I’m pleased we are holding this nominations hearing today. This Committee has a long-standing, bipartisan tradition of considering nominations in a timely fashion. Nominees have historically been given an up or down vote by the Committee the week following their hearing. I hope the Chairman continues this tradition and schedules a business meeting to consider these nominees next week.
The first nominee before us is Lyle Laverty, who is being considered for the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks at the Department of the Interior. Mr. Laverty has a long and distinguished record in resource management which has prepared him well for this position. This experience includes 35 years as a career employee of the US Forest Service and most recently serving as Director of Colorado State Parks for 6 years.
The second nominee before today is Kristine Svinicki, and I have no doubts that she be an excellent commissioner at the NRC. She has proven herself to be knowledgeable on technical matters and also possesses a deep understanding of policy issues. And if that’s not enough, Senators Craig and Warner say she is top notch so I’m happy to give her my support.
Ms. Svinicki, you and I discussed my belief that our nation needs new nuclear plants to help meet our growing demand for energy. Revitalizing this industry is a complicated effort and the NRC’s role in ensuring public health and safety, and protecting the environment, is an integral part. “Safety First” isn’t just a cliché, it must be the top priority. However, the NRC must also carry out its responsibilities in a predictable and efficient manner. Balancing these objectives will be quite challenging for the Commission considering the growing number of applications for new plants it will receive over the next few years and the long-awaited receipt of a repository application next year. It is my expectation that, as a Commissioner, you will endeavor to achieve an appropriate balance.
Recently, there have been lapses in the NRC’s efforts to openly communicate. Open communication is fundamental to maintaining the public’s trust and the trust of this Committee. I encourage you to learn from these mistakes. My door is always open and I hope you visit often.
The nominees testifying before us are qualified individuals and I hope they receive fair consideration based on their qualifications–rather than unrelated politics over which they have no control.