Testimony by Bill Kovacs on the Cabinet Elevation for the EPA
Testimony of William L. Kovacs, Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Before the House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs on the Subject of Cabinet Elevation for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
July 16, 2002
Thank you Chairman Ose, Ranking Member Tierney, and members of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs. My name is William L. Kovacs and I am Vice President of Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber"). In this role, I am the primary officer responsible for developing Chamber policy on environment, energy, natural resources, agriculture, food safety, regulatory, and technology issues.
I appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning to discuss issues related to the legislative proposals to elevate the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to Cabinet level status. The Chamber is the nation's largest business federation with more than 3 million members in every size, sector and region. EPA's far-reaching activities and regulations directly or indirectly affect millions of American businesses.
EPA is an organization that has been charged with implementing a series of complex statutes without the benefit of a legislative mission. As such, it has an organizational structure that works against both efficiency and innovation. Simple elevation of the Agency, without necessary reform, would have the effect of permanently locking EPA into its current structure. However, elevation accompanied by appropriate reform would allow the symbolic importance of our environment to be appropriately recognized while simultaneously fixing deficiencies that impair the agency. With appropriate reform, EPA could be allowed to be more flexible, innovative and effective with the billions of dollars of assets provided it annually by Congress.
Two elevation bills are currently pending before this subcommittee. The Chamber is opposed to HR 2438, which would simply elevate EPA without any reform to its structure or functions. In contrast, the Chamber favors the general approach taken in HR 2694, which would, in conjunction with elevation, substantively reform the agency. Today, I will discuss several of the organizational and other changes that we believe are necessary – whether or not EPA is elevated – to ensure that the agency is better able to enhance environmental protection with its present assets.
I. OVERVIEW OF THIRTY YEARS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
A necessary part of an EPA reorganization, in our view, is ensuring that the agency no longer be structured along media lines. Today's discussion in this regard is the same discussion that took place when EPA was organized under Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970 ("the Reorganization Plan"). At that time, President Nixon was critical of the manner in which the national government was structured with regard to protection of air, water and land. In the Reorganization Plan, the President critically observed that many agencies' missions were "designed primarily along media lines – air, water and land. Yet the sources of air, water, and land pollution are interrelated and often interchangeable." Thus was born the EPA, where research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities for each of these media would be consolidated in a single agency.
In the years that followed, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and others – all addressing single media. Notwithstanding the goals of the reorganization plan and provisions in the respective laws authorizing the Administrator of EPA to coordinate implementation with the various laws, EPA was de facto structured to focus on media specific concerns. So here we all are today, more than 30 years after EPA was established, facing precisely the same problems raised by President Nixon in 1970. In order to ensure that a significant opportunity is not missed to make EPA work better, the Chamber believes it is essential that Congress ask certain fundamental questions before simply elevating EPA to cabinet level status.
Two essential questions come to mind:
(1) What should EPA be doing?
(2) What powers does the agency need in order to be effectively relevant?
These questions naturally lead not only to a reexamination of EPA's organizational structure, but also to consideration of EPA's relationship with the states, the Agency's establishment of priorities, the recognition that environmental problems simply change over time with the development of technology, science and instrumentation. Therefore, for EPA to be effectively relevant, it must be able to change, innovate, understand the problems of the day, and be able to organize its resources to address these problems.
It is fair to say that when EPA was created in 1970, and when the respective environmental laws were enacted later that decade, no one had a comprehensive understanding of the scope of environmental problems or the solutions to those problems. The various environmental laws were designed to allow the federal government to begin understanding the problems, while simultaneously beginning to solve them. To a significant extent, the established command and control structures helped to redress past environmental problems and provided a framework for managing environmental issues. In the succeeding decades, science allowed us to better understand the problems, and as we solved the readily apparent problems, we came face to face with problems more complex and more difficult to address. The effectiveness of the 1970's command and control structure began to diminish.
Unfortunately, while the problems faced by the environment and our understanding of these problems has changed substantially over 30 years, EPA still utilizes a 1970's approach to environmental protection and enforcement. Since the advent of the EPA, American business has been an active partner, along with federal, state and local governments and others, in the effort to safeguard our natural environment. In fact, over the last 32 years, American industry has expended more than $2 trillion on environmental protection. In the coming decade, business will likely spend another $2 trillion on this effort. Business has become an invaluable partner in achieving environmental protections. Moreover, environmental protection has become a focus at every level of government and in every business. As a result, our air is cleaner and our water is safer. These are positive developments for which EPA, state and local governments, and industry should be commended.
