Carper Statement on the Confirmation of Peter Wright

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), released the following statement after voting to oppose the nomination of Peter Wright to be assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.

“Last year, I worked in good faith with EPA to negotiate a set of significant policy concessions that enabled Senate Democrats to truncate the confirmation process for a number of presidential appointees. As the agency and my Republican colleagues are well aware, I worked diligently until the eleventh hour of the last Congress to achieve that objective for Peter Wright. To my deep disappointment, in this Congress, EPA has refused to re-engage with me with respect to Mr. Wright’s nomination, and the agency actually reneged on its previous policy agreements. Given EPA’s action, I opposed Mr. Wright’s nomination.  I find EPA’s increasing refusal to work in good faith or act reasonably to be troubling, especially as these refusals often come at the expense of human health and our environment.

“Despite not being confirmed by the Senate until today, Mr. Wright has had the opportunity to work at EPA for just over a year. Under Mr. Wright’s leadership, EPA has failed to fulfill the commitment made by Scott Pruitt in March 2018 that EPA would propose designation of PFOS and PFOA as hazardous substances under the Superfund law. On Mr. Wright’s watch, EPA hasn’t even proposed to do that, let alone finalized the action. Americans deserve better than that, and the millions of Americans with PFAS contamination in their drinking water deserve the regulatory agency in charge of the cleanliness of our nation’s environment to act with far more urgency than that.

“Finally, just this week, I was deeply troubled to receive information from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that Mr. Wright failed to fully divest his DowDuPont stock within the 90-day required time frame.  Though I understand Mr. Wright has done so now, EPA withheld this information for months.  The agency disclosed it only after OGE made the Chairman and me aware of the matter, just days before the Senate was scheduled to consider Mr. Wright’s nomination. I strongly believe the Senate should have afforded EPA and OGE the opportunity to complete their investigations into this matter before voting on Mr. Wright’s nomination today. But, instead, the Senate did vote to confirm Mr. Wright today – even though senators and the constituents we’re sworn to serve still lack a completed certification by OGE that the actions he’s taken to address the matter comply with ethics requirements.

“Given my earnest efforts last Congress to make meaningful progress on policies in order to advance Mr. Wright’s nomination, I am deeply disappointed by today’s vote.”

Earlier today, Senator Carper spoke on the floor regarding Mr. Wright’s nomination. View that speech by clicking here.