existing sources of pollution, or where, considering the short and long-term impacts, the cleanup action would cause more harm than good. And that is an important factor that we need to look at very carefully.
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    Obviously, how to address contaminated sediments at each Great Lakes Area of Concern will be very much a site-specific decision because these bodies of water differ and vary in every State and in every area within States.
    At some sites, removing sediments will be the best way to address short and long term risks. At other sites, other remedial options will manage those risks in a better way.
    This consensus bill does not try to presume any particular cleanup option. It simply encourages stakeholders to take action and to make sure that the action they take will make a real improvement to human health and the environment, and that good science is used in determining what is the best approach to take.
    I want to commend my good friend, Dr. Ehlers, and his colleagues for introducing this legislation.
    I would now like to recognize Ranking Member DeFazio for any statement he wishes to make.
    Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is a very important issue, the restoration and preservation of the water quality in our wonderful Great Lakes area. I regret that I have a hearing at exactly the same time regarding our national energy policy which I must leave to attend.
    But I would just like to say that I appreciate particularly the concern of those Members who are present and represent the area. I think that their efforts and goals in bringing forward this legislation are very laudable. I do have a concern about the provisions regarding detailed comparative risk analyses. I am concerned about delays that might result in needed cleanup efforts because of that. I will note that we have fought amendments a number of times by former Member Solomon on the floor to give special exemptions for one large corporate polluter of the Hudson River, and I am concerned that this particular language might lead us into further very contentious fights over what otherwise should be legislation that most Members could easily support. I hope that is discussed during the hearing.
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    I regret that I will not be able to remain here for the hearing today, but I look forward to further discussion of this issue. Thank you.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
    Dr. Ehlers.
    Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I certainly want to thank Chairman Duncan for holding this hearing today on the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2001, and also appreciate the interest of Ranking Member DeFazio. Both gentlemen appreciate the gravity of the issue the Act addresses because both men have worked diligently to face and address complicated and controversial environmental issues. I hope to continue to work with both of them and with the other committee members to report and pass this bill, a bill that will greatly aid communities who continue to be plagued by serious environmental problems caused by contaminated sediments.
    The Great Lakes are one of this country's most precious natural resources. The lakes provide us with fresh drinking water, habitat for wildlife, food from fisheries, recreation in and on the waterways, water for agriculture, and shipping lanes for commerce. The lakes constitute almost 20 percent of the Earth's surface fresh water, and 95 percent of the United States' fresh water. The lakes are used as a source of clean drinking water and for many recreational uses, such as swimming, boating, and fishing. Millions of people live on the Great Lakes and millions more journey to the Great Lakes to vacation and enjoy all the splendors the lakes provide.
    However, pollution from contaminated river sediments continues to harm water quality in the Great Lakes and restricts our use of this precious resource. Pollution has been generated over the years by various industries and by development in the States making up the Great Lakes Basin and Canada. After many years of dumping harmful and toxic substances into the waterways surrounding the Great Lakes and the lakes themselves, the pristine environment of the lakes has suffered. People living around the lakes have become familiar with closed beaches and fish advisories.
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    A continuing problem with cleaning up the Great Lakes involves contaminated sediments. After pollutants are discharged into the waterways they settle into the bottom of the rives and lakes of the Great Lakes. Adding to the problem is the slow outflows of the waters from the lakes. Pollutants are not flushed quickly enough. Outflows from the Great Lakes are relatively small, less than 1 percent per year, in comparison with the total volume of water. Lake Superior, the most extreme example, retains water for approximately 173 years. That is a very long flushing time. Many years later, sediments are stirred up naturally or by dredging. This disruption disperses the pollutants throughout the water, exacerbating the water contamination problem and making it difficult to contain the pollutants.
    The worst of these sites have been identified as Areas of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. There are currently 42 AOCs, or Areas of Concern, in the U.S. and Canada. Remediation has been implemented at only a portion of the AOCs. One of the biggest obstacles to completing a remedial action plan is funding. Community groups, States, the EPA, and the Army Corps of Engineers have all cited the lack of Federal funding as an impediment to cleaning up AOCs in communities that have taken an initiative to improve the quality of their water. It is time that we help fulfill the intent of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement by cleaning up these sites.
    Working with groups from the Great Lakes States, community and industry groups, and the EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office, I have developed a Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2001. The Act is supported by various groups, such as the Sierra Club, the Lake Michigan Federation, the Great Lakes Commission, the Council of Great Lakes Industries, and Michigan's Governor John Engler. The Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2001, H.R. 1070, amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide the EPA Administrator with authority to provide grants to States, Indian tribes, local governments or regional agencies to carry out qualified projects. These are projects that require remediation and are not likely to suffer further contamination. In addition, the grants will help these groups or agencies to pursue research and development of technology to efficiently remediate contaminated sediment in the most efficacious manner.