Notwithstanding the contributions of business, EPA still appears to presume that business has a propensity to want to pollute and that state and local governments have a propensity to look the other way on environmental protection. Nothing could be further from the truth. Non-compliance is very rare, and a large number of violations are self-reported. For instance, in Fiscal Year 2000, EPA initiated a total of 6,027 enforcement actions of all types – the most in EPA history – while 430 companies self-reported potential violations at nearly 2,200 facilities. These numbers may seem large but become very small in light of the fact that more than 1.2 million businesses report to EPA and the total number of environmental transactions undertaken by these companies (reports, permits, monitoring, transportation, waste management operations) are in the tens of billions a year.
Consider the enormity of this against the mere 6,027 enforcement actions and approximately 2,200 self-reported violations. This violation rate is a small fraction of one percent. This high level of compliance strongly suggests that overall; the environmental performance of the American business community is remarkable.
II. EPA'S ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
A review of EPA materials, such as its self-created mission and goals, leads to the inescapable conclusion that we are asking EPA to protect all human health and the environment, a task that requires enormous resources and knowledge. We expect EPA to establish health based standards to address countless issues that evade even the best scientists, and then to determine how to apply complex technologies, science, monitoring, sophisticated instruments and risk assessments to the problems. Yet we lock EPA into rigid programs and allocate staff and funding in a manner that makes it impossible to complete this task. A look at EPA's proposed FY2003 budget reveals that 64% of its resources are to be spent on clean water and better waste management, but only 6.8% of its resources are allocated to sound science or quality environmental information. Roughly the same ratio applies to the personnel assigned to these various tasks. This is inexcusable in a time where science and information are so vital to the Agency's policies, and therefore to environmental protection.
Experience tells us that environmental issues change with time and circumstances. Therefore, innovation and flexibility are necessary if we are to be more effective in protecting our environment. It is therefore imperative that a legislative mechanism be implemented that allows and encourages innovation and flexibility.
1. EPA SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED TO PROMOTE MARKET- BASED MECHANISMS
For instance, legislation should promote the use of market-based mechanisms and economic incentives, which motivate businesses to adopt new technologies and processes resulting in environmental performance that goes beyond bare minimum requirements. Such an approach was used when 1990 legislation required power plants to reduce and cap their total SO2 emissions, but allowed the practice of emissions trading to meet the requirement. The result: SO2 emissions 22% below required levels, lower costs of compliance, and 100% program compliance achieved during Phase I.
2. EPA SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED TO DEVELOP A PERFORMANCE-BASED REGULATORY STRUCTURE
Similarly, more flexibility should be encouraged through performance-based, rather than command and control, standards. For example, the bubble concept allows a company flexibility to choose which emissions sources to reduce to meet an overall limit for emissions from the "bubble." This approach regulates the ends, not the means, and improves overall performance.
3. THERE MUST BE AN INCREASED ROLE FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
A third innovation, and one which is absolutely necessary, is to allow an increased role for local and state governments. During the past 30 years, local and state governments have become as competent as the federal government in environmental protection. States spent $13.6 billion on environmental protection in fiscal year 2000, nearly double the entire federal EPA budget, and are responsible for more than 80% of all environmental enforcement actions. Although most environmental problems are unique to regions, states, and local communities, by necessity EPA attempts to regulate on a "one size fits all" basis. This is inefficient at best, and can easily result in a failure to meet EPA's objectives.
Devolving responsibilities to the state and local level will allow a more streamlined process, and will allow for more innovations such as New Jersey's facility-wide permitting processes, which let companies make changes in their processes and equipment without prior approval. States should also have more freedom to, like Massachusetts, institute industry-wide compliance standards that base progress on actual environmental outcomes. Both programs have improved the environment at a lower cost.
No person, and no entity, is perfect. State and local governments do make mistakes. But their mistakes are a fraction of a percent in light of the almost countless number of environmental transactions that occur daily. Moreover, such mistakes even more rarely merit federal intrusion.
