In a few minutes we will vote to confirm Stephen Johnson as Administrator for the EPA. I will vote in favor of Mr. Johnson, but my support of this nomination should in no way be seen as an endorsement of the Bush Administration’s environmental policies. Nor should my vote be seen as approval of the unfounded and unwise policy that this Administration has adopted with respect to honoring Committee Members' information requests in a timely, honest and helpful manner. For approximately four years, the Bush Administration has adopted varying rationales for denying technical assistance and important materials to us. Now, they are attempting to set a very dangerous precedent. They assert that Members of the minority party cannot obtain information without the approval of the majority party. This situation illustrates the incredible chutzpah of this Administration. I do not know how any of us sitting here in good conscience think we can legislate effectively without all the facts, majority or minority. Also, the Administration has failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. That law requires a detailed statement describing alternatives to Clear Skies. That is essentially what my bill and Senator Carper's bill are. Yet, they will not analyze these alternatives and present them in the same way as their proposal, because Clear Skies is a miserable failure by comparison. Sound cost/benefit analysis shows that both of our bills have higher net benefits. I expect Mr. Johnson to base his future decisions on credible science and to conduct fully transparent decision-making. The mercury rule is not an example that should be followed or repeated. Mr. Johnson is a good man, who given the opportunity, could make a real difference at the agency and on environmental policy for all Americans. However, it is time for the Bush Administration to open its eyes and see that the rest of the world is moving ahead on environmental issues while we stand in place, or move backward. That said, the EPA needs an Administrator, and I believe Stephen Johnson has the qualifications and experience to lead the agency at this time. Now turning to the WRDA bill. Mr. Chairman, I am glad that we are moving ahead with the Water Resources Development Act of 2005. A WRDA bill is long overdue and I hope we can get it enacted this year. With this legislation we maintain our commitment to the protection our rivers, streams and lakes. And, we protect our aquatic ecosystems which are so delicate and yet so vital to critical species. We help our states and local communities manage their water resources and provide flood and storm control damage protection. There are some very important project authorizations for my state, including ecosystem restoration for the Upper Connecticut River and small dam removal and remediation. However, I am disappointed that we were unable to reach agreement on three Corps reform provisions in the legislation, provisions that we did reach agreement on in the last Congress. These 3 provisions were “off limits” this year, meaning you were not willing to negotiate. That is unfortunate because I thought we made some progress last year when we were working together and we all had to compromise. The amendments I have filed would replace the language in the bill before us with the compromise on the issues of planning, independent peer review and mitigation that we reached last year. It is my hope that we can agree to these amendments. If not, I will continue to try to strengthen these very important provisions. Thank you.