Washington, D.C. -- Today Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, responded to a letter from EPW Minority Members ‎making clear her disappointment in their delay of the committee's business meeting on the nominations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The letter highlights the ample time and recent opportunity to thoroughly question NRC nominee and current Commissioner Jeffery Baran as well as the fact that all nominees have had recent Full Committee hearings that included written follow-up questions. ‎

Senator Boxer‎ made clear her intent to move forward with a business meeting to consider these nominees at the earliest possible opportunity.

The full text of Senator Boxer's letter is below:

November 18, 2014

The Honorable David Vitter
Ranking Member
Committee on Environment and Public Works
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Vitter:

I write in response to your letter regarding this afternoon's Environment and Public Works Committee's (EPW) business meeting to consider the nomination of Jeffery M. Baran to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a term ending June 30, 2018.

On September 9, 2014, the EPW Committee held a hearing to consider Mr. Baran's nomination for a term that ends June 30, 2015. The 90 minute hearing was attended by eight Members of the Committee (four Democrats and four Republicans). Following the hearing, Mr. Baran was asked 88 questions for the record, 83 of which were submitted by Republican Members. By contrast, only 77 questions for the record were submitted to Stephen Burns, the other NRC nominee considered at the Committee's September hearing and whose term was for a full 5 years, considerably longer than Mr. Baran's. You have had ample time and recent opportunity to thoroughly question Mr. Baran.

Your letter also points out by way of expressing your concerns about the sufficiency of Mr. Baran's qualifications that he only visited one U.S. nuclear power plant before he was nominated to be an NRC Commissioner. Publicly-available travel records indicate that before Republican Commissioner Kristine Svinicki was nominated, she had visited no U.S. nuclear power plants -- yet no Member of EPW raised any concern about the sufficiency of her qualifications.

I am disappointed in your delay of the consideration of Mr. Baran's nomination for NRC Commissioner -- a position for which he was just recently confirmed. I ask that you reconsider these efforts and work with me to ensure that the NRC continues to have a full complement of Commissioners after the departure of Chairman Macfarlane. We also must move forward with the confirmation of the two Tennessee Valley Authority nominees. I believe these jobs are critical and these people are worthy, and I am going to do everything I can to move them forward in a business meeting at the earliest opportunity.



Barbara Boxer

cc: Senator James Inhofe, Senator John Barrasso, Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Mike Crapo,
Senator Roger Wicker, Senator John Boozman, Senator Deb Fischer