« PreviousContinue »
A BILL TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY TO THE OFFICE OF
JUNE 25, 2002
Printed for the use of the Committee on Environment and Public Works
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 2004
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Fax: (202) 512–2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JAMES M. JEFFORDS, Vermont, Chairman MAX BAUCUS, Montana
BOB SMITH, New Hampshire HARRY REID, Nevada
JOHN W. WARNER, Virginia BOB GRAHAM, Florida
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri BARBARA BOXER, California
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio RON WYDEN, Oregon
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, New York ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey
PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico
Devine, Tom, Government Accountability Project
American Bar Association, Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory
Practice, Section of Dispute Resolution, Section of Business Law, Sec-
82–92 Statements: Hardy, Rogers and Antonia M., Harrison, ID
97 Hodge, Lucinda, director, Alberton Community Coalition for Environmental Health, Missoula, MT
100 Miller, Barbara, Siler Valley People's Action Coalition, Kellog, ID
98 Scholl, Ron, Missoula, MT
99 Smedley, William A., executive director, GreenWatch, Inc.; board mem
ber, Pennsylvania Environment Network; chairman Legal Committee,
102 Text of Bill, S. 606, A bill to provide additional authority to the Office of Ombudsman of the Environmental Protection Agency
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AT THE
TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002
Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:38 a.m. in room 406, Senate Dirksen Building, Hon. James Jeffords (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Senators Jeffords, Carper, Clinton, Crapo and Specter.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES M. JEFFORDS,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF VERMONT Senator JEFFORDS. The hearing will come to order.
The purpose of today's hearing is to examine the functioning of the EPA's Office of the Ombudsman. While this may be a littleknown office within the EPA, historically it has played an important role looking into the Agency's handling of hazardous waste sites under the Superfund program. It is clear to me that the Agency needs an independent and credible and impartial ombudsman that will respond to the needs of communities coping with complicated and somewhat life-threatening environmental problems.
I, for one, do not want another GAO study in 9 months that again finds that the ombudsman does not have sufficient independence. Last April, the EPA transferred the ombudsman to the Office of Inspector General. In reviewing the testimony of today's witnesses, it is clear that this action has generated considerable concern. I hope that the Inspector General will detail the operating plans for the ombudsman office and will let the committee know when the office will be publicly posted and fully staffed.
Most of you know the authorizing statute governing the activities of the ombudsman expired some time ago. Senator Crapo has introduced a bill that Senators Specter and Allard and others have, that would require the ombudsman to report directly to the Administrator of the EPA. I hope all the witnesses will give us their comments on this piece of legislation.
As a reminder, I would request that the witnesses keep their oral remarks to 5 minutes so that we can have time for questions and answers from each panel. Each of the witness' written testimony will be placed in the record and the record will be left open for following questions and additional testimony. [The prepared statement of Senator Jeffords follows:]