Charles Taylor on the Superfund

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 19, 2005)

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k the gentlemen from North Carolina (Mr. Taylor) and Washington (Mr. Dicks) for the $11 million Superfund increase in the committee-approved bill, but I believe more should be done.

[Page: H3639] GPO's PDF My amendment provides Superfund with an additional $130 million. This extra funding is offset from the EPA's Science and Technology Account which received $765 million in the committee-approved bill.

My district is home to one of America's largest residential environmental cleanups. In early 2003, a large section of East Omaha, Nebraska was placed on the Superfund list after hundreds of children and thousands of yards tested positive for high lead levels. A nearby lead-refining plant, which operated from the early 1870s until 1997, is likely to blame for what HHS estimates to be as many as 1,600 children in eastern Omaha with harmful levels of lead there in their bodies.

Let me be clear. I support the philosophy of polluter pays. While I am encouraged that more than 70 percent of all Superfund sites are cleaned up by those responsible for the pollution; in some cases, such as in my district, Omaha, Nebraska, and in about 20 other States other than Nebraska, those who did the actual polluting are either insolvent or no longer in business.

More dollars in the national Superfund is the only hope for 86,000 Omaha residents, including 15,000 children who live within the Superfund designated area. Without adequate funds, this cleanup could take more than a decade. These children and these families should not wait that long.

But the same is true for the other 1,243 Superfund sites across this country. Nationwide, it is estimated that 11 million people, including 3 million to 4 million children, live within a mile of a hazardous Superfund site. All these Americans need assurances that sufficient resources will be dedicated to their cleanups.

Some will oppose the amendment. I expect the chairman of the subcommittee, my friend, the gentleman from North Carolina, to perhaps oppose this amendment. Now, while I support the EPA's Science and Technology Account, it is not my mission to destroy this fund, but simply create or state what the priorities should be, and that should be to clean up these hazardous areas in the fastest time possible to protect those families.

Make no mistake: the Superfund needs more than these additional funds. It also needs structural reform. Earlier this year, I introduced what would not only boost the Superfund by $620 million over 5 years, but would also cap the Superfund's administrative costs at the 2002 fiscal level so that more Superfund dollars could be spent for actual cleanup. This is in response to a recent report by the EPA Inspector General revealing that the Superfund administrative expenses have increased $37 million over the last 5 years, while actual Superfund cleanup expenditures have decreased by $174 million.

Today, however, we must focus on the funding of this vital program. I urge my colleagues, especially my colleagues who have Superfund sites in their districts, one of the 1,243 sites, to support this amendment. It is time we dedicate the resources necessary to protect our children by cleaning up the Nation's worst and pressing environmental and health risks in a timely fashion.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The amendment would increase funding for the Superfund program at the expense of EPA's research program funded under the Science and Technology Account.

I note that the Superfund program received an $8 million increase over the 2005 level under the committee's recommendations, while the total amount for EPA is $348 million below the 2005 level, so the Superfund site received much better treatment than most of our programs. The bill as a whole is more than $800 million below the 2005 level.

Now, we have received many requests from Members of Congress asking that we fund programs for EPA's research, and we are able to do so only to a limited extent, and many people want the science and technology area just as well. A cut of the $130 million in science and technology would decimate the program's restorations. These research programs provide critical support to all other EPA programs, including the Superfund program.

The Superfund program was treated the same as the Science and Technology Account in that limited increases were provided for proposed initiatives associated with homeland security. The committee bill balances the many competing needs of the EPA within a constrained allocation. And while I understand the gentleman's concern, given the funding we have already done and the limited funding we have totally, I cannot accept the gentleman's amendment. I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks).

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment. In general, I do think we should fund the Superfund cleanup program at levels higher than what is contained in this bill. However, the budget allocation that we are dealing with today prohibits us from agreeing to the gentleman's proposal to increase Superfund by a whopping $130 million at the expense of the EPA's science and technology programs, which he uses as an offset.

This bill provides Superfund with $1.26 billion for 2006, which is an $11 million increase over this year's funding level. I understand that there are transfers contained in this bill from the Superfund program to EPA science and technology research and to the EPA Inspector General's Office, but these transfers are for Superfund-related activities.

I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I certainly respect my friends from Washington and North Carolina, and I understand the delicacy of the numbers which have been assigned to these respective programs.

