Panel approves nominees for EPA enforcement chief, NRC

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017

President Trump’s nominees for U.S. EPA enforcement chief and members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission inched closer to full Senate confirmation today.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Susan Bodine to lead EPA’s enforcement office. It also cleared Annie Caputo and David Wright to join the NRC over Democratic opposition. Caputo passed 15-6, while both Bodine and Wright went through on 11-10 votes.

In his opening remarks, ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.) noted Bodine’s service on the committee, where she has been Republican chief counsel since 2015.

“Susan has been a collegial partner to my staff, and I think to all of our staffs,” Carper said. “The agency’s gain will be our committee’s loss.”

Still, he reiterated concern that EPA has been slow to respond to information requests from lawmakers and said until that improves, he cannot support Trump’s nominees for the agency.

“As I said when her nomination was announced, I am unable to support any nominees to the EPA until Administrator [Scott] Pruitt responds to our many unanswered letters from this side of the aisle submitted to him by members of this committee,” Carper said.

The Democrat did note his appreciation for a “constructive meeting” at the end of June between EPA staff and aides for himself and Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

Further, he said EPA has sent a substantive but incomplete response to his letter about enforcement. “I hope that we’ll soon see complete responses to the balance of our very reasonable oversight requests,” Carper said.

Carper has pushed for party parity at the NRC. He argued for the renomination of Democratic Commissioner Jeff Baran, whose term will expire next year.

The president has yet to follow through with that request, leading several EPW Democrats this morning to vote against both GOP picks.

Barrasso said of the candidates: “They all have proven themselves to be well-qualified, experienced and dedicated public servants. Their confirmation will fill critically important roles in protecting Americans’ public health and safety.”