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    The Act specifically authorizes $50 million be appropriated for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2006 for grants to remediate contaminated sediments. It targets qualified projects defined in the product as those projects that monitor or remediate contaminated sediment or prevent further or renewed contamination. Priority for funding is then given to qualified projects that involve remedial action, have been identified in a remedial action plan, or will use an innovative approach, technology, or technique for remediation. These grants will enable substantial progress to be made in cleaning up toxic hotspots identified by the Governments of the U.S. and Canada under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
    Many local organizations and units of governments have taken the lead in spearheading cleanups. However, many have been hampered by the mounting cost. This Act would provide grants with a requirement that there be matching funds of 35 percent or more of the project cost. Therefore, not only is the Act environmentally responsible, it is also fiscally responsible.
    I urge the subcommittee's support of this initiative. It is time to put our money where it is needed most and where it will achieve the greatest benefit. The Great Lakes Legacy Act will facilitate cleanup efforts in the Great Lakes communities which need it most.
    Let me add just a quick comment in response to Mr. DeFazio's concern about risk analysis. A major difficulty of cleaning up contaminant sediments is determining the best method to clean it up because a number of methods that would normally be used could stir up the sediments and, in a rapidly flowing river, actually increase the contamination of the Great Lakes. Therefore, it is essential to do the research first to find out the optimum method of cleaning up the contamination in a particular river. This may take a little time, but it is not an attempt to stall. It is an attempt to find the best way to do the job right.
    I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Ehlers.
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    We are always pleased to have the Chairman of the full Science Committee and the immediate past Chairman of this Subcommittee, Mr. Boehlert, here with us. Chairman Boehlert.
    Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to be here and pleased to identify with Mr. Ehlers' bill. I think it is a very important piece of legislation and I strongly support it and will work with the committee to see that it advances to a successful conclusion.
    I would also like to call to my colleagues' attention a little matter that I have had a personal interest in for a number of years. In this hearing and in hearings across Capitol Hill, and in discussions and meetings and conferences all across the country, people are discussing very sensitive environmental issues, and with good reason. The American people expect us to protect the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat. We cannot do that if we do not deal with public policy in a responsible way in terms of the manner in which we deal with the environment.
    So I am pleased to announce that I have introduced H.R. 2438 that will do what needs to be done, elevate the Environmental Protection Agency to cabinet level status. This is a 13 year effort that I have had underway and finally I think we are coming to a successful conclusion. I have had extensive meetings with the White House and I fully expect that the White House will be supportive of this effort. It is time that we give the cabinet officer in a department of environmental conservation front row at the cabinet table in the White House. We are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not have an EPA spokesperson in the front lines, in the front row at the cabinet level in either a ministerial or secretary position.
    So I would ask my colleagues not only to work aggressively in support of Dr. Ehlers' bill, but also to give consideration to the measure I have just talked about, H.R. 2438. It is moving in the right direction for all the right reasons. I thank you.
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    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Chairman Boehlert.
    We now have a Member panel with the Honorable Mark Kirk. The way I have always handled the Member panels during my six years as Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee and now is that we allow the Members to make their statements and then we do not question the Members unless there is some urgent need to do so because we do recognize that the Members have such busy schedules and we have a chance to talk to them on the floor later, and because we also want to get to our other witnesses as soon as possible.
    So, Mark, we appreciate your being here with us. We will let you make your statement and then you can either join us here on the dais or you can go on to your other important duties of the day. But thank you very much for being here this morning.

    Mr. KIRK. I came here to issue my strong support for Dr. Ehlers' bill. It is of critical importance to my district. I have a prepared statement which I would ask unanimous consent to put in the record.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Your statement will be included in the record.
    Mr. KIRK. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, this is a critical issue for us because of the way we use the Great Lakes, which are incredibly important to the future environmental heritage of the United States. We had an industrial use policy on the Great Lakes shoreline starting, at least in Illinois, in the 1840s of locating large industrial sites along the shoreline. That led to a heritage of including an incredible amount of contaminated sediments along our shoreline.
    In my congressional district, Waukegan, Illinois, is not just the home of Jack Benny, but is home to the invention of the motion picture and the cyclone fence. We are also home, and if you have gone boating with Johnson and Evenrude motors, to Outboard Marine Corporation which for many years, until December of this year, operated on the Waukegan shoreline and put nine to ten pounds of PCBs daily into the Great Lakes sediments along Waukegan Harbor from 1959 to 1973. There is a considerable amount of untreated PCBs in the sediment of Waukegan Harbor, to the point where we are one of the number one Superfund sites in the Great Lakes.
