Carper Secures Whitman’s “Unequivocal” Support for Motiva Consent Decree

Washington, DC- Senator Tom Carper this morning secured EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman’s “unequivocal” support for holding Motiva to its consent decree. In a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning, Carper questioned Whitman on the agency’s commitment to enforcing the original consent decree that requires a regenerative process to reduce air emissions of sulfur dioxide at Motiva’s Delaware City Refinery. Whitman pledged the EPA’s unequivocal support for the measure and promised funding for the enforcement in the agency’s budget. Carper also questioned Whitman on the need for sewer funding for the city of Wilmington. The FY04 budget doesn’t include adequate sewer funding for the city. A satellite feed for TV is available at 4:20 today. Audio for radio will also be made available. Below is an excerpt of the exchange between Senator Carper and Christie Whitman on Motiva: SEN. CARPER- …Back in March of 2001, the EPA entered into a consent decree with Motiva in an effort to reduce the emissions of sulfur dioxide into the air… We’ve been having this back and forth between our Department of Environmental Resources, and Motiva – the EPA’s also been involved. Ultimately, environmental regulators in Delaware told Motiva to live by the original consent decree. They said – you’ve got to abide by that. My understanding is the EPA has agreed to essentially the same thing. Will you agree that the original decree holds? WHITMAN – Yes. We have. We have agreed to that. CARPER: That’s good. Thank you for that assurance. My next question is: do you have any idea if the proposed budget for EPA in FY ’04 would allow the agency to enforce the terms of the original consent decree with Motiva? You’ve just assured me that you intend to enforce the consent decree. But will you have the money – the financial wherewithal – to actually enforce it? WHITMAN – (pauses, checks with aide). I am assured by our enforcement office that, yes. That’s an unequivocal yes. We’re strong on “polluter pays” here. CARPER: Thank you for that assurance as well.

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Carper also asked Whitman about the Administration’s plans to protect our nation’s clean air future. Carper is the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety subcommittee, and has plans to reintroduce his bipartisan “4P Bill” later this Congress. The bill would place national caps on emissions from electric power plants, including carbon dioxide, and would clean up emissions without impeding economic growth. Carper has said that the Administration’s “Clear Skies” proposal pushed by the President fails to tackle serious threats to our nation’s clean air future and “does nothing to prevent global warming.”