Statement of James Inhofe
Chairman, Environment & Public Works Committee
April 1, 2003
Good Morning. The purpose of today's hearing is to consider four nominations: Mr. Richard Moore, nominated to be Inspector General of the Tennessee Valley Authority; Mr. John Paul Woodley, the President’s nominee to be the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and two nominees appointed to be Members of the Mississippi River Commission; Mr. R.D. James, who has been renominated to serve his third term on the Commission; and Rear Admiral Richard Prahl of NOAA.
TVA was set up by the U.S. Congress in 1933, primarily to provide flood control, navigation, and electric power in the Tennessee Valley region and is now the nation’s largest public power producer as well as the steward of the nation’s fifth largest river system.
The TVA Office of the Inspector General has a legislated mandate to conduct, coordinate, and supervise audits and investigations; detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse; and promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency. Mr. Moore appears to be very well qualified to carry out these duties. Mr. Moore has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Alabama since 1985. He serves as the coordinator of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force for the District, directing the coordinated efforts of approximately 25 federal agencies. Prior to joining the U.S. attorney’s office, Mr. Moore was an associate in the firm of Gibbs & Craze in Cleveland, Ohio. He received his BS from Spring Hill College and JD from Cumberland Law.
Since the flood of 1928, the primary function of the seven-member Mississippi River Commission has been to implement, construct, and operate the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project. The project involves the development and execution of a flood protection program comprised of river dredging, levee construction, and water distribution along the Mississippi River. A self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins in Missouri, Mr. James has been serving on the Mississippi River Commission since 1981 and this will be his third term as a Member if he is confirmed. He is currently the General Manager of A.C. Riley Cotton, Co. in New Madrid, Missouri - a position he has held since 1971. Mr. James attended Murray State University and earned his BS from the University of Kentucky.
Rear Admiral Richard Prahl, nominated to serve on the Mississippi River Commission, was to appear at this hearing when it was originally scheduled for week. As you all know we had to cancel that hearing at the very last minute, and unfortunately, a previous conflict has the Admiral out of the country this week. I would ask unanimous consent that his statement be included in the record today, and I apologize to him and all of our witnesses for rescheduling at the last minute. Admiral Prahl has served as a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Corps for 33 years. Most recently, he has served as Director, Marine Operations Center, NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. He is responsible for managing NOAA’s fleet of 17 research and survey vessels that support NOAA’s mission requirements for nautical charting, fisheries research and stock assessment, and oceanographic research. Admiral Prahl received a BA from Harvard, an MS from University of Colorado and an MS from The Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Woodley has been serving as the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) since October 2, 2001. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Mr. Woodley served as Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources. He was also Deputy Attorney General of Virginia for Government Operations beginning in 1994. Mr. Woodley received both his BA and JD from Washington & Lee. He served active duty with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1979-1985 and now holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers has provided a valuable service to the nation for over 200 years. It has supported our troops in every armed conflict in our nation’s history, including the current operation in Iraq.
The Corps has also been instrumental in the creation of the most dynamic inland waterway system in the world. Oklahoma has one of the nation’s most important inland ports, providing hundreds of millions of dollars of economic benefits to the state. We in Oklahoma were reminded last year how much economic activity the waterway in the state generates. Commerce on the Arkansas River was shut down for two weeks following the collapse of the I-40 bridge. In just that short time, the Port of Catoosa, outside of Tulsa, lost over $4.2 million dollars. That means that $4.2 million that would have been pumped into the Oklahoma economy, creating jobs and providing economic opportunity for thousands. Clearly, my state cannot afford to lose the value of the waterway.
The Corps has not only been at the forefront of commercial navigation improvements, but flood control initiatives, hydroelectric projects and environmental restoration projects, as well. With an estimated 4,500 dams, Oklahoma has over 1 million surface acres of lakes and reservoirs. Although originally built for flood control, today they also provide drinking water, recreation and in some cases electricity. Lakes managed by the Corps attract 25 million visitors a year. There are more than 225,000 boats registered in Oklahoma, and on a holiday weekend it may seem every one of them is on the water.
In recent years there has been intense debate over the mission of the Corps and future of our nation’s water resources. We need to decide what our national priorities are . . . what is the balance between navigation and economic development and environmental restoration? I appreciate the need to achieve balance between these two equally important goals. Several of the nominees hear today will play critical roles in finding and maintaining that balance. While Mr. Woodley must face these questions on a national basis, nominees for the Mississippi River Commission only have to face these issues in the 31 states and 2,350 square miles that make up the Mississippi River Basin. I look forward to their testimony. I want to thank you for coming today and for being willing to serve this nation.