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    Now we have a success story there. There has been some remediation in our Area of Concern. But I think that we need to do more throughout all of these sites in the Great Lakes. The Waukegan story needs to be continued and completed but then I hope that we have similar success in every other Area of Concern in the Great Lakes.
    The Great Lakes have been under assault: under assault from industrial pollution, under assault from alien species being injected into the lake, and we are just experiencing now last summer the bloom of the fish hook flea which is from the Caspian Sea, on top of the Rock Gobie, on top of the Alewives, on top of everything else. We have 31 sites around the Great Lakes where nuclear waste is stored—in my district, just 100 yards from Lake Michigan. I put it to the Congress that the Great Lakes are no place to store nuclear waste. And I really want to highlight the work of the Lake Michigan Federation and Cameron Davis for highlighting this along with the sediments issue and the alien species issue. I think that a broad-based action on all of these issues ensures that one of the crown jewels of the American environmental heritage, these fresh water lakes, is protected.
    I want to do everything I can to support this legislation. For us, I have a particular need because of the bankruptcy of Outboard Marine Corporation. We have a bankruptcy estate there that I hope will have sufficient assets to complete the cleanup. But if not, if not, it is the kind of work that we are funding here through this bill that will allow us to complete this action and ensure the safe protection of the people of southern Lake Michigan but also people everywhere else.
    So I think this is very important. I pledge my support to work with the gentleman not just here, but also in the Appropriations Committee.
    I also want to say, having just heard our environmental leader, Mr. Boehlert, discussing his legislation, if you could add me as a cosponsor of your legislation, ''Secretary Whitman'' sounds fine with me.
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    So with that, Mr. Chairman, I just want to conclude by saying I hope we have speedy action on this legislation. I think we need to have more attention paid to the environment of the Great Lakes. We certainly have made some progress. But under so many assaults from so many different places, I think the need to upgrade our activity is paramount. And that is why I applaud the leadership that has been shown here today. Thank you.
    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much, Mark, and thank you for being with us. We appreciate your statement in support of this legislation.
    Mr. KIRK. Thank you.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
    We will now begin with the regular witnesses. We are very pleased to have three experts in regard to this legislation. I will ask them to please take their seats at the table. We always proceed in the order the witnesses are listed in the call of the hearing. We have first Ms. Emily S. Green, who is a representative of the Sierra Club and is Director of the Great Lakes Program, from Madison, Wisconsin; we have Mr. George H. Kuper, who is President of the Council of Great Lakes Industries, and he is from Ann Arbor, Michigan; and I am told that Mr. Cameron Davis is not here yet but is on his way and will be here very shortly. He is the Executive Director of the Lake Michigan Federation and he is from Chicago.
    We appreciate very much Ms. Green and Mr. Kuper being here. We will proceed with your testimony and then we will hear from Mr. Davis if he arrives in time.
    Ms. Green.

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    Ms. GREEN. Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. The Sierra Club is the Nation's oldest and largest grassroots organization, with over 700,000 members nationwide. For the past 20 years, we have been a strong advocate for the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Eliminating the legacy of toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes has been one of our top priorities.
    I am here in Washington today to ask for your help in addressing this toxic legacy. The cleanup of Great Lakes toxic hotspots has long been one of our most daunting tasks. But it is absolutely essential if we are to protect and restore this resource for both our own and future generations. We know how to clean up these sites, but we need the political will and the funding to make it happen. I am here to speak in favor of legislation authorizing funding for the cleanup of our toxic legacy. It is critically important that the legislation move forward as soon as possible to help us overcome one of our greatest barriers to addressing contaminated sediments.
    Most people do not question the fact that polluted sediments are bad for human health and the environment. And as my written testimony describes, polluted mud imposes numerous economic costs on the regions and the Nation's industrial heartland. These include $11 to $34 every year in added navigational dredging costs, in the price of ships leaving as much as 50 million pounds of cargo on shore each trip, and $65 million in fishing and tourism losses over 18 years in just one Area of Concern. As an example, the largest ships going to inland steel in Indiana Harbor must leave almost 52 million pounds of iron ore on the docks in Duluth. The ore left behind by one ship is worth over $900,000.
    Yet, despite the significant human health, environmental, and economic impacts, we still see heated debate on how to manage the problem. It is our position that the impacts of toxic contaminants in the Great Lakes warrant action. We have lived with a ''no action'' scenario for more than three decades and so far the lakes have not healed themselves. The few areas where we have taken action offer proof that cleanup can work.
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    Now we are not advocating a presumptive remedy of dredging but we do think that it can be a successful part of a cleanup strategy. Therefore, I want to touch on a couple recent dredging projects on the Fox River in Wisconsin to show that dredging can be done without making the problem worse. They show the benefit also of removing a mass of contamination from a water body, thus preventing it from someday washing downstream.