I stand here for the families that are affected in these, or next to these, Superfund sites, including the constituents in my district and their children, the 1,600 children estimated to have high levels of lead in their bloodstreams, creating immediate risk and health risks to them. Immediate, now.

The fund, the science and technology fund, does provide a great service to America, including the $60 million worth of earmarks to a lot of our universities, as well as paying the salaries for 2,513 bureaucrats within this agency.

[Time: 15:45] My thought is that perhaps for this one time we can just slide a little bit of their $765 million budget to the more immediate and pressing health issues facing constituents, our constituents, and American families, and that is what I am here asking.

I understand the delicacy of balancing these type of numbers in this type of bill. So I do ask that my colleagues, for the sake of these families that have immediate health risks, that we increase the number of dollars by $130 million to begin cleanup or continue at a faster pace the cleanups that have already begun in those areas.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire if there are other speakers?

The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. Fossella). The gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Terry) has yielded back.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Terry).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Terry) will be postponed.

The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS AND MANAGEMENT

For environmental programs and management, including necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, for personnel and related

[Page: H3640] GPO's PDFcosts and travel expenses, including uniforms, or allowances therefor, as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5901-5902; services as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the per diem rate equivalent to the maximum rate payable for senior level positions under 5 U.S.C. 5376; hire of passenger motor vehicles; hire, maintenance, and operation of aircraft; purchase of reprints; library memberships in societies or associations which issue publications to members only or at a price to members lower than to subscribers who are not members; construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $85,000 per project; and not to exceed $9,000 for official reception and representation expenses, $2,389,491,000, which shall remain available until September 30, 2007, including administrative costs of the brownfields program under the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002.
AMENDMENT OFFERED NO. 17 BY MR. GRIJALVA

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 17 offered by Mr. Grijalva:

Page 64, line 17, after the dollar amount, insert the following: ``(increased by $1,903,000) (decreased by $1,903,000)''.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva).

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment that shifts funding within the EPA environmental program and management account.

Although the rules of the House prevent me from specifying in the amendment where the funding will go, it is my intention to restore funding for EPA's environmental justice program.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. GRIJALVA. I yield to the gentleman from North Carolina.

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, we would accept the gentleman's amendment.

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva).

The amendment was agreed to.

The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

For necessary expenses of the Office of Inspector General in carrying out the provisions of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, and for construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $85,000 per project, $37,955,000 to remain available until September 30, 2007.

BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES

For construction, repair, improvement, extension, alteration, and purchase of fixed equipment or facilities of, or for use by, the Environmental Protection Agency, $40,218,000 to remain available until expended.

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE SUPERFUND

(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)

For necessary expenses to carry out the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, including sections 111(c)(3), (c)(5), (c)(6), and (e)(4) (42 U.S.C. 9611), and for construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $85,000 per project; $1,258,333,000, to remain available until expended, consisting of such sums as are available in the Trust Fund upon the date of enactment of this Act as authorized by section 517(a) of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) and up to $1,258,333,000 as a payment from general revenues to the Hazardous Substance Superfund for purposes as authorized by section 517(b) of SARA, as amended: Provided, That funds appropriated under this heading may be allocated to other Federal agencies in accordance with section 111(a) of CERCLA: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, $13,536,000 shall be transferred to the ``Office of Inspector General'' appropriation to remain available until September 30, 2007, and $30,606,000 shall be transferred to the ``Science and technology'' appropriation to remain available until September 30, 2007.

LEAKING UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK PROGRAM

For necessary expenses to carry out leaking underground storage tank cleanup activities authorized by section 205 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, and for construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $85,000 per project, $73,027,000, to remain available until expended.

OIL SPILL RESPONSE

For expenses necessary to carry out the Environmental Protection Agency's responsibilities under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, $15,863,000, to be derived from the Oil Spill Liability trust fund, to remain available until expended.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. OBEY

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Obey:

On page 66 after line 20, insert the following new section:

CLEAN WATER STATE REVOLVING FUND

(INCLUDING REVENUE OFFSETS)

In addition to amounts otherwise made available in this Act, $500,000,000 shall be available for making capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund under title IV of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended: Provided, that, notwithstanding provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, in the case of taxpayers with adjusted gross income in excess of $1,000,000 for calendar year 2006, the amount of tax reduction resulting from such acts shall be reduced by 1.562 percent.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey).

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I would like to reserve a point of order.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from North Carolina reserves a point of order.

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I might consume.

