Contact: Matt Dempsey 202-224-9797

April 26, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, commented today on the 10-8 party-line Committee vote in favor of William Wehrum to head the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation. The Committee today favorably reported three nominees to the Senate.

“Unfortunately, the Democrats' record proves their willingness to obstruct qualified nominees in order to appease liberal special interest groups,” Inhofe said. “I hope that will not be the case with Bill Wehrum. His qualifications are unchallenged and he has a proven record of accomplishment on clean air.

“The bottom line is that the air is cleaner because of this Administration’s policies, and in large part thanks to Bill Wehrum. While at EPA, Mr. Wehrum worked to help craft legislation designed to reduce power plant pollution by 70% - the most dramatic reduction in power plant emissions ever proposed. When the legislation was blocked by Democrats over an unrelated issue, he helped craft a collection of Clean Air rules to accomplish as much of the reductions as allowed under the current Clean Air Act. Together, these rules will dramatically reduce pollution from older, dirtier power plants. One of these rules represents the first time ever that mercury emissions have been regulated. In addition, Mr. Wehrum helped craft the diesel rules now going into effect, which will virtually eliminate sulfur emissions from diesel engines, cutting emissions by 97%. These rules will not only make the black soot coming out of buses and trucks a thing of the past; it will do the same thing for construction and other off-road equipment.

“With the Committee voting in favor of the nominations today, I call on Senate Democrats not to engage in obstructionist tactics and urge the Senate to vote in favor of Mr. Wehrum’s nomination.”

The Committee also considered the nominations of Richard Capka to be Administrator at the Federal Highway Administration and James Gulliford to be an Assistant Administrator at the EPA. Both nominations passed by voice vote.