    While I do not have time for many details, I can say that one project removed a PCB hotspot that every year released four to five kilograms of PCBs to the water. The dredging resuspended two kilograms of PCBs over three months, only slightly more than half what the site was releasing anyway, and it permanently cut off that annual discharge of four to five kilograms from that hotspot to the river.
    In addition, the river is already polluted. PCB concentrations at the mouth of the Fox are regularly 30,000 to 50,000 times the State's water quality criteria. At its worst time, the dredging project caused the PCB concentrations at the water mouth to be 51,000 greater than water quality criteria. So when the concentrations are already that much higher than they should be because of the sediments, what difference does it make if they increase a little bit more in the short term. The long term reduction is clearly worth it.
    These examples show that cleanup can work and can be done safely and effectively. Therefore, we should move forward as quickly as possible to cross some of these sites off the list, to show some successes and get the ball rolling across the region. The Great Lakes Legacy Act would help us achieve that goal.
    We worked hard to come to consensus on language for this bill with industry in hopes of getting some Federal funding to address our orphan sites. We are disappointed that in a time of budget surplus we do not see money in the budget for this authorization. So we can only hope that this hearing is a sign of increased discussion and support for sediment cleanup.
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    Because I am aware that you are having some other hearings this summer on this issue, I would like to comment briefly on the risk comparison language in section D of this bill. The Sierra Club agreed to support this language somewhat reluctantly in the context of H.R. 1070 because we feel that these evaluations, for the most part, have already been done for Great Lakes sites. And even where an evaluation has not been completed, it is unlikely to be very controversial in the context of providing Federal funds to help address orphan sites.
    We would actively oppose the application of this type of language in other legislative context or to other non-orphan sites, including the Hudson River. There is a big difference between orphan sites and those where cleanup is hotly debated. Applied to an already controversial site, such language would only delay remedial actions further and open the door to lengthy court battles over whether or not the comparison of cleanup options is good enough. Applying this language more broadly I think would be wholly inappropriate.
    So in closing, I urge you to move the Great Lakes Legacy Act forward and build support for the actual appropriation of these funds. If you can provide the funds, we will make the most of the opportunity and go as far as we can to clean up the Great Lakes for the benefit of our own and future generations. It will make a difference and the impacts will be felt long after all of us are gone. Thank you.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Green.
    Mr. Kuper?

    Mr. KUPER. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today and represent the Council of Great Lakes Industries and the basic sustainable development agenda that we are pursuing in the Great Lakes Basin, both on the Canadian and U.S. shores, I might add. I would like to summarize my written testimony. I will keep it very brief so we can get to your questions and our discussion. I can summarize it in two or three points.
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    The first is that we need to keep the context in mind. The lakes are getting cleaner. We are making some real progress. And one of the results of that progress is that stressors on the Great Lakes Basin have changed in priority so that today we are looking at the primary source of persistent toxics in the Basin coming from sediments and from air deposition. We do not know enough about the nature of those sediments. And as to whether or not they are all located in the Areas of Concern, some of them may be actually in the deep waters of the lakes themselves. And we are totally frustrated as to what to do about air deposition. But these two sources are clearly a primary focus for our needing to deal with persistent toxics that bio-accumulate. Therefore, this legislation is extremely important.
    The second part of this is that the action we take, as the bill's author, Dr. Ehlers, so eloquently pointed out earlier this morning, the actions are not standard, they are not well-known. Each site is a different animal from a different site. And the analysis that has to go into each site is extremely important from the standpoint of which remedial option should be pursued.
    Secondly, I would like to point out that Congressman Boehlert last year made an extremely important point, which is that we need to avoid the hubris of man, as I would describe it, and make sure that we take some kind of hippocratic oath equivalent of doing no harm. And it is very easy to do harm in environmental remediation. I think this legislation is putting us on the track of making sure we do not do that harm, and I think it is to be commended for that purpose.
    I would also like to mention as a third point that I believe that the terms of this legislation are very congruent with the recommendations that came out of the National Academy of Sciences' study on sediments that I understand you are holding hearings on next week. I think that it is very prescient of the bill's author that those issues have been picked up and addressed and supported indeed by the National Academy.
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    Clearly, this committee and the bill's author, Dr. Ehlers, deserve a lot of credit, not just for having designed a good bill, but by getting the three of us at the table together to endorse this bill. Now we are not always happy with every aspect of the legislation, but we are here in consensus today which I think is an extremely important development and terribly important for the nature of how we get things done in the Great Lakes Basin.
    And that leads me to my final comment, which is that we need this legislation in the Great Lakes Basin not just because of the money, which is critically important, but because of the coalescing and organizing force that this legislation brings programmatically to our multi-stakeholder efforts in the Great Lakes Basin.
