Tag Archives: Senate hearings

Sen. Barbara Boxer Smacks Down EPA In Oversight Hearing

(Cross-posted from The Courage Campaign also at DailyKos)

Today, Senator Barbara Boxer held her first oversight hearing of the administration's environmental policy since becoming chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month.

"EPA has gone too long without meaningful oversight," Boxer said. "I want to send a clear signal to EPA and to this administration: We are watching . . . and no longer will EPA rollbacks quietly escape scrutiny."

Her full opening statement can be found HERE.

Boxer focused her questioning on six recent changes to EPA rules and policy, which seemed to magically appear in December, right before, um, what was it…oh yeah…Democrats retook control of Congress.


From the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works website, the six changes include:

1. EPA’s December 2006 decision to reverse itself by refusing to extend monitoring requirements for the toxin perchlorate, found in 20 million to more than 40 million Americans’ drinking water.

2. EPA’s December 2006 announcement that it is changing the process for setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), so as to reduce the role of EPA staff scientists and independent scientists, and to politicize the process.

3. EPA’s December 2006 announcement that it is considering eliminating the NAAQS for lead.

4. EPA’s December 2006 decision to reverse its policy on air toxics controls (the "once in always in" policy), so as to allow more pollution.

5. EPA’s December 2006 rule weakening the community right-to-know provisions of the Toxic Release Inventory, by substantially reducing information available to the public about many polluters’ emissions and toxics handling.

6. EPA’s recent policy of shutting down and severely restricting access to its libraries.

From Boxer:

"The pattern of these year-end actions is striking – the public interest is sacrificed, and environmental protection compromised. Who gains from these rollbacks? Just look at who asked for them, like Big Oil and the battery industry. EPA’s proposed actions make it clear who EPA is protecting. The purpose of this oversight hearing is to remind EPA who they are truly accountable to-the American people."


Shockingly, Republicans on the committee seemed unconcerned at best.

Republican committee members attempted to portray Boxer's concerns as trivial and the policy changes as prudent efforts at modernizing and streamlining.

"We are focusing on the wrong things," said Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.

To which Boxer replied:

"I appreciate that you consider these small in comparison to other things," Boxer retorted. "That's why we have two (political) parties."

Hopefully this will be up on YouTube soon. I will definitely post so we can see our great senator in action.