Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter today to President Obama requesting that he move quickly on the re-nomination process for Commissioner Kristine Svinicki so that she can continue her important work at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Today, White House spokesman Clark Stevens would not reveal if President Obama intends to re-nominate Commissioner Svinicki: "The administration agrees that we need a strong NRC, and that will continue to be a priority. Whenever a nomination is made, it should be considered expeditiously to make sure there is no break in June." Commissioner Svinicki's term will expire at the end of June if she is not re-nominated and re-confirmed before then.
"Today, I wrote to President Obama to request that he move quickly to re-nominate Commissioner Svinicki so that we can begin the process that will allow her to continue her important work at the NRC," Senator Inhofe said. "As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the committee of jurisdiction over the NRC, I have a responsibility to do everything I can to ensure that the Commission is made up of the most distinguished members possible, and Commissioner Svinicki has proven herself to be one of the best.
"Commissioner Svinicki is an experienced, responsible, and fair regulator. She served well over 20 years on Capitol Hill as an engineer and civil servant; her voting record at the NRC demonstrates that she is a sensible and objective policymaker with a strong dedication to safety, and her collaboration with her colleagues at the Commission displays an admirable capacity to produce bipartisan results. Her record of achievement has earned her bipartisan support to continue in this post: as Senator Carper (D-ME) said in a March EPW hearing, 'My hope is that she will be reconfirmed and I expect to support her.'
"With such credentials, she is the obvious choice; yet even though President Obama has had her paperwork for over a year, and it has been thoroughly reviewed, the White House declined to say whether they will re-nominate her today. This is greatly concerning - such a lack of urgency suggests that the President does not intend to move Commissioner Svinicki's nomination in the time frame necessary to ensure her term can continue uninterrupted. Given the importance of having a competent commission, this is a serious mistake.
"I commend Senate Minority Leader McConnell for calling for Commissioner Svinicki's re-nomination today and agree with him that if the White House continues to stall, 'we will be forced to conclude that the reason is related to her honorable actions as a whistleblower.'"