Full Committee Hearing: "Hearing on EPA Nominations"
July 23, 2013
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will consider the nomination of Ken Kopocis to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Jim Jones to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Avi Garbow to be General Counsel of EPA.
The confirmation of qualified individuals to lead federal agencies is one of the Senate's most important responsibilities. Just last week, the Senate voted to confirm Gina McCarthy as Administrator of EPA. As Administrator, she is responsible for ensuring that EPA fulfills its critical mission of protecting public health and the environment.
While Gina heads the Agency, she relies on her Assistant Administrators and General Counsel to help make the day-to-day decisions that keep the Agency on track to achieve its goals. Each of the nominees here today brings essential experience and expertise that will help the Administrator implement programs that reduce pollution in the air that we breathe, remove contamination from the water we drink, and clean up toxic waste threatening our communities.
Ken Kopocis is well known to members of this committee. From 2006-2008, Ken served on the EPW Committee Majority Staff as Deputy Staff Director for Infrastructure. During his time here, Ken worked on a number of water issues, including playing a key role in the efforts to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. In addition to his time on the EPW Committee, Ken has held multiple positions on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Ken's work on water issues in the United States Congress spans over 25 years.
This broad experience with our nation's clean water and drinking water laws makes him uniquely qualified to deal with the many challenges that the EPA Office of Water faces today.
Jim Jones brings more than two decades of experience working for EPA. He is currently the Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Jones was Deputy Assistant Administrator for this Office, and from 2003 to 2007 he served as Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA. Before that, he held several management positions at EPA and was Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator for the toxics office.
His depth of experience on chemical regulation policies will help to move the Agency forward on these critical issues.
Avi Garbow has worked in the legal field for more than 25 years. He was an attorney-advisor at EPA from 1992 to 1997, and then worked for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1997 to 2002, where he served in both the Environmental Crimes Section and the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section. After gaining additional legal experience in the private sector, he came back to EPA in 2009, where he has worked as the Deputy General Counsel for the Agency.
His legal expertise will provide Administrator McCarthy with valuable guidance as she tackles the important decisions that EPA must make in the coming years.
This hearing is an important step in the Senate's open and transparent process of considering and confirming people who will work every day to make our air healthier to breath, clean up our rivers and lakes, and protect our families from dangerous toxins. I believe this Committee and the full Senate should act quickly on these nominees and provide Administrator McCarthy with the qualified people needed to implement our nation's public health and environmental protections.
I look forward to the nominees' testimony.