WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) — West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) highlighted several concerns during the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s questioning of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan over the agency’s proposed budget for FY 2024 on Wednesday.

The budget totals $12.083 billion, marking a $1.9 billion or 19% increase over FY 2023, and calls for the agency to be able to hire just under 2,000 more employees.

“Well, I think one of the issues here is the enormity of the dollars,” Capito said. “I mean, you, EPA received $41 billion and yet the president wants another 19% increase, 2,000 more people. With the 41 billion you’re allowed to hire people to move forward these programs. To me, it’s just mind-boggling in this time of fiscal restraint or where people are really watching their dollars, this kind of overreach and overspending and it just seems so exorbitant to me.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R, WV) points to EPA charts that demonstrate the decrease in coal and natural gas production called for by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Capito also raised the issue of worsened cuts to the coal and natural gas industries over the next 20 years due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as well as issues with mixed communication causing confusion over what its health advisories for drinking water mean.

“Several months ago, you put out something called a health advisory level. The health advisory level is so low that it can’t be measured. So nobody knows whether the health advisory level is safe or not. And so basically now you have two levels. You have a health advisory level which is very low and unmeasurable. And then you have the four parts per trillion that you set last week I believe that was considered safe. However, when Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox was here she said there’s no safe level for PFAS in drinking water,” Capito said.

Regan acknowledged that risk communication has been a challenge for the agency for a while.

“We set a level that is more protective of public health, meaning we set it at that four parts per trillion level because we can detect it at that level and we have the technology to reduce it to that level. It is more protective than if we had not had a regulation in place,” Regan said.