Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee
“Hearing on the Nomination of Samuel Hamilton to be Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.”
July 22, 2009
Good Morning. We are here today to consider the nomination of Samuel Hamilton for Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for overseeing many programs within this Committee’s jurisdiction-- most notably the Endangered Species Act.
To date, the Obama Administration’s implementation of ESA has been neither transparent nor science-based. However, you have a reputation for being fair-minded. And, you have told me you believe that public-private partnerships are one of the best ways to effectively protect species and habitat. I ask for your assurance that under your leadership, we can expect improvements in transparency as well as in the science the Service uses to make decisions. I also hope that before taking any action, you will consider the economic impacts on jobs and local communities.
Despite these ESA controversies, the Fish and Wildlife Service does a great deal of good. One of the programs I am particularly interested in is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. This program conserves habitat by leveraging federal funds through voluntary private landowner participation. As you know, I have concerns about how these designated funds have been used, and I look forward to working with you on this issue.
Most importantly, I welcome you before the Committee. And, I look forward to hearing your perspectives on the issues that will be raised today.