    I thank you very much for the opportunity to be here and look forward to your questions.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Kuper.
    Mr. Davis, I introduced you before you got here. So you may now begin your statement.

    Mr. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your forbearance. My name is Cameron Davis, Executive Director with the Lake Michigan Federation. We are the oldest citizens' Great Lakes organization in North America, and we do work on toxics, including the contaminated sediment problem. My testimony is going to summarize two points: the ecological problems and some of the solutions in terms of addressing some of these problems. I am obviously only going to be able to summarize a fraction of the problems that we see.
    Emily and George have both summarized a number of points very well, but one of them I would like to also emphasize is that the problems that we are seeing in the Great Lakes really are not just a Great Lakes problem, they are really a problem of national and even international importance. The Great Lakes hold nearly 20 percent of the fresh surface water supply across the globe, and for Lake Michigan, that lake alone supplies drinking water for 10 million people. The Great Lakes are an international tourist attraction, with 60 million visits to the lakefront in Chicago alone every year. So you can see that the health of the Great Lakes is really a matter of importance not just to us who live there, but everybody.
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    Unfortunately, contaminated sediment continues to chip away at the water body and it affects jobs, revenue, and recreation for millions of people. The contaminated sediment problems are often the result of what we call legacy pollutants—past discharges of pollutants that have settled into the bottom of Areas of Concern, toxic hotspots, around the Great Lakes, of which there are 31 in the United States or on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes shared with Canada.
    One of our chief concerns at the Lake Michigan Federation is that despite the listing of these Areas of Concern in 1987, only one has been delisted, and that one not really because of cleanup. That sends the message, that nearly 15 years later, it really is time we start to clean up these sites.
    Contaminated sediment is not a glamorous issue. It is not one that people think about every day. But therein lies the danger of this problem. It is one that continues to permeate the Great Lakes. It is one that continues to permeate the health of the people in the Great Lakes. And because it is not glamorous and does not really get front page attention, it makes it all the more important that we do something about it.
    It has a real life effect on shoreline communities. I know that you heard from Congressman Kirk earlier today and he has Waukegan in his district. I personally have worked on the Waukegan Area of Concern for ten years now and it is probably about the closest we have in the Great Lakes to a success story, but that success story is not complete. Cleanup has taken place to the point of perhaps 90 to 97 percent, but it has been called in some papers ''the world's worst PCB mess'' and when you still have 3 percent, that is still a lot of PCBs.
    As George mentioned, the importance of the funding goes well beyond simply the money. Some of the importance of the funding has been to bring groups, organizations, interests together that typically have not seen eye-to-eye but are together on this bill, and that is rare but hopefully an occurrence of increasing frequency. That is very important. Another one is the matching funds provision of this bill. What that does is it helps to make sure that municipalities and States are likewise taking ownership in this problem, that we are not simply relying on Congress to get us out of this bind.
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    We believe so strongly in the promise of the Legacy Act and the Legacy fund that we agreed to take the lead role in developing principles that were drafted and put forth last year for the bill that was introduced at that point by Congressman Ehlers. There are many different, very unique provisions of the bill that I think are far-reaching. One of them is that it would prioritize cleanup in the order of technologies that will help bring a permanent solution to the problem instead of shifting the problem to a landfill, for example.
    With that, I will conclude. I do want to say that the Great Lakes Legacy Fund is more important than just money. It is important to the health of the Great Lakes, to the people who live around the Great Lakes, to the people who visit the Great Lakes, and it is important that we not leave a legacy of pollution to future generations. Thank you.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
    Because it is his legislation, I am going to go first to Dr. Ehlers for questions.
    Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I do want to mention and get in the record at this point that the Great Lakes Commission was very interested in testifying but they contacted us too late. Their testimony, without objection I presume, could be entered into the record on this. In addition, I have received a letter of support from Governor Engler of Michigan. With the Chairman's permission, I would like to have that entered into the record.
    Mr. DUNCAN. You may enter those statements in the record.
    Mr. EHLERS. Thank you. I remember about the time I moved to Michigan in 1967 reading in the newspapers that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland had two problems: first of all, rats were running back and forth across it; secondly, it had caught on fire three times that year and the fire department had to be called out to put out the fires on the river. That was a major wake-up call to us, and I am pleased that that river has been cleaned up. Furthermore, Lake Erie became almost a dead lake. Fortunately, it has a short flushing time and it has had a rapid recovery after cleaning up some of the pollution flowing into it. Both of those were very important wake-up calls to us and we have to be concerned about that. This bill is part of the continuing effort to improve the characteristics of the lake and the cleanliness of the Great Lakes.
