Statement of Senator Baucus

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your efforts and those of Senator Inhofe. Finally, we are going to get Mr. Perciasepe up and running at full steam, and I appreciate that and I know that he does. It's good for the country, more importantly.

I welcome you, Bob, to a new challenge. I know you'll do very well.

I think it's important, Mr. Chairman, that we move this nomination very quickly in the remaining days of this Congress, and also that we move the other EPA nominees that this committee has favorably reported. Many of the nominees are currently in the role of Acting Assistant Administrators, and I believe they need to have the full advice and consent of the Senate in order to do their work.

Bob Perciasepe is no stranger to this committee. I've had the pleasure of working with Bob over the last five years in his role as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water at EPA. I will never forget the moment I first saw Bob before this committee, when he was working in another capacity -- I think it was on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and so forth -- and I must say, Mr. Chairman, that I am hard-pressed to name anybody else who has ever appeared before this committee who has been as impressive and knows his stuff as much as Bob. I think he's one of the best public servants this country has been honored to have working for it.

He has worked very effectively to develop some very important reforms in the Safe Drinking Water Act in the last Congress, and I think that bill is one of this committee's better accomplishments. Bob is a key part of our success. Furthermore, he has been instrumental in crafting the Administration's Clean Water Action Plan.

As I said parenthetically, before coming to EPA, Bob served as Secretary of Environment for the State of Maryland. He was responsible for directing all aspects of pollution control and environmental protection, including water and air pollution control. So he certainly has the experience. As I said earlier, in addition to his experience, he has the competence and the creativity and the initiative, and that extra-special quality of effectiveness. He just knows how to get things done.

On top of that, he has earned the respect not only of myself, not only for his integrity, but again, his commitment to public service. He was as determined as any of us to protect public health while making the process less burdensome for State and local governments and water suppliers. As a former State official, he certainly knows how important it is to get the job done without making it unnecessarily burdensome on the States.

Really, this is a high moment for me to see Bob finally get the job that he deserves.