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Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today held a hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Senator Feinstein chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies and presided over the hearing.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson appeared as the primary witness.

During the hearing, Chairman Feinstein touched on the following topics: the proposed endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions and other Administration efforts to fight climate change both domestic and international; the pending California Clean Air Act waiver request to regulate tailpipe emissions; the diesel emissions reduction grant program; and water and sewer infrastructure efforts.

            Following is the prepared text of Chairman Feinstein’s opening remarks:

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  On behalf of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I welcome you to our hearing on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

I’m very pleased to welcome Lisa Jackson, the new Administrator of EPA, before this Subcommittee.

I’d also like to welcome Senator Alexander, who is our new Ranking Member.  This is the first hearing we’re conducting together, and I would just like to say how much I am looking forward to working with him.

As we turn to the budget, I am also pleased to say that this request makes it clear – it is a new day for EPA under President Obama. 

The Administration’s FY 2010 request for EPA is $10.486 billion dollars.  That’s a remarkable 37 percent increase over the FY 2009 enacted level.  That translates to $2.9 billion in new funds for environmental protection – a welcome change compared to the Agency’s past budget requests. 

I am particularly pleased to see the President make a $3.9 billion commitment to fund water and sewer infrastructure.

Specifically, the budget request proposes $2.4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a $1.7 billion increase over the enacted level.  That’s a 248 percent increase to fund badly needed sewer projects.  

The budget also proposes $1.5 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.  That’s an 81percent increase over the enacted level, another huge step forward. 

Together, these Funds will build more than 1,700 water and sewer projects across the country.  That’s an increase of 857 projects compared to last year.

That’s in addition to the 2,000 projects that will be funded by the $6 billion Congress provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year.  Together, these investments show a renewed Federal commitment to helping communities meet their infrastructure needs.

And the President’s request also includes other increases for important environmental priorities. 

In Fiscal Year 2010, EPA proposes to spend $475 million on a new, multi-agency Great Lakes Initiative.  That’s a 692percent increase over the agency’s current program.  I look forward to talking about EPA’s plans for this initiative, as well as discussing what must be done to help other, high-priority water bodies like the San Francisco Bay.

I am pleased to see that EPA’s enforcement programs received a large increase.  This budget requests $601 million to bring polluters to justice – the largest enforcement budget in the agency’s history.

And there is other good news.  The request asks for $1.3 billion to fund cleanups at Superfund sites across the nation, a 2 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2009 level.  Science and technology programs would get a 7 percent increase, for a total of $842 million. 

Grants to States to reduce water pollution would receive a 5 percent increase, for a total of $229 million. 

Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants, which are so important to improve air quality, are proposed for a total of $60 million, equal to last year. 

And, in particular, I am very pleased that the Administration has requested $17 million to implement the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule I included in the FY 2009 Interior bill.   This rule will provide the data needed to lay a foundation for future greenhouse gas reduction efforts. 

Madam Administrator, as you know, EPA is directed to complete work on this rule by this June, and I look forward to hearing from you on your agency’s progress. 

Now, before I turn the floor over to my colleagues, I’d like to briefly address the challenges before us with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. 

EPA is currently working on several actions that will set the stage for future reductions in emissions.  In addition to finalizing the greenhouse gas reporting rule I just mentioned, EPA is also finishing its work to reconsider the California emissions waiver – hopefully to meet its June 30th statutory deadline – and finalizing a draft endangerment finding that the agency proposed in April.

I think it’s critically important that the agency finalize these decisions as soon as possible.  I hope to see EPA move forward to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under its existing Clean Air Act authorities, even as Congress works on a potential framework for comprehensive climate legislation.  I simply don’t think we can afford to wait any longer.

I look forward to hearing from Administrator Jackson this morning about what actions we can expect from EPA in the days and weeks ahead with regard to climate policy.

I would like to turn now to our distinguished Ranking Member, Senator Alexander, for any opening statements he may wish to make.”