Equally of concern is EPA's frequent overfiling, where the federal government duplicates the enforcement actions of the states. Not only is this practice a tremendous waste of limited resources, but it runs counter to the basic principle of federalism. For these reasons, the Chamber strongly believes that, once EPA authorizes a state to assume responsibility for a federal program, EPA should be prohibited from second-guessing the state decisions. If EPA is unhappy with the implementation of a state program, it has the right to terminate authorization. EPA's consistent second-guessing is demeaning to state sovereignty, and a waste of public resources.
Recognizing the fact that states conduct more than 80% of implementation and enforcement activities in the environmental arena, EPA should be fundamentally transformed into an agency that conducts sound studies and sets solid standards and, in limited circumstances, such as where trans-boundary issues are involved, implements and enforces policies. Otherwise, EPA should authorize state programs and then get out of the way. EPA should not continue to second-guess state decisions, which merely causes unnecessary conflict between the states and the federal government. In other words, once authorized, a state should have sole authority for implementation and enforcement of the federal program. Of course, EPA must maintain the ability to revoke state authority if the state is not properly implementing a program, but with businesses annually undertaking tens of billions of environmental transactions, EPA should not play the role of (or see its role as) a second-guesser. This federalism approach will best allow EPA to spend its resources to ensure the maximum public health and environmental benefits are achieved by EPA using sound science to develop the best standards for the states to implement.
4. EPA MUST PRIORITIZE THE RISKS IT WILL ADDRESS
A significant problem with EPA is a lack of cross-media risk prioritization. EPA attempts to address too many issues at too great an expense. The cost-effectiveness of regulations should also always be measured. Without proper risk assessment, funds can be – and frequently are – misallocated.
This leads naturally to a discussion of better resource allocation. A comparison of median cost per life-year saved among various agencies is revealing and problematic. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration's cost per life-year saved is $26,546, the Consumer Product Safety Commission's cost is $76,483, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's cost is $90,025, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's cost is $101,567. In stark contrast, EPA's cost per life-year saved is $8,771,667. Certainly, cost per life-year saved cannot be a measure of the value of a human life, but the measurement does focus us on how the agency allocates the expenditure of the limited resources of a society. The misuse of resource allocation was pointed out in an EPA report that found that the most serious risks in society "were not necessarily the problems that Congress and EPA had targeted for the most aggressive action." The authors found that "EPA's regulatory activities are not necessarily focused on the environmental problems that pose the greatest risks to public health and welfare. Rather, they are focused on the environmental problems defined in EPA's enabling legislation, which in turn reflects public concern about the effects of different contaminants in different environmental media. Yet neither the depth of public concern nor the stringency of environmental law is necessarily an accurate measure of the relative seriousness of the environmental risks facing us today." To remedy this divide, the authors suggested, "The Agency should assess and compare the universe of environmental risks and then take the initiative to address the most serious risks, whether or not Agency action is required specifically by law."
5. SCIENCE AND DATA QUALITY MUST BE INCORPORATED INTO EVERY ASPECT OF EPA
Science and data quality must be a major component of every significant activity conducted by EPA. Only with mandated use of both sound science and good quality data can issues be adequately determined, prioritized, and addressed. Viewing it another way, this is an issue of integrity, which the agency must have if it is to address the most important environmental problems.
EPA has been plagued by the data quality issue. It's own Inspector General, on March 21, 2002, before this subcommittee testified that EPA lacks detailed information on what is working and at what cost. Therefore, the Inspector General concluded that, "Agency management cannot make informed decisions on how to best deploy resources to achieve results." Continuing, it was found that "The Agency has output data on activities, but few environmental performance goals and measures, and little data that support the Agency's ability to measure environmental outcomes and impacts." In light of these findings, EPA must allocate its resources to developing a foundation that will allow it to ensure that its programs and regulations actually protect human health and the environment as it claims. EPA's regulations annually impose more than $250 billion in costs on business and state and local governments. To find out from the Inspector General that EPA may not have the data to justify the huge burdens it imposes is a travesty. It simply demonstrates how little concern EPA has for the regulated community and the role of science and good quality data in the development of regulations.
6. THE MANDATED USE OF SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY THROUGHOUT THE RULEMAKING PROCESS
Few topics resonate among members of industry like EPA's failure to consistently incorporate the use of sound science in its rulemaking. This problem, though hardly limited to EPA, is of considerable concern because of the nature and number of EPA-issued regulations. The subject matter of EPA rulemaking is inherently scientific.
