Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. I welcome the three very qualified individuals before us this morning who have been nominated for key positions at the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency. I first want to thank all of you for your willingness to serve, and even more importantly, I thank your families for their sacrifices.
Our first nominee this morning is Richard Capka to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. You have extensive experience in dealing with our nation’s – and the world’s – infrastructure. In addition, I know you were very helpful in helping begin the restoration process in the Everglades. With Masters Degrees in Engineering and Business Administration, you served in the Army Corps of Engineers, for the State of Massachusetts, and as Deputy Administrator for FHWA since 2002.
I have become increasingly concerned that we are ignoring our physical infrastructure needs. According to FHWA’s 2002 Conditions and Performance Report, $106.9 billion through 2020 is needed annually to maintain and improve our highways and bridges. To address this need, I introduced the National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2006 (S.2388) with Senators Carper and Clinton. I hope to hear your thoughts on this legislation and how we can address our needs.
Second, we have James Gulliford who has been nominated to be Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. In addition to serving as EPA’s Region 7 Administrator, you bring more than 25 years of experience of administering environmental programs pertaining to agriculture and mining – including for the State of Iowa.
The last nominee is Bill Wehrum to be Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. When EPA Administrator Steve Johnson was before this Committee for his hearing, I told him that he was taking on one of the most difficult positions in the federal government. Bill, this is the most difficult job within EPA. As I told the Administrator, no matter what you do – it is either too far for industry or not enough for the environmental groups.
The fact of the matter is that you understand this very well. You currently serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator and were counsel since 2001. In addition, you bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position as a Registered Professional Chemical Engineer and former environmental attorney. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety, I have had the pleasure to work with you over the past few years and found you to be balanced, conscientious, and hard-working. I look forward to working with you more on how we can better harmonize our environment, energy, and economic regulations.
Again, I thank all you for being here today and for your desire to serve this country.