Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this nominations hearing.
This morning, I am going to put on two hats that I wear proudly in the Senate. The first is as a member of this Committee and the second is as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.
As I am sure my colleagues know, I am very interested in the management of our federal government and its workforce. Finding the right people with the right skills to run our nation’s agencies, departments, commissions, and foundations is very important.
The nominees before us today have extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. I thank you all for your willingness to serve, and even more importantly, I thank your families for their sacrifices. I welcome you and look forward to hearing from you.
Our first nominee this morning is Steve Johnson to be EPA Administrator. In my opinion, this is one of the most difficult positions in the federal government – especially in a Republican Administration. No matter what you do – it is either too far for industry or not enough for the environmental groups.
However, I wonder if President Bush has found a way around this challenge by nominating you to be our nation’s next EPA Administrator. You have two very unique qualities. First – and this is unheard of in this politically divisive world we operate in – you will be the first career official to hold the position as you have worked at EPA for 24 years. Your extensive knowledge of the inner workings and personnel at the Agency may be exactly what is needed to manage it.
Second, you will be the first professional scientist to be Administrator. This is an area that I have long been concerned about at EPA. In fact, I have introduced legislation over the last two Congresses with Senator Carper to strengthen science at the Agency. I look forward to working with you because EPA must have a fundamental understanding of the science behind the real and potential threats to the environment to be effective.
I also look forward to working with you on a variety of other issues, including:
· More funding and assistance to local communities to deal with water infrastructure needs;
· Strong leadership in the President’s comprehensive effort to restore the Great Lakes; and
· Harmonizing our environment, economic, and energy needs through clean air regulations.
Again, I thank all of the witnesses for being here today and for their desire to serve this country.