A. EXAMPLES OF THE COST OF POOR SCIENCE
Poor science inevitably leads to poor regulation. When EPA regulates without first conducting sound scientific research, both government and industry pay a heavy toll. For instance, EPA's failure to adequately familiarize itself with the oxygenate MTBE led oil companies to spend $7 billion converting refineries. Only after these funds had been invested did EPA recommend reducing the use of MTBE because it could leak from gas stations and underground storage tanks into groundwater. Billions may yet be spent cleaning up MTBE in the environment. Similarly, EPA rules and guidance documents caused schools to spend between $7.5 and $16 billion removing asbestos during the 1980's, only to be informed by EPA in 1990 that health risks were in fact quite low, and that removing asbestos actually increased exposure levels.
The MTBE and asbestos examples demonstrate that a failure to apply principles of sound science can lead EPA to interfere with priorities even of agencies and entities outside of the environmental realm. The money spent on asbestos removal in the schools could have instead purchased millions of textbooks, or could have been used to hire tens of thousands of teachers. The funds invested by industry in MTBE refinery conversion, and the funds that will necessarily be spent in re-converting those refineries, could have instead been used to create permanent jobs. Businesses and schools, however, were kept from pursuing their priorities because EPA simply failed to use sound science.
B. HOW TO BETTER APPLY SOUND SCIENCE
In this regard, the MTBE and asbestos examples starkly demonstrate the importance of sound science being used throughout the rulemaking process. Sound science, which is objective, unbiased, and peer reviewed, should be used at every stage from policy planning to enforcement. And to ensure the use of sound science, sound science must be legislatively mandated. The Chamber applauds Congressman Horn for including a scientific integrity provision in HR 2694, which the Chamber is glad to see includes meaningful peer review and the creation of quality assurance guidelines and policies. However, we believe that a final elevation bill should include even more stringent requirements on the use of science.
In determining how to implement sound science requirements, it is useful to look at the scientific integrity provisions of HR 2694, which we believe could be improved in at least two fundamental ways. First, the current provision would leave the quality of science largely to the discretion of the DEP Secretary, requiring only that the Secretary "provide for the development and acquisition of the best credible and unbiased scientific information." We believe Congress should instead expressly define the term "scientific integrity" to ensure that science used is indeed itself objective, unbiased, and, where appropriate, peer reviewed.
A second concern about the science provisions of HR 2694 is that they would not apply principles of sound science to the promulgation of a rule, to guidance documents, to the permitting process, or to enforcement. Sound science should permeate EPA. Whenever EPA uses science, it should, as a matter of policy and law, be sound. There is no satisfactory rationale for excluding regulations and enforcement from the requirement.
It is important to note that sound science has a far-reaching effect. One cannot conduct a risk assessment if a bad model is used. Similarly, it is impossible to conduct a credible cost-benefit analysis if the science underlying the analysis is faulty or incomplete. In this latter regard, the ramifications of uncertainties must be made transparent. It is fundamentally impossible to establish proper priorities and spend money wisely if the Agency lacks a thorough scientific understanding of environmental problems and the prospective solutions. It is obvious that without sound science, there can be no sound regulation.
C. WHAT IS SOUND SCIENCE
As we are all aware, the term "sound science" has become somewhat of a lightning rod. But contrary to the position of some advocates, "sound science" is not a dirty word. Rather, it is merely a manner in which to refer to science that meets certain basic standards. Because of the highly contentious nature of the debate surrounding the use of sound science, the Chamber is making a proposal that we believe would substantially advance the discussion. We believe that Congress should require EPA (or DEP), in consultation with the National Science Foundation and other scientific bodies, to establish (within one year of enactment of any Act elevating EPA to cabinet status) a harmonized view of what constitutes sound science. This guiding framework, which would consist of agreed upon principles, would then underlie all of science conducted by EPA or its successor, as well as the Science Advisory Board.
