Chairman Carper’s Opening Statement: Hearing on EPA Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) will hold a hearing on three of President Biden’s nominees to key positions at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Below is the opening statement of Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“I call this hearing to order. Today, we will hear from three qualified nominees for leadership roles at the Environmental Protection Agency. We welcome them to the EPW Committee.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s mission is to protect human health and the environment—a challenging, critical responsibility that requires dedicated work to ensure that the American people can live in communities free from hazardous pollution; our nation can address the worst impacts of a mounting climate crisis; and, all of us can live up to our God-given potential.

“To conduct that work well, EPA needs experienced and committed leaders who believe in the agency’s mission and the role of science as a guiding force behind their work. I believe all three individuals with us today fit that description and deserve our support.

“First, we have Amanda Howe who the president has nominated to be EPA Assistant Administrator for Mission Support. Whether it’s maintaining facilities, engaging with staff, or facilitating EPA grants and contracts, the Office of Mission Support manages all the functions that the agency needs to fulfill its mission.

“If confirmed, Ms. Howe would bring with her to the job some impressive leadership experience and a clear understanding of what it’s like to serve at the federal, state, and local levels of government.

“Next, the president has nominated David Uhlmann to be Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. It’s worth noting that our nation’s environmental laws can only protect our health and our environment if they are effectively and fairly enforced.

“EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance needs leadership to make sure that enforcement is applied consistently and within the letter and spirit of the law.

“David Uhlmann is exceptionally qualified to be that leader. Mr. Uhlmann has spent 17 years as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice—seven of those years as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section.

“In this role, Mr. Uhlmann has led some of the highest-profile pollution crime cases in recent history, including a 2017 case in which Volkswagen pled guilty to three felony counts in a scheme to cheat vehicle emissions test. If confirmed, I am confident he will bring the same dedication to enforcing our nation’s environmental laws to this role at EPA.

“Finally, we have Carleton Waterhouse, whom President Biden has nominated to be Assistant Administrator of the Office of Land and Emergency Management. 

“For those who aren’t familiar, this EPA office is tasked with overseeing the clean-up of our nation’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites, as well as working with local officials to revitalize these areas and preventing future exposure to harmful materials.

“Mr. Waterhouse has a good deal of experience and know-how to be successful in this role. He spent years in the 1990s working as an EPA attorney and acting on behalf of vulnerable communities that have suffered from the impacts of industrial waste—receiving the agency’s bronze star award four times for his work.

“Mr. Waterhouse would be an asset to the Office of Land and Emergency Management in assisting communities confronted by the dangers of contaminated sites and making sure their voices are heard in government.

“On this committee, I often like to say, we are workhorses, not show horses. We may not always agree on all things, but we come to the table with collegiality, open hearts, and open minds.

“I’m proud of how our members have carried on that work ethic this Congress—especially when it comes to consideration of nominees—and I look forward to continuing in that vein for today’s hearing.”