Chairman Rockefeller Remarks on Today's Nominations

March 18, 2010

JDR Head ShotWASHINGTON, D.C.—I am pleased to welcome our nominees to the committee today. Congratulations and thank you for your continued service to our nation.

During our first panel we will hear from Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., nominated to be the 24th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard faces many challenges as both a branch of our armed services, and a law enforcement and regulatory agency with broad domestic authority.

I have no doubt that, with 35 years of service, including extensive operational experience afloat and ashore, Vice Admiral Papp is up to the challenge.

Vice Admiral Papp currently serves as Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, overseeing all Coast Guard missions in the eastern half of the world and roughly two-thirds of the Coast Guard’s personnel and assets.

Vice Admiral, I look forward to hearing more about how you will lead the Coast Guard through these challenging times.

During our second panel we will hear from Dr. Earl Weener, nominated to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

As Chief Engineer at Boeing for several years and currently a fellow at the Flight Safety Foundation, Dr. Weener has a good understanding of the problems we face in aviation safety today.

And as a licensed pilot and instructor, Dr. Weener also knows something about the practical aspects of aviation safety.

Jeff Moreland has been nominated to be a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors. Mr. Moreland has a long history of work with the freight rail industry, with almost 30 years at BNSF, and he would bring a different perspective to the Board of Directors.

I expect Mr. Moreland to use his experience and knowledge of rail issues to help Amtrak meet the growing demand for passenger rail in this country.

Dr. Larry Robinson is the President’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the Department of Commerce.

He has a strong history of applying his scientific research to help communities meet the challenges of coastal resource management. Through his work at the Environmental Cooperative Science Center, Dr. Robinson is committed to engaging students and creating our next generation of scientists. 

If confirmed, Dr. Robinson will face tough decisions that will require him to balance the stewardship of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes with the economic opportunities they promise.

Dr. Michael Tillman has been nominated to be a member of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission.

Dr. Tillman has spent many years within NOAA, working toward sustainable fisheries management and prioritizing conservation goals.

Dr. Tillman has tremendous expertise in both science and management. His leadership will be valuable as the commission strives to bridge that gap between research and the hard realities of management.

Finally, I am happy to see Dr. Daryl Boness before the Committee today, nominated for another term as Chairman of the Marine Mammal Commission.

Dr. Boness has served on the Commission since 1993, and has been the Chairman since 2008. Dr. Boness has dedicated his career to advancing our understanding of marine mammal behavior and ecology, as well as their interactions with humans.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we balance an increased human presence in the world’s oceans, while still protecting marine mammals and their habitats.

Thank you again to all of today’s nominees. I look forward to your speedy confirmations so you can get to work.