Remarks by Valdas V. Adamkus
                            U.S.  EPA  Region 5
                             Chicago,  Illinois
                                   * * *
                        Metcalfe Federal  Building
                             August  10,  1993
(Approx. 7:20 min.)

Good morning	and welcome to EPA Region 5.

I  appreciate very much your taking the time to meet with us, and I am honored to be
here before you.

In the past,  I've had  occasion to address larger audiences, but none perhaps so
distinguished.  As executive officers of your respective utilities, you supply electric
power to some 80 percent of the population in the Great Lakes Basin of Region 5.
And, as decision-makers in your companies arid as leaders in your communities, you
have an enormous capacity to do some lasting good for the environment we all share.

What brings  us together here this morning is a pesky and persistent pollutant  that
continues to vex the industry and the EPA as well. I am talking about PCB's, of course.
More to the point—what you and I can do about them.

 And here is where the voluntary phaseout of RGB's comes in, as I  mentioned in my
 letter to you.  The phaseout program aims to encourage utilities in the Great Lakes
 Basin to get rid of their PCB transformers. Since this is not required by regulations, the
 voluntary aspect of the PCB phaseout is paramount to its success. Your cooperation,
 in fact, is vital.

 I would like to go one step further and ask that you also consider PCB capacitors and
 other PCB electrical equipment in your phaseout.  In addition, with the example you
 set for others, I  hope to see the PCB phaseout embraced by all industries and
 businesses in the  Great Lakes Basin and beyond.  If you show the way, as some of
 you have already, others will follow. That's how confident I am of your leadership, your
 technical expertise, and that most American of traits-—volunteer action.

 The voluntary PCB phaseout neatly dovetails into the concept of pollution prevention--
 a keystone of EPA policy emphasized again and again by EPA Administrator Carol
 Browner.  Three weeks ago in Chicago she said:  "Before, we practiced end-of-pipe
 control, but now we need to look upstream, to incorporate pollution prevention  in
 everything we do."
I can only say "Amen" to that, because I am on record of having said more than once:
The future of environmental protection lies not in more  regulatiorCbut in pollution ||    %
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prevention.  And the sooner everyone subscribes to the idea of nfi manufacfuring
pollution, the better and cheaper it will be for all of us.

 Two other keystones of EPA policy also come into play with our voluntary PCB
 phaseout. One is the idea of actively seeking partnerships between EPA on one hand
 and utilities, industries, and private businesses on the other.  The second  is the
 concept of protecting entire ecosystems, such  as the Great Lakes Basin, not just
 merely this river or that lake or the air umbrella over a particular city.

 The EPA has singled out the Great Lakes Basin  because, along with other toxicants,
 many PCB's wind up in the Great Lakes.  And the Great Lakes-—despite their huge
 size and  irreplaceable  value—-represent  a very  fragile  ecosystem.   A system
 especially vulnerable to PCB and other types of pollution.

 The Great Lakes form what amounts to a closed basin. Less than 1 percent of their
 water flows  out into the  Atlantic through the St.  Lawrence River every year.  And a
 computer model has figured out that a glob of PCB's dropped, for example, into Lake
 Superior today would not be flushed out for some  190 years.

 Another problem with PCB's is that they do  not dissolve in  water, yet become quite
 soluble in the fatty tissues of  animals and fish. So that, through the process of
 bioaccumulation along the food  chain, the concentration of PCB's in big |sh—like the
coho salmon—can exceed the concentration of PCB's in water by  as  much as 10
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million times.

 In fact, PCB's have been the most persistent and consistent cause of fish advisories in
 the Great Lakes. PCB's- — from single doses to long-term exposure— are also the
 dominant cause of toxicity in birds and wildlife of the Great Lakes Basin. And because
 some 30 million people in the United States alone depend on Great Lakes for their
 drinking water  and other  needs, the effect of PCB's  on potable water is not  an
 exaggerated concern.

 Then, too, leaks and spills from PCB electrical equipment present a major source of
 contamination on land ...... and a true Excedrin headache when it comes to cleanup.
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 Why the sudden concern about PCB's?  It's just another overreaction on the part of
 some flaming environmentalists, I heard it said the other day.