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    We worked very hard, Mr. Chairman, to achieve consensus, and that is why you see the witnesses here all supporting it even though they come from very different backgrounds and interests. Too often, and I have worked on environmental issues in the public arena for 30 years now, too often we end up with battles between the different parties and nothing gets done. This bill is interested in getting something done and to provide an avenue for resolving disputes and achieving a consensus on how to proceed. And I commend the witnesses for showing that spirit of consensus in their testimony. It is an attempt to invite the environmentalists and the industrialists and a lot of other different groups who have an interest.
    Mr. Kuper, you mentioned air deposition. I think we should clarify that for those who are not familiar with the problems of the Great Lakes. There is pollution that occurs from rivers flowing into the lakes, but a lot of pollution comes from air deposition into the lakes directly but also into the rivers flowing into the lakes. That is a much more difficult issue but it one that has to be addressed.
    I think it is an issue that has to be addressed on an international basis because air flows around this entire planet. I do not know what the record is currently, but last time I checked, about a decade ago, toxaphene levels in Lake Michigan were still increasing even though we banned toxaphene as a pesticide in the United States some 30 years ago now. But it is still being used abroad and, because it is a very volatile compound, it gets into the air which circulates around the Earth, gets deposited in the rain, and flows into rivers and into the Great Lakes. And that is only one of many compounds. I really think we need a serious international effort to try to control the use of those substances.
    I was also amused by your comment, Mr. Davis, that 60 million people a year go to use the Chicago lakefront because almost all the people in Chicago come up to Michigan to use the Michigan lakefront every summer. In fact, they own most of the lakefront between Chicago and Grand Haven. But that indicates the popularity of the Great Lakes and the tremendous uses they have, not just for drinking water, but for recreation.
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    I thank you very much for your testimony. I have no specific questions for you but I just wanted to make those comments and to thank you for your comments and the support your organizations are giving to this bill.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dr. Ehlers.
    Dr. Horn.
    Mr. HORN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I have gone through the testimony and, Mr. Kuper, I am curious, in your testimony you state that deep lake sediments may be more of a source of contamination of fish than near shore sediments. Does this mean that the goal of restoring the Great Lakes really cannot be met? How do you feel about that?
    Mr. KUPER. No, I do not think it means that we should give up. It does mean that new science is telling us more and more about the challenges we face. Obviously, sources in the deep lake bottoms are going to be a lot more difficult to deal with than those in the rivers, and those are difficult enough as it is. We have got to chew on this bite by bite, and this piece of legislation I feel is quite important to deal with the river bite. I do not know what we should be doing about the lake bottoms, if anything. And it is quite possible that we will know that more perhaps in the next half dozen years. It is going to take that long for us to find out.
    Mr. HORN. What options do you see in terms of the sediments and whether they are pulled out of the lake and then put somewhere where they will not bother the fish and everybody else?
    Mr. KUPER. Well I think there is a range of options, as I tried to outline in my written testimony. As I also said, each site is very different and the remediation technology appropriate to each site differs from site to site. So that in some cases you may in fact want to dredge and take the sediment and put it in a holding pen someplace and wait till we figure out how we handle those sediments, but they are contained; in other cases, you may want to leave it in place and let natural attenuation take its course; and there are a bunch of options in between. And the purpose of this legislation, as I see it, is to make sure that we do the work that identifies for us what are the correct options and helps the community identify what is most constructive for its problem.
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    Mr. HORN. What is the cost of the most expensive type of dealing with those sediments?
    Mr. KUPER. Oh, it can get quite high depending upon the nature of the sediment, where it is. It can run up into the $300, $400, $500 a cubic yard.
    Mr. HORN. And what is the least?
    Mr. KUPER. I think it can be as low as around $30 for handling it. The least, of course, is to do nothing. I do not like those terms. That is the wrong image to convey. But quite often allowing natural attenuation to take its course is the best option.
    Mr. HORN. Well, to really make a second point of the first point, can we achieve the goal of supporting all designated uses of the Great Lakes without removal of contaminated sediments?
    Mr. KUPER. In some cases, yes.
    Mr. HORN. What are those, closest to the shore?
    Mr. KUPER. It depends site to site. The dynamics here are ones of do you create more trouble by stirring up the sediments with your dredging and removal activities than you would otherwise, and are there other remedial options such as capping or leaving it in place that would not stir those sediments up. Someone once categorized dredging to me as strip mining. You are doing it under water so you do not have the same kind of visual impact, but you are doing very much the same sort of things to the bottoms of the lakes or the rivers. And we have to keep that in mind. That is not to say that dredging is not something you might want to do, but I think we have to be very cautious about choosing which option.
    Mr. HORN. Well in several harbors of this country they box it up in a way.
    Mr. KUPER. Yes.
