You know, for too long we've tried to overrule Mother Nature, we've tried to manage with levees that ultimately don't hold, we've tried to underwrite the risk of Mother Nature by insurance plans that ultimately can't be sustained. What we need to do in dealing with natural hazards is figure out a way to permanently mitigate development risks in conjunction with inevitable natural hazard. Having represented a city of 50,000 that may have sustained a $1 billion flood damage, I can speak to this really from the depths of my heart.
That is tricky business because when development butts up against -- a prime development opportunity butts up against some high risk area, you've got to have extraordinary skills to negotiate your way through that one. Mike Armstrong has those extraordinary skills. I have watched him lead an interagency task force dealing with this very unique problem of a lake, a closed basin lake, that was described by Senator Conrad. Over the last two and a half years Mike has put himself to that task and done so really in an exemplary fashion. We've all watched Members of Congress, or, for that matter, members of the Executive Branch, mediate and arbitrate and try and coordinate activity.
I've never seen anyone more skillful than Mike Armstrong in dealing with the terrible problem, a lot of interests and doing it with that level of skill. I think that those skills will be so well matched with this hazard and mitigation position that's it's going to be a real credit to the agency and to the entire country.
I look forward to what he will be able to achieve in this position, should he be confirmed by you all, a step I would heartily recommend.