Good Morning. The purpose of today’s hearing is to consider the President’s nominees for three vital positions within the Administration, including the head of the Federal Highway Administration and two Assistant Administrator positions at EPA. It is my hope that we can move all of these nominees quickly. I want to extend a welcome to all of you and the members of your families who are here today. I also want to thank all of you for your willingness to serve our nation. Anyone who has been through this before understands all too well that it is no small task of a nominee or a nominee’s family to go through the confirmation process that you are facing.
On the first panel, we have retired General Richard Capka, who has been nominated to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Adminstration. Rick Capka is a very good choice to head the FHWA. He is a career engineer, beginning at the Army Corps of Engineers after graduating from West Point. After 29 years of military service for our country, he retired as a Brigadier General. He then went over to the Massachusetts Toll Authority before being tapped to serve this country again as the Deputy Administrator of FHWA under Mary Peters–who did an excellent job as Administrator. Mary stepped down just prior to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. General Capka and FHWA have received wide acclaim for their response to these disasters.
On our second panel we will have James Gulliford and William Wehrum - both of whom have been nominated to fill critical Assistant Administrator positions at EPA.
Mr. Gulliford has been nominated to head the EPA Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. Since 2001, Mr. Gulliford has been based in Kansas City as EPA’s Regional Administrator for Region 7. As Regional Administrator, Mr. Gulliford is the chief for all technical and administrative operations of the EPA in Region 7 - which is comprised of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Region 7 has a staff of over 550 and an annual budget of approximately $500 million. Prior to joining EPA, Mr. Gulliford was the Director for Iowa’s Department of Soil Conservation.
Mr. Wehrum has been nominated to head the EPA Office of Air and Radiation. Mr. Wehrum is the current Acting Assistant Administrator to this office. Prior to him assuming the Acting role, he served the EPA as both Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator and Counsel to the Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. This Committee has seen much of Mr. Wehrum lately as a witness representing EPA three times in the past six months. He has answered numerous questions before the Committee and over 70 follow-up questions from the Committee’s minority members alone. I believe that of all the nominees that we have had during this Administration, Mr. Wehrum is the most familiar to the Committee.
Once again, thank you all for being here today.