Mr. Chairman, several weeks ago this House chose to make $140,000 tax cuts for persons who make more than a million dollars a year a higher priority than dealing with the $300 billion-plus backlog that our States and communities have in dealing with their sewer and water problems.

When I came to this Congress, the population of this country was 203 million people and our principal program to attack the lack of clean water was a multi-billion dollar grant program to local communities.

Today, our population is 35 percent higher, and yet we have moved principally to a loan program to our local communities represented by the Clean Water Revolving Fund.

And yet, despite that huge population increase, that huge increase in demand, the committee has chosen to cut this key program by 40 percent over a 2-year period. I am simply asking this House to reconsider its earlier priority decision. I am asking them to approve an amendment that will scale back that $140,000 tax cut to $138,000.

What do we do with that money? Do we expand the clean water program? No. All we are trying to do is to bring it back to the level that it was at 2 years ago before we went on this cutting binge. I know that this amendment is subject to a point of order, because the Rules Committee chose not to protect it.

I would hope, however, that no Member of the House would lodge that point of order. If they do not, we would be able to make this priorities change and send it on to the Senate. It seems to me that if you ask any man or woman on the street in this country whether they think it is more important to provide a $140,000 tax cut for the most fortunate 1 percent of people in this country or whether they would be willing to settle for a $138,000 tax cut so we have enough money in the budget to clean up our dirty water for our local communities, they would certainly choose the latter.

I am tired of reading headlines in newspapers like the Milwaukee Journal, for instance, reporting on the cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee because of a bad sewer and water system. I am tired of seeing communities dump their overflow sewage into Lake Michigan or Lake Superior or any other lake in this country every time they have a storm.

It is about time that we make mature choices, and I think this amendment is an effort to push the Congress into making one.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

POINT OF ORDER

Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the amendment because it proposes to change existing law and constitutes legislation in an appropriations bill, and therefore violates clause 2, rule XXI. The rule states, in pertinent part, an amendment to a general appropriations bill shall not be in order in changing existing law, the amendment modifies existing powers and duties.

I ask for a ruling from the Chair.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Does any Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

Mr. OBEY. Yes, I do, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, the purpose of the Budget Act was to force the Congress to make tough trade-off choices, by making trade-offs between individual programs on the spending side and by making trade-offs between revenue levels and spending levels.

The problem with the way the budget process is being approached these days is that instead of forcing Congress to look at those trade-offs clearly, the process has been fragmented so that spending decisions occur at one point in the year, revenue decisions occur at another, and the public is therefore never aware of the connection that exists between the two.

Unfortunately, because that is the way the majority has proceeded it means that this amendment is subject to a point of order if any Member chooses to make one, and so I very regretfully concede the point of order.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The point of order is conceded and sustained.

The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

STATE AND TRIBAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS

(INCLUDING RESCISSIONS OF FUNDS)

