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Inhofe Praises Senate Votes to Approve Five Bills, Four Nominees
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R–Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, praised the passage of the following pieces of legislation today after the Senate concluded business ahead of August recess:
"I applaud my colleagues for working expeditiously to pass five bills and approve four nominees out of Senate. It is important to recognize our hardworking Americans and veterans, which brings light to the significance of the Senate passage of naming bills S. 1707, H.R. 2131, and H.R. 2559," Inhofe said. "I'm honored to recognize PFC Milton A. Lee in naming the 'PFC Milton A. Lee Medal of Honor Memorial Highway' in Texas. Lee served our country in Vietnam and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after he died while heroically saving numerous American lives. Julius Waties Waring, was nominated to the U.S. District Court in 1941 by President Franklin Roosevelt, and dissented from the ruling in Briggs v. Eliott, arguing that ‘separate but equal’ was unconstitutional. Judge Waring’s opinion would form the basis of the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education striking down racial segregation in public schools in America, and it is a privilege to recognize him by naming the federal building and courthouse the ‘J. Waties Waring Judicial Center’ in Charleston, South Carolina. It also brings me great joy to recognize the federal building in Helena, Arkansas as the ‘Jacob Trieber Federal Building, United States Post Office, and United States Court House.’ Jacob Trieber was the first Jewish man to serve as a federal judge in the United States, and presided over more than 1,000 cases annually. I would also like to thank my colleagues for passing meaningful legislation to hold EPA accountable and preserve our drinking water. Four nominees also passed in a Senate vote, and I look forward to working with these nominees as our committee works to improve transparency and accountability in the current administration."
The bills passed were:
H.R.212, the Drinking Water Protection Act
This bipartisan bill directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address harmful algal blooms by developing and reporting to Congress a strategic plan to assess and manage the risks to drinking water within 90 days. The plan must include steps to evaluate the risks from contaminated drinking water, recommend feasible treatment options, and provide technical assistance to states and affected entities, among other items. Sen. Portman introduced its companion bill and has led numerous efforts to protect the ecological and economic integrity of the Great Lakes. Portman worked diligently on this issue and was instrumental in shepherding this legislation through the Senate. Rep. Bob Latta introduced this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives where it passed by a vote of 375 to 37.
S. 1523, A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the National Estuary Program, and for other purposes.
This bill amends the Clean Water Act (CWA) to reauthorize the National Estuary Program, and for other purposes. This bill, introduced by Sens. Whitehouse and Vitter, amends Section 320 of the Clean Water Act to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (NEP) at $26 million per year through FY2020. The NEP was last authorized at $35 million per year through FY2010. The bill further reforms the program by placing caps on administrative expenses for the first time. The NEP is a grant program, established under the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments, intended to promote the development and implementation of long-term comprehensive management plans for the protection of “nationally significant” estuaries in the United States. The EPA determines whether an estuary is “nationally significant.” Once accepted an estuary then becomes eligible for technical assistance and grant funding. Currently, there are 28 estuaries that have been incorporated into the NEP. H.R. 944, which is effectively identical to S. 1523, passed the House by voice vote on June 1, 2015.
S. 1707, A bill to designate the Federal building located at 617 Walnut Street in Helena, Arkansas, as the "Jacob Trieber Federal Building, United States Post Office, and United States Court House"
Jacob Trieber was the first Jewish man to serve as a federal judge in the United States. He served from 1900 to 1927 as a judge for the U.S. Circuit Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas. He presided over more than 1,000 cases annually, kept his docket current, and had time to serve many assignments outside his own district. He issued nationally important rulings on controversies that included antitrust cases, railroad litigation, prohibition cases, and mail fraud; some of his rulings, such as those regarding civil rights and wildlife conservation, have an important impact still today. He was also an active member of his community, including serving time on the Helena City Council and as the Phillips County Treasurer.
HR. 2131, A bill to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 83 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, as the "J. Waties Waring Judicial Center"
Julius Waties Waring, was born July 27, 1880 in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from the College of Charleston in 1900. He became an attorney and, after practicing in Charleston for several decades, was nominated by President Franklin Roosevelt to the U.S. District Court in 1941. In 1952, in his most famous opinion, Judge Waring dissented from the ruling in Briggs v. Elliott, arguing that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional. While a dissenting opinion at the time, on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, his opinion would form the basis of the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down racial segregation in all public schools in America. He retired from the bench in 1952, left his hometown and moved to New York. The courthouse is currently named after Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings. Sen. Hollings requested this name change to honor Judge Waring.
HR 2559, A bill to designate the "PFC Milton A. Lee Medal of Honor Memorial Highway" in the State of Texas
PFC Milton L. Lee joined the Army in in San Antonio, Texas in 1967. He served in Vietnam as a member of the 101st Army Airborne Division. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his brave service where he risked his life above the call of duty and was killed in combat while heroically saving numerous American lives and single-handedly destroying an enemy position. He died at the age of 19. The Texas Department of Transportation has reviewed this legislation and has no objections to the proposal. This bill unanimously passed the House of Representatives 389-0.
Nominees passed out of the Senate:
Vanessa Sutherland, nominee to be chairman and member of the Chemical Safety Board, was considered in a nomination hearing before the Senate EPW Committee on April 22. Vanessa Sutherland is to replace former chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso, who was called to resign from his post by the president following multiple investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General, congressional investigations, and followed by a March 12 letter from Inhofe and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) requesting his resignation. Sutherland was voted out of the Senate EPW Committee on July 29, 2015.
Kristen Kulinowski, nominee to be a member of the Chemical Safety Board, and Greg Nadeau, nominee to be administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, were considered in a nomination hearing before the Senate EPW Committee on July 15. Kulinowski and Nadeau were voted out of the Senate EPW Committee on July 29, 2015.
Michael Satz, nominee to be a member of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), was voted out of the Senate EPW Committee on July 29, 2015.