Thank you for joining us today, Administrator Regan. The work you do at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is incredibly important, and it touches the lives of every American.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in my home state of Oklahoma where we have abundant natural gas production, farming, and ranching. All those sectors of our economy are impacted daily by EPA’s work. And while the Agency does an excellent job to ensure the health and safety of Americans, some regulations have costs and consequences that outweigh their potential benefits.
For instance, proposed EPA rules on greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector could potentially cost billions of dollars and trickle down to customers in the form of higher energy bills. A single insecticide, chlorpyrifos, that EPA is unilaterally proposing to ban has a value of at least $130 million to our economy. And the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule could possibly devastate farmers and ranchers whose lands could suddenly be subject to major federal regulation.
Every EPA action has a significant impact on our health, safety, and economy. That’s why it’s so important that the regulatory decisions EPA makes are based on the best available science.
Our job on this committee is to make sure that EPA’s actions are grounded in sound science – and that includes using solid data, thorough analyses, cost-benefit assessments, and a process that’s collaborative and transparent.
I have a few concerns with some of EPA’s current actions and whether they are being driven by the best-available science as required under law. For instance, the EPA’s decision to ban chlorpyrifos not only exceeds the safety determinations made by EPA’s own scientists, but it also runs counter to the scientific analysis done by USDA scientists.
In another example, multiple proposed new rules on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act are raising questions because they are unrealistic and could leave our power sector vulnerable to outages.
When EPA makes decisions that either ignore consensus science or create impossible costs for our businesses, it runs the risk of prioritizing politics over smart policy. And that harms all Americans.
So I’m looking forward to a lively discussion today about how we can improve the way the agency conducts science and – just as importantly – improve how science informs EPA’s decision-making.
Administrator Regan, this is your first time before the Committee and I expect this to be a comprehensive hearing that touches on a wide range of topics. I’m grateful for your participation and, given the critical role of science at EPA, I’d like to be sure this becomes a regular occurrence.
I hope you agree with me that science and scientific integrity must be a priority for the EPA Administrator, and that there’s value in having regular conversations with Congress to discuss these key topics.
I thank you for your time today, and I look forward to a productive discussion.