 Well, ladies and gentlemen, the concern about PCB's has been anything but sudden.
 The toxic effects in people exposed to PCB's on the job have been documented as
 early as 1 937. And in 1 968 headlines around the  world announced the poisoning of
 1 ,400 people by PCB-contaminated rice in Japan.  In 1976 Congress passed the Toxic
 Substances Control Act, which specifically charged EPA with PCB control.  And in
 1979 — the very  year that EPA banned the production,            and commercial
distribution of PCB's in the United States — some 2,000 people were poisoned by
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 PCB-contaminatedjng oil in Taiwan.          --_             '  ^^llto-v*'   •«

 There is no doubt about PCB's being a crippling pollutant in the environment and a
 health  hazard to people.  That's why  it's so important that we voluntarily—and
 aggressively—phase out the  PCB equipment still in legal use.

 Today, hundreds of companies are two jumps ahead of everybody else with their
 pollution prevention programs.  And I salute those of you who already have a PCB
 phaseout program under way.  Let me assure you:  Your efforts have not gone
 unnoticed or unappreciated.  I only hope  that  your leadership  and your civic
 conscience rubs off on others.

 The benefits could be truly substantial.  Consider a PCB spill.  Even if it's quickly
 cleaned up, there might be scores of people claiming to be injured by it.  The resulting
 litigation could cost you hundreds of millions of  dollars.  Eliminate that spill—and you
 eliminate those staggering costs	Not to mention bushels of grief and aggravation.
 And the elimination of potential liability in case of PCB fires—where dioxins and
 dibenzofurans may surface as unwanted byproducts—could yield even  greater all-
 around dividends.

 Finally, tot us recognize the immense public goodwill that could accrue through your
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 voluntary actions. And who can put a dollar figure on that?  Well, it's something to
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At this point, however, I would like to introduce Phyllis Reed, chief of our Pesticides

and Toxic Substances Branch, who will present to you our proposed PCB phaseout

plan in more detail. Phyllis	

                      WA—CONCLUDING  REMARKS

                                  (Approx. 2 min.)

Now that you've heard about our PCB phaseout plan, discuss it with your respective

staffs back at the office. But don't limit your discussions to ideas and suggestions you

have heard  at this meeting.  Explore new avenues.  Be innovative.  You and your

experts know your PCB electrical equipment—and your customers—-far better than

EPA or anyone else ever will.  Take full advantage of the unique situation you're in.

We have come a long way in  our efforts to remove PCB's from the environment. And

now I urge you to join EPA in  taking the final steps toward complete PCB elimination.

In this regard, I am asking you to make a three-pronged commitment for the next 5


      1. To phase out all the  remaining PCB-labeled equipment.

      2. To  develop  and carry out an aggressive testing  program  in vaults,
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         substations,  and  power  plants  for  non-labeled  equipment,

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         phasing out all those with a PCB content greater than 500 parts per million.
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      3.  To develop and carry out an aggressive testing program in sensitive areas-

       such as agricultural lands,  schools, hospitals, waterways, and wetlands— and
       phase out any transformers or voltage regulators with a  PCB content greater
       than 500 parts per million.

 By the way, non-labeled electrical  equipment— -where  manufacturers' data or
 previous tests show PCB's at less than 500 parts per million-— does not have to be
 retested or inluded in our phaseout program.

 In addition, it would be very helpful if you could  provide me with two types of data
 within the next 60 days:

       A. Measurable results of your PCB phaseout programs to date.  And ......
       B. Details of what your company can do — how specifically it can help EPA to
       eliminate PCB's in the Great Lakes Basin.

 Before we  go to questions--and--answers momentarily, I would like once again to
thank you for coming here this morning. The voluntary PCB phaseout in the six Great
Lakes  States of this Region is one of my highest  priorities.  And the success of that
phaseout depends almost entirely on you.  That's why I'm asking for-— and am heavily
counting on — your traditionally thoughtful and generous support.
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I know you wont tot me down.