For environmental programs and infrastructure assistance, including capitalization grants for State revolving funds and performance partnership grants, $3,127,800,000, to remain available until expended, of which $750,000,000 shall be for making capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds under title VI of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (the ``Act''), of which up to $50,000,000 shall be available for loans, including interest free loans as authorized by 33 U.S.C. 1383(d)(1)(A), to municipal, inter-municipal, interstate, or State agencies or nonprofit entities for projects that provide treatment for or that minimize sewage or stormwater discharges using one or more approaches which include, but are not limited to, decentralized or distributed stormwater controls, decentralized wastewater treatment, low-impact development practices, conservation easements, stream buffers, or wetlands restoration; $850,000,000 shall be for capitalization grants for the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds under section 1452 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, except that, notwithstanding section 1452(n) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, none of the funds made available under this heading in this Act, or in previous appropriations Acts, shall be reserved by the Administrator for health effects studies on drinking water contaminants; $50,000,000 shall be for architectural, engineering, planning, design, construction and related activities in connection with the construction of high priority water and wastewater facilities in the area of the United States-Mexico Border, after consultation with the appropriate border commission; $15,000,000 shall be for grants to the State of Alaska to address drinking water and waste infrastructure needs of rural and Alaska Native Villages; $200,000,000 shall be for making grants for the construction of drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure and for water quality protection (``special project grants'') in accordance with the terms and conditions specified for such grants in the joint explanatory statement of the managers accompanying this Act, and, for purposes of these grants, each grantee shall contribute not less than 45 percent of the cost of the project unless the grantee is approved for a waiver by the Agency; $95,500,000 shall be to carry out section 104(k) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, including grants, interagency agreements, and associated program support costs; $4,000,000 shall be for a grant to Puerto Rico for drinking water infrastructure improvements to the Metropolitano community water system in San Juan; $10,000,000 for cost-shared grants for school bus retrofit and replacement projects that reduce diesel emissions: Provided, That beginning in fiscal year 2006 and thereafter, the Administrator is authorized to make such grants, subject to terms and conditions as the Administrator shall establish, to State, tribal, and local governmental entities responsible for providing school bus services to one or more school districts; and $1,153,300,000 shall be for grants, including associated program support costs, to States, federally recognized tribes, interstate agencies, tribal consortia, and air pollution control agencies for multi-media or single media pollution prevention, control and abatement and related activities, including activities pursuant to the provisions set forth under this heading in Public Law 104-134, and for making grants under section 103 of the Clean Air Act for particulate matter monitoring and data collection activities of which and subject to terms and conditions specified by the Administrator, of which $52,000,000 shall be for carrying out section 128 of CERCLA, as amended, and $20,000,000 shall be for Environmental Information Exchange Network grants, including associated program support costs, and $15,000,000 shall be for making competitive targeted watershed grants: Provided further, That for fiscal year 2006, State authority under section 302(a) of Public Law 104-182 shall remain in effect: Provided further, That notwithstanding section 603(d)(7) of the Act, the limitation on the amounts in a State water pollution control revolving fund that may be used by a State to administer the fund shall not apply to amounts included as principal in loans made by such fund in fiscal year 2006 and prior years where such amounts represent costs of administering the fund to the extent that such amounts are or were deemed reasonable by the Administrator, accounted for separately from other assets in the fund, and used for eligible purposes of the fund, including administration: Provided further, That for fiscal year 2006, and notwithstanding section 518(f) of the Act, the Administrator is authorized to use the amounts appropriated for any fiscal year under section 319 of that Act to make grants to Indian tribes pursuant to sections 319(h) and 518(e) of that Act: Provided further, That for fiscal year 2006, notwithstanding the limitation on amounts in section 518(c) of the Act, up to a total of 1 1/2 percent of the funds appropriated for State Revolving Funds under title VI of that Act may be reserved by the Administrator for grants under section 518(c) of that Act: Provided further, That no funds provided by this legislation to address the water, wastewater and other critical infrastructure needs of the colonias in the United States along the United States-Mexico border shall be made available to a county or municipal government unless that government has established an enforceable local ordinance, or other zoning rule, which prevents in that jurisdiction the development or construction of any additional colonia areas, or the development within an existing colonia the construction of any new home, business, or other structure which lacks water, wastewater, or other necessary infrastructure: Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, such funds that were appropriated under this heading for special project grants in fiscal year 2000 or before and for which the Agency has not received an application and issued a grant by September 30, 2006, shall be made available to the Clean Water or Drinking Water Revolving Fund, as appropriate, for the State in which the special project grant recipient is located: Provided further, That excess funds remaining after completion of a special project grant shall be made available to the Clean Water or Drinking Water Revolving Fund, as appropriate, for the State in which the special project grant recipient is located: Provided further, That in the event that a special project is determined by the Agency to be ineligible for a grant, the funds for that project shall be made available to the Clean Water or Drinking Water Revolving Fund, as appropriate, for the State in which the special project grant recipient is located: Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, heretofore and hereafter, after consultation with the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations and for the purpose of making technical corrections, the Administrator is authorized to award grants under this heading to entities and for purposes other than those listed in the joint explanatory statements of the managers accompanying the Agency's appropriations Acts for the construction of drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure and for water quality protection.

POINTS OF ORDER

Mr. GILLMOR. Mr. Chairman, I rise to make a point of order.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state his point of order.

Mr. GILLMOR. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order to the language beginning with quote, except that notwithstanding section 1452(n) on page 67, line 17 through water contaminants on line 22, violates clause 2 of rule XXI of the rules of the House of Representatives prohibiting legislation on appropriation bills .

The language that I have cited says that notwithstanding the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act none of the money in the fiscal year 2005 Department of Interior appropriations bill or even previous appropriations acts may be reserved by the EPA Administrator for health effects studies on drinking water contaminants.

This language clearly constitutes legislating on an appropriations bill, and as such, violates clause 2 of rule XXI.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Does any Member wish to be heard on the point of order? If not the Chair will rule.

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