It is my pleasure to welcome Mr. Donald J. Barry to this hearing on his nomination for the position of Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. I would also like to welcome his wife, Teiko, and his parents, George and Kathryn Barry, to the hearing.

Mr. Barry is well known to a number of us on the Committee. For the last three years, he has worked closely with me and other members of this Committee on reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act.

During the 104th Congress, as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Barry helped shape many of the Clinton Administration's ESA reforms. These reforms were designed to enhance species conservation while, at the same time, addressing many of the legitimate concerns of private landowners. They played an important role in the Committee's efforts to develop a bipartisan ESA bill.

Mr. Barry continued his efforts during the 104th Congress, helping me and Senators Chafee, Kempthorne, and Reid identify common sense reforms to make the Act work better on the ground.

More recently, as the Acting Assistant Secretary, Mr. Barry has been a key supporter, along with Secretary Babbitt, of the negotiation process that led to the introduction of S. 1180, the Endangered Species Recovery Act of 1997, last September.

I am pleased to say that his input and assistance were part of the reason the bill was endorsed by the Clinton Administration and reported by this Committee by a vote of 15 to 3.

In addition to his work on the Endangered Species Act, which spans more than two decades, Mr. Barry has worked on a wide range of other fish and wildlife issues, including issues affecting our National Wildlife Refuges, wetlands, and implementation of international wildlife agreements.

Based on his outstanding track record within the interior Department and on Capitol Hill, where he served for a number of years as Counsel to the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, I believe he will make an excellent Assistant Secretary.

Mr. Chairman, I think the President has made a very good choice in Mr. Barry. hope this Committee will be able to favorably report his nomination in the near future.

Good afternoon and welcome Ms. Harper and welcome to all of you who have come here today to support Ms. Harper. If numbers of supporters is any indication of capability, you certainly have a strong resume.

The position you have been nominated to fill is one that can make or break any organization -- the person who must ensure accountability.

An agency with the mission that EPA has of protecting our environment faces accountability challenges daily. While balancing the requirements of the law, abiding by consent decrees, and figuring out how to make your computers click into the 21St century at the stroke of midnight in 2000, you will be the one who has to make sure the agency can account for all of this. This is a very demanding position, but looking at your experience and qualifications, it appears that you have proven yourself to be up for the job.

I look forward to hearing your statement.