Statement of James Inhofe
Chairman, Environment & Public Works Committee Nominations Hearing
March 31, 2004
Good Morning. The purpose of today's hearing is to consider the President’s nominees for four positions at EPA and one for the Chemical Safety Board and Hazard Investigation Board. The Committee is quite familiar with some of the nominees here, including one who is a former EPW staffer (Ann Klee). I want to extend a welcome to both you and your families here today.
Steve Johnson has been nominated to be the Deputy Administrator for EPA - He has been the Act Deputy for several months now. Mr. Johnson is a long-time EPA employee, both in a career role and as a political appointee. Three years ago, this committee reported Mr. Johnson’s nomination to be the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. He was confirmed without any opposition. He has strong management experience and a scientific background - both of which should serve him well as Administrator Leavitt’s Deputy.
Ann Klee has been nominated by the President to be the General Counsel for EPA. Ann is a very familiar face to this Committee having been Chief Counsel to the full Committee for both Chairmen Chafee and Smith and prior to that serving as Senator Kempthorne’s Environment Counsel for EPW. She was a very well respected and well liked member of the EPW family. We lost her three years ago when she left to become Counselor and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Interior. She has a strong legal background both in the public and private sectors. I am pleased to welcome her back to the Committee today.
Charles Johnson has been nominated to be the Agency’s new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Johnson comes to us from Utah where he has had a distinguished public and private career. He has served as the Chairman of the Utah Board of Regents, and as a member of both the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and the Utah Sports Commission. He was Governor Leavitt’s Chief of Staff in the mid-90's and most recently has been the President of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Mr. Johnson spent the first 30 years of his professional life in the accounting industry, a very good background to have for a CFO.
Ben Grumbles has been nominated to be the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. He is currently the Acting Assistant Administrator of that Office. He has been the Deputy of that office and was the acting head of the Congressional office at EPA last fall. Ben has had the pleasure of accompanying me on a tour a of Tar Creek - when he joined Administrator Leavitt and myself in northeast Oklahoma last Fall. Prior to EPA, Mr. Grumbles was counsel on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Gary Lee Visscher is before us as the President’s nominee to be a Member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. Mr. Visscher is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Labor at OSHA. Mr. Visscher was a long-time staffer on the House side working for Congressman Paul Henry and then as a Policy Counsel on the Committee on Education and Workforce.
Again, I welcome you here today and thank you for your willingness to serve.