Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank all of the nominees here this morning for their commitment to public service.
Two of our nominees will face great challenges at the EPA.
Mr. Martella, nominated for the position of General Counsel, you will be the primary legal advisor to the Administrator. You will be responsible for evaluating every issue the agency must tackle. I hope your evaluation will always make the health and safety of the public and the environment your top priority.
You play a critical role in making sure that the EPA’s legal decisions are based on the laws that Congress has enacted. In recent years, many of the EPA’s legal decisions have been highly questionable and have not survived court review. I hope you will address that issue before this committee.
And Mr. Beehler, you have some big shoes to fill. Your predecessor, Nicki Tinsley, performed a great service to the EPA and the citizens of this country. She epitomized what was envisioned when the Office of the Inspector General was created in 1978, by providing independent and impartial analysis.
The Inspector General provides a great service to the public. You will be the eyes and ears for the public within the agency and that responsibility is not to be taken lightly. You have been closely involved in some controversial proposals at the Department of Defense. I look forward to examining your record in that regard.
Mr. Graves, if confirmed, you will join several other new TVA Board Members confirmed earlier this year. In my view, your main responsibility is to ensure that the TVA continues to provide its core product—electric power—competitively, efficiently and reliably.
But I also feel that the TVA needs to set a standard for public responsibility in the areas of environmental and fiscal performance. The TVA should be a model for the country in the area of cleaner and carbon-free power generation.
I look forward to hearing from all of you and learning how you will respond to these challenges if confirmed.