Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a nominations hearing entitled, “Hearing on the Nominations of Christopher Frey to be Assistant Administrator for Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency and Jennifer Clyburn Reed to be Federal Co-Chair of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission.”
Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you again, Chairman Carper, and I want to thank our two witnesses today for being willing to serve. It’s an admirable trait and we certainly appreciate those efforts.
“As he [Chairman Carper] has mentioned, Dr. Jennifer Clyburn Reed will be the first to lead the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission, which is going to be an interesting exercise to watch for me since we have the Appalachian Regional Commission in our states and we’ve seen how that’s developed over the years. And then of course, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development, Dr. Chris Frey.
“Each of you have devoted the majority of your careers to education, and for that you deserve recognition.
“Dr. Clyburn Reed, I commend your service in education at all levels and for what you’ve done for your state of South Carolina. I look forward to hearing about your vision for the commission and how you would work to achieve that vision if confirmed as its first federal co-chair.
“Dr. Frey, I know you have served as a college professor for 27 years, including time at the University of Pittsburgh and North Carolina State University.
“As we discussed during our meeting last week, this role is one of a scientist, not a policymaker or politician.
“The research conducted in the office is used to inform critical policy decisions made by the agency’s regulatory offices.
“Establishing public trust requires that the scientific studies are developed in an open and transparent fashion—you and I talked about this—not hidden from robust public scrutiny.
“I have some concerns with your prior experience, particularly your role in establishing a shadow advisory board to evaluate air quality standards.
“Transparency is not only critical in the scientific process, but also in policy proposals and the accountability that accompanies these decisions this administration is making.
“I am very disturbed about this administration’s lack of transparency, particularly on climate and environmental issues.
“I have asked repeatedly EPA and the White House several times now how the new U.S. nationally determined contribution, or NDC, under the Paris Agreement was calculated.
“I am still waiting to hear how the NDC pledge to reduce emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 could actually be possible, and what regulations and policies the administration is counting on to get there.
“Administrator Regan committed to me back in April to provide EPA information used to develop the NDC.
“He has not fulfilled that promise.
“At the end of October, and after repeated attempts to get information, I still have no substantive response.
“I get the sense they have been slow-rolling this information hoping that the reckless tax and spending spree congressional Democrats are currently squabbling over, including its economically ruinous and fiscally irresponsible climate programs, would have been enacted by now, overshadowing the crushing regulations the administration still has planned.
“That has not happened.
“Now the administration is trying to have something to present to the climate conference in Glasgow to show the world it will meet its overly ambitious targets.
“They appear focused on that audience, rather than the American public, workers, their families, and the people’s elected officials in Congress.
“Proving this point in remarks earlier this year, John Kerry, the White House international climate czar, called for the U.S. intelligence community to verify the authenticity of Paris pledges by China, Russia, and other countries stating, ‘I think the president would want to know if something is just baloney, or if a country is misleading.’
“This administration may be eyes wide open to the pledges of other countries, but they have closed the door on any accountability to Congress or the American people on what the costs and sacrifices and what the benefits will be.
“At the same time, the administration, through an interagency working group, is pursuing options to develop and apply a new cost for emitting greenhouse gases.
“President Biden wants to use this figure, known as the ‘social cost of carbon,’ in all areas of federal decision making.
“Following several requests from me and other members in Congress, the leaders of this interagency working group admitted they will not hold a single public meeting on this issue.
“Despite the potentially wide-ranging effects of their proposals, administration leaders are yet again hiding the ball from the American people.
“Administration officials make vague, ominous remarks about using untested regulatory pathways to cut emissions.
“Yet, President Biden still has not put forth a nominee to lead one of EPA’s most significant offices, the Office of Air and Radiation.
“This is the very office that is reportedly developing the costly and far-reaching environmental regulations that the president will tout when he heads to Glasgow next week.
“In the midst of a major supply chain and transportation crisis, the president has also not put forth a nominee to lead the Federal Highway Administration.
“The agency responsible to oversee the safe use of our nation’s nuclear energy power plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is currently working with just three commissioners and has two vacancies.
“Instead of ensuring transparency and accountability to the American people and Congress, the president has chosen to rely on his climate czars sitting in their protected and hidden perches in the White House.
“The senators on both sides of this dais are here to fulfill this institution’s Constitutional role of advice and consent.
“It is time for President Biden to stop delaying and nominate individuals for these critical posts, and stop shielding this administration’s decisions.
“This morning, we have just two nominees testifying. It should be more.
“Thank you again, Chairman Carper, for holding today’s hearing.
“Again, I thank our two nominees for being with us today.
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