EPA’s Sludge Rule:  Closed Minds or Open Debate?
CONGRESSIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS DOCUMENT                                 March 22, 2000



This hearing will address whether EPA, in its development and enforcement of the Part 503 Sludge Rule, is failing to
foster sound science with an open exchange of ideas and information between scientists, EPA officials, and private
citizens. The hearing will explore allegations that EPA scientists who disagree with EPA’s science associated with the
sludge rule were ignored or, worse, subjected to harassment.  Even more disturbing are documented reports of
intimidation directed at private citizens who express concerns about EPA sludge policies and the science behind those

Bold sections show why this Hearing was a public relations stunt with no regard for sound science.

Opening Statement by Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.                                      March 22, 2000

Committee on Science
Hearing on

EPA’s Sludge Rule:  Closed Minds or Open Debate?

This is not the first time this Committee has examined the scientific process at EPA.  For example, just last
fall the Committee addressed the issue of whether EPA ignored scientific evidence that MTBE is harmful to
the public’s health and the environment.  Another example is EPA’s handling of the High Production Volume
Chemical testing program.  In both these instances, EPA appeared to care more about protecting its own
regulations than ensuring adequate protection for the environment and the public’s health.  And in both of
these cases the science has ultimately supported EPA’s critics and not the Agency.  In fact, just this
Monday, EPA officially reversed itself on the issue of MTBE after dragging its feet on the issue for the last
five years.
                                          Committee on Science                        March 22, 2000

                                          EPA’s Sludge Rule: Closed Minds or Open Debate

Testimony of Jane Beswick
Following that event, Dr. Rubin wrote a threatening letter to me and Carolyn Richardson, an attorney for California
Farm Bureau.  He objected to two specific items in my paper, “Some Misconceptions Concerning Sludge.” The first was
the distinction I made between manure and biosolids; while the second concerned the transfer of liability to the
landowner who applies sludge.  He said, “I do not mean this as a threat.”  However, I took that to mean, Jane, just in
case you hadn’t thought about it, this is a threat.  He then went on to ask,
“Jane, when was the last time either a
Federal or State inspector was out at your farm to inspect your dairy manure lagoon for integrity and to
measure nitrate levels in your groundwater and surface waters adjacent to your land?  When was the last
time that a regulatory official asked for a determination of pathogen levels in either your manure or soils?”  
Further, he said, “...continued presentations like yours can only focus the public’s and eventually the
regulators’ attention on . . . traditional agricultural practices such as the use of manures and fertilizers.”
This was the first of ten  unsolicited mailings I received from Dr. Rubin.  To me, he was saying that if I didn’t stop
speaking out about the risks of using sludge, there would be closer scrutiny of animal manure by Federal and State
inspectors--which has happened.


The National Academies                                                             July 2, 2002
Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land
               Sewage Sludge Standards Need New Scientific Basis

"There is a serious lack of health-related information about populations exposed to treated sewage
sludge," said committee chair Thomas A. Burke, professor, department of health policy and management,
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. "To ensure public health
protection, EPA should investigate allegations of adverse health effects and update the science behind its
chemical and pathogen standards."