Chairman Rockefeller's Statement on Today's Nominations Hearing

September 23, 2009

I congratulate our two nominees, Anne S. Ferro and Cynthia L. Quarterman, selected by President Obama to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
I also want to thank the nominees for choosing to enter public service and working to make our highways, pipelines, and hazardous materials transportation safer.
These agencies have a great impact on the safety of our communities and the traveling public; their leaders have a tremendous responsibility.
Ms. Ferro you have a broad, balanced resume with experience as both a safety regulator and a trucking advocate.  I expect that, if confirmed, you will use both of these experiences to properly inform and lead FMCSA by actively advancing a reformed safety agenda. 
For everyone on the road, we have a responsibility to make safety priority number one. I have long been a strong advocate for road and truck safety and I have concerns about the agency’s current focus on safety.  And because some stakeholders have expressed concern with your nomination, I have worked to open the lines of communication between those stakeholders, the Department of Transportation, you, and me—to begin addressing those concerns. I expect that you will continue to keep those lines of communication open.
West Virginians, like many others in largely rural states, rely heavily on highway transportation to get to work, to visit their families, and, often, to do their jobs.  Making sure that they are safe from the perils of tired truckers and unsafe motor vehicles is of the utmost importance to me and many members of this Committee. 
Ms. Quarterman, likewise, if confirmed, you will be tasked with overseeing an agency that has an impact on almost every household and community in our nation.  The enforcement of our federal laws, rules, and regulations is essential to maintaining the integrity of our nation’s pipeline network and ensuring the safe, secure transportation of hazardous materials through our communities.
I expect that both of you will maintain close communications with the Committee to keep us informed of particular safety matters as they arise and work with us to address any ongoing safety concerns.
I also expect that you will both work closely with this Committee to effectively improve the safety programs at your agencies when we reauthorize these programs later this Congress.
If you are both confirmed, I look forward to working with you directly.  Thank you.