406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room

Barbara Boxer


Statement of Chairman Boxer

Hearing on Nominations

April 8, 2014 

(Remarks as prepared for delivery)                                                                                             

Today, the Committee on Environment and Public Works will consider three nominations.  The confirmation of qualified individuals to lead federal agencies is an important responsibility of the Senate.  It is critical that we move forward with these nominations so that our federal agencies can fulfill their mission to serve the American people.

The first nominee we will hear from today is Janet McCabe, who is being considered for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR).  Currently she is OAR’s Acting Assistant Administrator, and she previously served as that Office’s Principal Deputy to the Assistant Administrator.  Prior to joining EPA, Ms. McCabe was Executive Director of Improving Kids’ Environment, Inc., a children’s environmental health advocacy organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and she was an adjunct faculty member at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health.  Ms. McCabe has a wealth of public service experience aimed at protecting air quality and the environment.

If confirmed, she will lead EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation which develops national programs, policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure.  OAR is responsible for administering the Clean Air Act, the Atomic Energy Act, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Land Withdrawal Act, and other applicable environmental laws.

Ms. McCabe’s extensive experience will serve her well in this position, and I know she will build on the important work that EPA has done to protect public health by keeping the nation’s air safe to breathe.  In 2010 alone, the clean air standards and programs under the Clean Air Act:

o Prevented 13 million lost work days;
o Prevented more than 160,000 deaths from air pollution;
o Prevented 3.2 million lost school days;
o Prevented 1.7 million asthma attacks.

Like her predecessors at EPA, Ms. McCabe will rely on science and peer reviewed studies to determine how best to protect American families under our landmark environmental laws. 

The next nominee we will hear from today, Ann Dunkin, hails from my home state of California.  She has been nominated to be the Assistant Administrator for Environmental Information (OEI) at EPA.  She brings over two decades of technology management experience in both the private and public sectors, including nearly 20 years at Hewlett Packard.  She is currently the Chief Technology Officer for the Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto, California, where she is responsible for managing all aspects of the District’s technology strategy, infrastructure and operations.  Her experience spans the disciplines of manufacturing engineering, software quality, research and development, and operations and information.

If confirmed, Ms. Dunkin will be responsible for managing EPA’s information technology investments and providing technology services in OEI, which collects, manages, provides, and safeguards environmental information.

The Committee is also considering the nomination of Manny Ehrlich to be a member of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).  Mr. Ehrlich has over fifty years of chemical industry safety and emergency response experience, including establishing and training teams to assist in the management of emergency response incidents. 

As a member of the CSB, Mr. Ehrlich will be charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents to protect workers, the public, and the environment.  Mr. Ehrlich is very well qualified for this position, because he has handled more than 7,000 chemical safety and emergency response incidents during his long career.

The CSB plays a critical role in protecting our communities from chemical hazards, and it is part of a Working Group that President Obama established after the deadly chemical disaster in West, Texas, last year.  I know that Mr. Ehrlich’s broad experience in the public and private sectors will be useful as the CSB and others in the Working Group conduct a comprehensive review of federal chemical safety and security programs and develop recommendations for improving these programs.

This hearing is an important step forward in the Senate’s confirmation process, and I look forward to hearing from the nominees today.