    Mr. HORN. And I worry about the punctures that can occur there. But it has not seemed to happen to date. So it might be more reasonable to bring that in and keep it there for a while.
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    Mr. KUPER. Yes, sir.
    Mr. HORN. There will always be disputes over how to address contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes and can using a public-private partnership approach help bring people together to help resolve these disputes? And what about the counties and the cities, are they under this would-be law? I would take it that the governmental units will have something to say and feel for either their own citizens or the people coming to that area.
    Mr. KUPER. That is certainly my understanding, although my colleagues to my right and left have a great deal of on the ground experience with local community activities. I think they have both said this legislation will help bring those communities in a consensus understanding of what needs to be done so that action can be taken if appropriate.
    Mr. HORN. What would happen if we tried to use the Superfund program to clean up all of the Great Lakes, is that possible? The EPA has come in here for almost ten years and keeps saying we are doing lots of real wonderful things in the Superfund, and all we see is basically a lot of money put out to lawyers. And that has bothered us. When do we really get to it and quit talking about it but get the job done.
    Mr. KUPER. We have exactly the same concern in industry as you have just described.
    Mr. HORN. How much of a problem would that be in the Superfund situation? Is there any particular area of the Great Lakes that is more obvious than others?
    Mr. KUPER. I don't believe so.
    Mr. HORN. So you are saying it is sort of level throughout the Lakes?
    Mr. KUPER. Across the board, yes, sir.
    Mr. HORN. How would you use the funding that is provided in H.R. 1070 to leverage additional funding?
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    Mr. KUPER. Well, the first provision, as Cam Davis mentioned, is the matching funds, so you automatically have to get the attention of other authorities appropriate to the issue. Secondly, when there are resources available you raise a great deal more interest on the part of people who want to see change; you get more thought, you get more contribution, you get more opportunity for building consensus. And the ability of the community to get its best information available to it to decide what to do and then start doing it is what this bill is all about.
    Mr. HORN. Governor Engler has earmarked $25 million to address the Areas of Concern in Michigan. Are other States taking action as well?
    Mr. KUPER. There are discussions in other States as well.
    Mr. HORN. How about the industries that your organization represents, will they bring in sufficient money to do some of the cleanup?
    Mr. KUPER. The answer is, yes, if we take out ''sufficient.''
    Mr. HORN. Do you want to elaborate on that?
    Mr. KUPER. You have touched on the issue and the question is always one of where are the bucks going to come from to do the remediation. My members have been particularly aggressive in pulling up large amounts of money and, in some cases, have taken very great initiative in taking the major portion of the funding on their own shoulders. That is not a universal.
    Mr. HORN. What action is already underway to address the Great Lakes Areas of Concern besides what is in your summary?
    Mr. KUPER. Mine was just exemplary. There is a lot of activity going on. As I think you can ascertain by Cam's frustration of having committed ten years to one of them, I think there is a lot of frustration on the part of citizens and others who have been focused on these Areas of Concern and I think that seeing this legislation will give them a breath of fresh air and encouragement to carry on and get something done.
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    Mr. HORN. Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you. Dr. Horn asked some of the questions that I was going to ask, so I can be a little shorter. And we do have a vote starting.
    Ms. Green, I think you wanted to make a comment. I was curious myself as to whether there is one of the Great Lakes that is worse than the others. Professor Ehlers mentioned, and we have all heard about the Cuyahoga, how terrible it was 30 years ago, and he mentioned that a lot of the Cuyahoga has been cleaned up. We have made great progress in the last 25 or 30 years in cleaning up our waters, although we always want to try and do better and do more. But is there a particular area or are there particular lakes that you think are worse than others, or would you say the problem is pretty evenly spread, as Mr. Kuper said?
    Ms. GREEN. The problem is pretty widespread. I would say that Lake Superior is one of the cleanest, but the other four lakes certainly have problem areas surrounding their shores.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this. We had a hearing a few days ago on the TMDL program and we had people from the National Academy of Sciences and they said that even within bodies of water, even within rivers the problem is worse in some places than others. Would you also agree with that?
    Ms. GREEN. Absolutely. In fact, if you look at sites, most of the States have identified hotspots of contamination and those are the ones that we can address in some of the rivers and harbors that may be relatively small. And so, when you are talking about either dredging or capping or whatever, you are really talking in many cases about a relatively small area in a river but that is providing a constant load downstream.
    George brought up the issue of the deep lake contaminants in the sediments. The source of most of those contaminants to the deep lake sediments are these hotspots in the rivers and the harbors that have been sending stuff downstream. The Fox River sends 600 pounds of PCBs a year out the mouth into Green Bay. And once they get to that point they are unrecoverable. So I think the trick and the great thing about this legislation is it allows us to move forward and address those hotspots while we can still reach them.
