Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing and giving us an opportunity to learn more about the qualifications of these nominees. The American people depend on our government to be vigilant in safeguarding our environment and health. In some cases lately, it has seemed that vigilance was lacking.
When the Justice Department suddenly appeared to cave in to the tobacco industry … Or when a former big oil executive revised reports on global warming … it raised doubts in the minds of the American people. Our government must look out for the public interest – not special interests. That is certainly true in the case of the important positions we are considering today.
We are being asked to confirm Mr. Peacock as a Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. His job would be to protect our environment – not the industry he used to represent. His nomination comes at a time when EPA scientists have expressed concerns about a new agency plan for risk assessments that will give more influence to special interests. When I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Peacock a few weeks ago, I asked him to look into that situation. I’m still waiting to hear back from him.
We are also being asked to confirm Mr. Nakayama as a top-ranking compliance official. His job would be to make sure that industry is complying with guidelines and regulations that are put in place to protect the American people. Before we can confirm him, he needs to assure us that his first allegiance would be to the public interest – not special interests.
I look forward to the opportunity to ask these nominees some questions about how they would approach the jobs for which they have been recommended. Once again Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.