Although the scientific bodies would be free to define "sound science" in whatever manner they believe appropriate, we suggest that certain principles are inherently part of sound science. In this respect, we would anticipate that sound science at a minimum would be:
- Documented: All research methods (plans, models, data, assumptions, presumptions, etc.) used must be detailed;
- Rational: Plans, models, data, assumptions, presumptions, findings, etc. must make sense and must be believable given what is known;
- Comprehensive: Conclusions must consider all relevant, valid information;
- Factual: Findings must be driven by facts drawn from valid scientific studies;
- Reliable: Plans, models, data, assumptions, presumptions, etc. must be demonstrably reliable in relation to their intended use;
- Peer reviewed: The nature and requirements of peer review must be established and all work must be evaluated by competent experts. Flaws uncovered must be remedied;
- Appropriate: The intended use of data, information, models, and conclusions must be legitimate;
- Qualified: Limitations, errors, uncertainties, and the consequences of these factors must be addressed in a valid and comprehensive manner;
- Reproducible: Findings must be demonstrably reproducible;
- Validated: All data, models, methods, and findings must be validated;
- Objective: Work must not be influenced by institutional or personal motivations, beliefs, or feelings;
- Archivable: A complete record of work to which others may refer must be capable of being (and where necessary is) preserved;
- Understandable: To the extent that work cannot be clearly understood, its value is diminished;
- Communicable: To the extent that work cannot be clearly communicated, its value is diminished;
- Adequate: The scope of work performed must be relevant to the problem being addressed; and
- Responsive: Work must be capable of incorporating new information that is shown to be valid and reliable as it is uncovered.
While the Chamber supports elevation legislation that requires the use of sound science throughout EPA, it is worth noting that an existing Congressional mandate, the Data Quality Act, also addresses this concern. The Data Quality Act, which was passed as Section 515 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Treasury and Postal Appropriations Act, requires agencies to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of all disseminated information.
Under OMB Guidelines issued to implement the Act, scientific data must be generated, and analytical results developed, using "sound statistical and research methods." Furthermore, influential scientific data must be reproducible under OMB's standards. The Chamber has been an active participant in the development of these standards – and further standards currently being developed by all agencies, including EPA – and looks forward to the improvements in information quality that are certain to follow. However, the data quality law is merely one step. A legislative mandate requiring EPA to use sound science – however that term is defined by the collective efforts of the government's scientists – is a critical need in its own right.
D. STRUCTURE OF EPA'S SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD
HR 2694 also creates a Science Advisory Board ("SAB"), although the bill is largely silent with regard to the Board's structure and function. The proposed legislation simply establishes the Board and provides that it shall "review and provide comments on the scientific contents of any rule promulgated by the Secretary." The Chamber believes that this provision is too restrictive in several respects: 1) the language does not currently apply to guidance documents, which have too frequently been used by EPA to regulate industry, 2) it does not establish the SAB's independence from DEP, and 3) it requires merely a review of scientific "contents," an unclear term, where a better rule would mandate that the SAB review the scientific "soundness" of a DEP proposal.
SAB's lack of independence is a substantial concern. Any scientific review by the Board should be performed solely and exclusively on the basis of science, without regard to politics, or even policy. The best way to ensure this result is to ensure that the SAB is as independent as possible. Without such independence, EPA has the opportunity, and perhaps motive, to obtain a "scientific" outcome supporting its regulatory policies. Whether the SAB is external to EPA or is a separate department within the Agency, legislation must make clear that the Board is to be independent of all EPA/DEP policy and media offices. To further ensure independence, the legislation should require that the Board be balanced, including a fair representation for industry.
Interestingly, the current Science Advisory Board is often criticized for a perceived large number of industry affiliated scientists. Yet, according to EPA's data, a majority of the SAB for each of the past nine years has been made up of members of the academic community. In fact, industry affiliated members have made up less than ten percent of the SAB since at least FY1993. If Congress intends to restructure the SAB, it must, in the Chamber's view, also explicitly recognize the need for balance among the SAB membership.
When it comes to environmental-decision making, just as there is a Rule of Law in this country, there must be a Rule of Science. And that rule must be that all EPA regulations and guidance be based on sound science. It is imperative to take a real step forward and break out of what has been the decades-long organizational impasse to efficient, sensible management.
7. THE MANDATED USE OF OBJECTIVE RISK ASSESSMENTS AND COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS
The use of sound science is important in many respects. Perhaps in no manner is this truer than with regard to risk assessment and cost/benefit analyses. EPA cannot accurately assess risks or weigh costs and benefits unless the scientific data used is as precise and accurate as possible. The Chamber is pleased that HR 2694 contains not only a strong risk assessment and analysis provision, but includes sound science principles within that provision.