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    Mr. DUNCAN. As one who knows very little about sediments, and I am just starting to learn, there are different types of sediments, as Mr. Kuper mentioned and as you have mentioned, and then there may be more cost-effective ways to deal with certain sediments than others. In some cases, you may want to cut off certain sources, in some cases you may want to try capping, in some situations you may have to remove some things. Is that correct? And are there new technologies that are coming to the forefront to deal with these problems that you know of?
    Ms. GREEN. Yes, that is correct that there is a range of options. And every State, as George mentioned, is a little different. The States and EPA have generally done a very good job I think of looking at the range of options and trying to figure out what is the best way to deal with it.
    Some of the new technologies, I think the dredging technology, in particular, has made a lot of advances over the last few years. There are some very, very clean dredges that have been specifically designed to deal with contaminated polluted sediments to pull them out of the river without actually causing resuspension or causing a lot of contamination to wash downstream. So that is one advance.
    And then in the treatment technology area, we heard some discussion of sort of once you pick it up you have got to do something with it. That is still in its infancy, but it again has made a lot of strides I would say over the last five years. There are some very promising technologies coming on line that can produce a product that can be later sold or beneficially reused for something else; meaning, that it lowers the cost quite a bit. One technology in Michigan is talking about treating Detroit River sediments for about $27 a cubic yard, which is on the low end of the scale by far. I do not know whether they will actually be able to do that, but that is based on being able to sell their finished product. So I think that is something we really need to look at.
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    Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Davis, would you say that these problems should be solved on a local site-specific basis?
    Mr. DAVIS. I think it is going to be a balance, Mr. Chairman. It is going to be a balance between making sure that sediment cleanup does take local health populations into account but also—one of the dynamics that we have seen working around the ten Lake Michigan Areas of Concern is that there is so much sense of urgency to get a given hotspot in a given Area of Concern cleaned up that there is almost a tendency to forget about where the sediments can go, which is ultimately into the lakes themselves. So it is going to be a blend of protecting the local population but also protecting the Great Lakes as being on the receiving end of where these sediments can flow.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Dr. Horn mentioned public-private partnerships. Do any of you know of any examples of public-private partnerships that are working at this time to solve some of these problems? Can you tell me about one of those examples.
    Ms. GREEN. Ashtabula springs to mind. It is a site where there was a threat of Superfund actually and the local community wanted to avoid full Superfund-driven cleanup and has entered into sort of a partnership using funds through the Water Resources Development Act to supply some environmental dredging authority to the Corps, the local industry is kicking in a bunch of the local cost-share, and I think the community is very much involved. I think the process there has moved forward more quickly than in some areas.
    Mr. DUNCAN. So you think that partnership is working well at this time?
    Ms. GREEN. I do. I think one of the things that has made it work well, though, the issue of Superfund was brought up early, has been the threat of that gorilla in the closet. Although all of us would like to avoid actually going through that whole process, just the threat of Superfund has really helped push that forward and has enabled them to be creative.
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    Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Kuper, Dr. Horn mentioned the $25 million that Governor Engler has committed. I did not understand, you said other States are discussing it now?
    Mr. KUPER. That is my understanding, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. DUNCAN. No other States have committed specific sums of money that you know of?
    Mr. KUPER. I cannot say that absolutely. I am unaware of similar commitments. I know Pennsylvania was very active in that regard, Illinois had been having some discussions, but I do not know where they stand right now.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Well thank you very much.
    Dr. Ehlers, very quickly. We have to get to this vote.
    Mr. EHLERS. Right. First of all, thank you again for holding the hearing, and thank the witnesses for their excellent testimony.
    Just a comment. Every river is different and treating the river bottoms, river sediments is different than treating the lake sediments. The purpose of the bill is to try to help tailor the treatment to the conditions there. And one that has not been mentioned, at least I did not hear it mentioned, was microbial treatment which might be better for the lake bottom, as an example, where you have less currents and less stirring up but you still want to get rid of it. Dredging would be bad there because it would create a lot of site currents, as you say. Whereas in the river dredging may be a good solution, in the lake bottom it is probably a bad solution. So you need to match the solution to the situation, and this bill attempts to encourage that.
    Mr. DUNCAN. Right. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Davis, very quick. I will give you thirty seconds.
    Mr. DAVIS. Very quickly. Congressman Ehlers made a point about the air toxics. I do want to say that there is emerging evidence showing that contaminated sediments can volatilize, get up into the air, and come back down in the form of air toxics. That is another reason why we need to deal with this problem of contaminated sediments. Thank you.
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    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much. You have been a very fine panel. I am sorry that we do have to conclude this hearing now to go for a vote on the floor. But thank you all very much.
    [Whereupon, at 11:00 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]