Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a hearing titled “Hearing on the Nominations of Aurelia Skipwith to be Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Katherine Lemos to be Member and Chairperson of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.”

The hearing featured testimony from Aurelia Skipwith, nominee to be director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Katherine Lemos, nominee to be member and chairperson of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today, we will consider the nominations of Aurelia Skipwith to be director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Katherine Lemos to be a member and the chairperson of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

“Ms. Skipwith has served as the Department of the Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for the past two years.

“In this role, she helped to oversee both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

“In her new role as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ms. Skipwith will work closely with assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Rob Wallace, who this committee and the full Senate recently confirmed by voice vote.

“Ms. Skipwith will be in charge of managing fish and wildlife for the American public.

“That includes combatting invasive species, recovering endangered species, protecting migratory birds, restoring fisheries, and conserving and enhancing wildlife habitat.

“She earned degrees in biology from Howard University, molecular genetics from Purdue University, and a law degree from the University of Kentucky.

“More than 40 groups and individuals have written in support of Ms. Skipwith’s nomination.

“Scott Vance, CEO and executive director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, whose members include the nation’s most prominent unions, has written: ‘We believe it is vitally important that the next director of the Fish and Wildlife Service not only possess strong leadership skills and the ability to form public and private partnerships, but also the education and critical decision making skills required to enact policies based on scientific principles free from political and bureaucratic interference…Ms. Skipwith meets and surpasses these qualifications and we urge you to approve her nomination.’

“Dan Ashe, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Obama and now president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, noted: ‘In a field where diversity is sorely needed, it is encouraging to see a woman and person of color nominated to this important and prominent leadership position.’

“Confirming Ms. Skipwith is important to the work of this committee.

“We have jurisdiction over fish and wildlife policy, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Earlier this year, Congress enacted the ‘WILD ACT,’ Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver Act, to combat invasive species, prevent wildlife poaching and trafficking, to promote wildlife conservation, and to protect endangered species.

“I look forward to working with Ms. Skipwith to implement the WILD Act.

“The committee also has oversight over the Endangered Species Act.

“I have worked with the Western Governors Association, with state fish and wildlife agencies, with conservation organizations, with ranchers, with farmers, and energy producers, to update the act so that it works better for species and for people.

“I look forward to working with Ms. Skipwith on modernizing this important law.

“President Trump has also nominated Katherine Lemos to serve as member and chairperson of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

“Dr. Lemos has substantial experience in the fields of incident investigation, accident reconstruction, safety engineering, and human factors.

“She has demonstrated strong leadership in these areas at the National Transportation Safety Board, at the Federal Aviation Administration, at Northrop Grumman, and at academia.

“Her knowledge and background make her a strong candidate to lead the Chemical Safety Board in its mission to investigate industrial chemical accidents.

“The former executive director and current deputy executive director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Accident Investigation and Prevention Office has written in support of Dr. Lemos’ nomination: ‘As a consummate safety professional with the ability to adapt and apply her knowledge across domains, her tenacity, and her leadership skills in engaging and drawing every resource, Katherine is the ideal candidate for this role.’

“Getting her confirmed is a priority. 

“In December of this year, the Chemical Safety Board will be down to one member.

“I have called on the administration to fill both current and future vacancies at the agency, and I do so again today.

“We cannot allow the agency to lose its quorum.

“I look forward to hearing both of our nominees’ testimony.”