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 committee hearing on the nomination of R.D. James to serve as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

For more information on Mr. James’ testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today we will consider the nomination of R.D. James to serve as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

“The assistant secretary establishes policy direction and provides supervision over the Department of the Army functions relating to all aspects of the Civil Works Program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“This committee shares jurisdiction over Mr. James’ nomination with the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has already held a hearing and reported the nominee favorably by voice vote.

“The assistant secretary plays a central role in ensuring the navigability of America’s ports and inland waterways that transport goods on which we all rely.

“The assistant secretary is tasked with overseeing the Army Corps’ flood and storm risk management, including in response to emergencies like Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

“The assistant secretary also is charged with protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems, while allowing reasonable infrastructure development.

“America’s water infrastructure faces numerous challenges, including those impacting rural states like Wyoming.

“Mr. James is well-qualified to tackle those challenges.

“He has served as a Civil Engineer Member of the Mississippi River Commission since 1981, that’s 36 years.

“He was appointed to that position by both Republican and Democrat administrations.

“Throughout his tenure, Mr. James has helped lead the commission’s efforts to improve the condition of the Mississippi River, foster navigation, promote commerce, and prevent destructive flooding.

“He gained extensive experience collaborating with five presidential administrations, state and local officials, and the public at large.

“Prior to joining the Mississippi River Commission, Mr. James worked at the Kentucky Department of Water Resources as a water resources design engineer for state water resources projects.

“Mr. James is also an accomplished farmer and businessman.

“I look forward to working with Mr. James, once he is confirmed, on projects and issues important to Wyoming.

“Including, challenges associated with providing long-term water supply and storage to rural communities; and preventing flooding and modernizing levees.

“For example, it is past time to find a permanent solution to preventing ice jams such as those that caused the Big Horn River to flood the city of Worland.

“I also look forward to working with Mr. James on major policy issues, such as the Trump administration’s proposed withdrawal of the Waters of the United States rule; and legislation to address our nation’s most critical infrastructure needs, which is a top priority of this committee.

“Confirming Mr. James to be assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works will be an important step in empowering the Army Corps of Engineers to more effectively and efficiently address our nation’s infrastructure needs.”