Office of Water nominee Ross testifies before Senate

At a Senate committee hearing on Oct. 4, David Ross, President Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA’s Office of Water, testified on his commitment to working with states and his strong belief in cooperative federalism. Ross commented that, if confirmed, he would ensure the Office of Water uses “sound science” for regulatory determinations.

Ross was one of four nominees for EPA posts who testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), but his nomination was not as controversial as those of several others who met with tough opposition from Democratic committee members.

Ross, currently the director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Environmental Protection Unit, received some pushback from ranking member Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who stated that Ross “has represented problematic positions on the Clean Water Rule and pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.” This referred to Ross’ involvement in a suit against EPA over the Clean Water Rule when he was senior assistant attorney general in the Wyoming Department of Justice’s Water and Natural Resources Division and in a suit against the agency concerning the Chesapeake Bay program when he was a private attorney. Ross responded, “I may disagree a little bit on some approaches, but the ultimate objective I share completely and am fully committed to protecting health and the environment.”

Committee Republicans gave Ross a warmer reception, with Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) praising Ross’ “two decades in environmental, legal and consulting experience in both the public and private sectors,” and saying the nominee will have an “immediate understanding and an intimate understanding of many of the different types of water issues faced by states across the country.”  Barrasso did not provide a timeframe for when the EPW Committee may vote on the nominees.

Some information contained in this news appeared in the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ (AMWA) Monday Morning Briefing.

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