Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Jeffords, thank you for holding this hearing today. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from our nominees. Before they get started, I want to make a few brief comments.
I have reviewed the background of our nominees and am biased toward the confirmation of at least two of them. You know, Mr. Chairman, there is one thing I have found – many good things come from the U.S. House of Representatives – and two of our candidates come from the other body.
I had the pleasure of working with Susan Bodine in the House. She was incredibly helpful in progressing the clean up of Lake Pontchartrain and I was always impressed by her substance on issues. Chairman Young will have a significant loss and the EPA a huge gain in your new position. I wish you the best and look forward to working with you in your new role.
Marcus Peacock also worked for the House Transportation Committee and we had the opportunity to work together on budget issues while he served at OMB. He wasn’t always as loose with the checkbook as I had hoped, but he was always fair and upfront in our dealings.
The only thing in common I could find with Grant Nakayama is that we both attended school in Cambridge – so I guess that make us the only two Republicans to come out of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
On a serious note, I have met with some of you regarding an issue we are having in Louisiana with the Corps of Engineers attempting to use a provision designed to prevent “obstructions to navigation” – on dry land.
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 was intended to regulate, and I quote “wharfs, piers, dolphins, booms, weirs, breakwaters, bulkheads, jetties, or the structures”. The Corps recently determined that their Section 10 jurisdiction could extend, “several miles from open navigable water” in Louisiana.
This committee passed an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by a 12-6 vote to clarify the Corps jurisdiction. I am committed to working with a number of Senators on the committee to address their concerns and believe the EPA could play an important role in this resolution.
As you know, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect and improve our water quality. In an attempt to solve our problem here, I believe we should explore the relationship of the Section 10 and Section 404 regulatory programs. I look forward to working with you to resolve this issue.
I thank the witnesses for being here today and look forward to your statements.