Specifically, HR 2694 would mandate that risk assessments be supported by "the best available scientific data" and be evaluated by the Science Advisory Board. Importantly, the bill requires these scientifically sound assessments to be completed before a proposed or final rule is published in the Federal Register. This obligation is vital to ensuring that sound science is utilized at all regulatory stages, thereby substantially decreasing the likelihood of scientific rationalization, i.e., science being found and used merely to justify a pre-determined result.
The Chamber also supports the bill's requirement that the Secretary certify that all published regulations not only "substantially advance" public health and safety in relation to the identified risk, but produce benefits that "justify" the implementation and compliance costs to the Government and to the public.
Unfortunately, at least three potential loopholes exist in the bill that, in the Chamber's view, should not be included in a final elevation bill.
First, the bill does not apply to guidance documents. As long as guidance documents continue to be a commonly used method of regulation, and many times used in place of formal rulemakings, risk analysis requirements must be applied to them.
Second, HR 2694 gives the Secretary of DEP an express escape route by which risk assessment mandates could be avoided. While the bill generally requires the Secretary to certify compliance with the section, it allows a rule to become final if the Secretary determines that the required certification cannot be made. There are few, if any, circumstances where a rule can be justified if it cannot be supported by a scientific risk analysis.
Finally, HR 2694 expressly exempts the risk assessment from judicial review. Many agencies, including EPA, are seeking to exempt risk assessments from the congressionally imposed data quality requirements. The Chamber well understands concerns about excessive litigation. But, without judicial review, the Department is virtually invited to ignore the risk assessment requirements.
8. GUARANTEED ACCESS TO DATA USED IN RISK ASSESSMENTS AND COST/BENEFIT ANALYSES
The Chamber has for several years been involved in the battle to guarantee access to data and science used to support agency regulations. In 1998, the "Shelby Amendment" was passed, compelling federal agencies to produce, under the Freedom of Information Act, federally funded research data used in the rulemaking process. The Office of Management and Budget has since implemented regulations governing this process. Additionally, OMB's Guidelines implementing the Data Quality Act require transparency of research designs and methods used in connection with influential scientific, statistical or financial data. Thus, if created, the Department of Environmental Protection will be under preexisting obligations to provide public access to much of its support data.
The Chamber is nevertheless pleased that HR 2694 contains provisions encouraging public access to, and use of, environmental information used by DEP. In particular, the Chamber applauds the bill's charge to the Secretary and the Chief Information Officer to develop policies encouraging even greater public access. Transparency is a fundamental key to securing regulatory efficiency and fairness, and the Chamber therefore strongly supports the applicable provisions of HR 2694.
9. THE CREATION OF A TRULY INDEPENDENT BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL STATISTICS
Good science goes hand in hand with good data. EPA, for far too long, has had too little quality data, and too much bad science. Therefore, the Chamber supports those provisions of HR 2694 which create a Bureau of Environmental Statistics.
Of particular significance is the fact that the Director of the Bureau would have substantial independence in carrying out his or her duties. It is vital that the collection, compilation, evaluation, analysis and dissemination of data be done without interference or undue influence from the Department's policy or media offices. Poor data quality and the absence of data have negatively affected EPA rulemaking since EPA's inception. In particular, if EPA does not have sufficient and reliable data to determine whether it is meeting its goals, it is hard for it to have credibility when promulgating costly regulations. The collection of objective data by a Bureau charged with collecting such data is a substantial step in the right direction.
The Chamber also favors those provisions that require both data quality, i.e., requiring that data is "accurate, reliable, relevant, and in a form that permits systematic analysis," and ready public access to collected information. The Chamber further supports the creation of an inter-governmental peer review team to annually review the statistical procedures and methodology used by the Bureau. With these provisions in place, DEP's regulatory actions should be much improved.
Finally, the Chamber is very grateful to have this opportunity to present its recommendations for your consideration as to EPA's organizational structure should it be elevated to a cabinet-level department. During its debate over the status of EPA, Congress has a tremendous opportunity to help EPA become an innovative organization that can provide greater protection of human health and the environment while doing so in a cost-effective, scientifically sound manner. The Chamber appreciates being able to be a part of this debate.