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 just before the Senate voted to confirm Peter Wright to serve as the assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. The Senate voted 52 to 38 to confirm Wright.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today the Senate is considering the nomination of Peter Wright to serve as the assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Office of Land and Emergency Management.
“If confirmed, Mr. Wright will lead this critical EPA office that provides policy, provides guidance, and provides direction for EPA’s emergency response and waste programs.
“Mr. Wright will play a crucial role in helping the agency respond to disasters and cleanups.
“The Office of Land and Emergency Management oversees the Superfund program, which is a priority for this administration.
“There are currently about 1,300 listed Superfund sites across America.
“On top of those, there are roughly 450,000 Brownfield sites that need to be addressed.
“The EPA needs an assistant administrator in place to prioritize these cleanups.
“Peter Wright is ready for the task.
“He currently serves as a special counsel at the EPA.
“Previously, Mr. Wright worked as managing counsel at the Dow Chemical Company for nearly 20 years.
“His nomination has been endorsed by 18 current and former chairs of the American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.
“Including John Cruden, who was the former assistant attorney general in President Obama’s administration.
“John Milner, the current chair of the Section writing on behalf of the former chairs, said this of Mr. Wright: ‘Peter’s career, his selfless commitment to the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and the members it serves, and his well-recognized personal integrity exemplify the highest standards of the legal profession.’
“He goes on to say: ‘We enthusiastically and without reservation support the consideration of Peter as assistant administrator for Office of Land and Emergency Management, and believe Peter will serve the office with distinction and honor.’
“He is ready to take on this responsibility and he has been ready for well over a year.
“President Trump originally nominated Peter Wright to serve in this important role on March 6, 2018.
“That was 493 days ago.
“The reason for so long of a delay? Obstruction from Senate Democrats.
“For over a year, this important EPA Office has been without leadership because of political games being played by Senate Democrats.
“Now the games have ended. It’s time to get serious.
“Senate Democrats are now saying that we should delay this vote further because of an error Mr. Wright included on his disclosures.
“According to career EPA ethics officials, Mr. Wright made an inadvertent error and immediately corrected it.
“EPA ethics officials found that he did not violate any federal ethics laws or regulations.
“Justina Fugh, who is a career ethics official at EPA concluded in her memo reviewing Mr. Wright’s actions: ‘In my opinion, Mr. Wright adhered to the federal ethics laws and regulations. When he became aware of the inadvertent error, he notified me immediately and corrected that error.’
“The delays must end.
“Superfund sites need to be cleaned up.
“Emergencies must be responded to.
“And this important office needs its Senate confirmed leader in place.
“It’s time to confirm Peter Wright to be assistant administrator of the EPA for the Office of Land and Emergency Management.
“I strongly encourage senators to support his nomination.”