Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, participated in a nominations hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

A copy of Sen. Carper's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Before I begin, I would like to warmly welcome all of our nominees to today’s hearing and thank you for wiliness to serve and go through the nomination process.  As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee – I know how time consuming the nomination process can be for not only the nominee, but also the Committee. That’s why I would also like to thank the Madame Chairman for her tireless work to move the nominees in our Committee’s jurisdiction – like the ones before us today - forward in a timely fashion.

“Today’s hearing highlights the fact that we are lacking critical leadership in numerous positions in just about every agency, undermining the effectiveness of our government. This has been a problem that has plagued the executive branch through both Democratic and Republican administrations – a problem so prevalent that I’ve started referring to it as ‘executive branch Swiss cheese.’ While Congress and the Administration have taken steps to address this problem, the fact remains that we still have more work to do to ensure that we have talented people in place to make critical decisions.

“That’s one of the reasons why today’s confirmation hearing is so important.  I believe all of the nominees before us are extremely qualified and look forward to working with all of them in their respected agencies if confirmed.

“I especially look forward to working with Ms. Rhea Sun Suh, who, if confirmed, will oversee two very important divisions within the Department of Interior – the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. Wildlife conservation is important to me and to all Delawareans, and we’ve been particularly thankful to the Fish and Wildlife Service for undertaking extensive plans to overhaul Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

“The dynamic environment within the Refuge and the wildlife that depend on this habitat it is extremely vulnerable to rising seas and coastal storm, and has been badly damaged by coastal storms in recent years. Along with the rest of our Delegation and Governor Markell, I will look forward to continuing our close relationship with the Fish and Wildlife Service – and working with Ms. Suh if confirmed - as we implement the Refuge’s new Conservation Plan.

“And if confirmed, Ms. Suh will also be working with Director Jon Jarvis to oversee the National Park Service – which, as many of you know, is of most interest to me. After a 10-year effort, Delaware finally became part of the National Park System in April of this year with the designation of the First State National Monument. 

“Director Jarvis has already assigned a superintendant to the First State National Monument – Delaware native, Mr. Russ Smith.  Mr. Smith has already hit the ground running; I do not believe there could be have been a better choice for our first superintendant.

“If confirmed, Ms. Suh, I look forward to working with you to ensure the First State National Monument is another success story of the National Park System despite the limited budgets.  I also plan on continuing legislative efforts to authorize a national park in place of the national monument – and look forward to working with you on these efforts.

“Thank you again to Ms. Suh and the other nominees before us today.”