Energy & Environment

Senate panel approves Trump EPA, nuke agency nominees

A Senate committee on Wednesday cleared three Trump administration nominees to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), sending them to the floor for consideration.

The Environment and Public Works Committee approved Annie Caputo and David Wright to serve as members of the NRC on Wednesday. If they are confirmed by the full Senate, the NRC would have a full slate of five members.

Caputo is a senior adviser to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and a former official at Exelon Corp., which operates more nuclear plants than any other U.S. company. The committee cleared her nomination on a bipartisan 15-6 vote.

Wright is a former South Carolina Public Service Commission member. The committee approved his nomination on a 12-9 vote.

The committee also approved Susan Bodine's nomination to lead the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Democrats have raised concerns about her private sector experience, saying it could lead to a more watered-down enforcement office at the EPA.

The committee approved her nomination on a 12-9 vote.

The nominees "all have proven themselves to be well-qualified, experienced and dedicated public servants," Barrasso said during the hearing. "Their confirmations will fill critically important roles in protecting Americans' public health and safety."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted against all the nominees, saying that he couldn't support Bodine due to issues he has with the EPA's responsiveness to Democrats' oversight letters. Carper also said he would like to pair the NRC nominations with the reconfirmation of a Democrat sitting on the commission.

Even so, he called Bodine, a committee staffer, "a collegial partner to my staff, and the agency's gain will be the committee's loss." He said Caputo and Wright were "two good nominees" for the NRC.

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