Barrasso Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing

April 28, 2022

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a nominations hearing. 

The hearing featured testimony from Dr. David Applegate, nominee to be director of the United States Geological Survey; Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor, nominee to be assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs at the Department of the Interior; and Dr. Evelyn Wang, nominee to be director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy at the Department of Energy.  

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Now, with regard to today’s hearing, I would like to welcome Ambassador Carmen Cantor, Dr. David Applegate, and Dr. Evelyn Wang to the committee. 

“Congratulations to each of you on the nominations. 

“Ambassador Cantor has been nominated to serve as assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs at the Department of the Interior. 

“She currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. 

“Before that, she spent the majority of her career in various roles at the State Department.

“The assistant secretary position carries out the Department of the Interior’s responsibilities for U.S.-affiliated insular areas. 

“This includes the territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“Additionally, the assistant secretary administers and oversees federal assistance to three Freely Associated States.  

“They are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. 

“I look forward to hearing Ambassador Cantor’s strategy for facilitating much-needed action on stalled compact negotiations with the Freely Associated States for which we held a hearing just a few weeks ago. 

“These compacts are essential to denying China an opportunity to gain a foothold in the Freely Associated States. 

“They help deter Chinese aggression and influence in the Indo-Pacific region. 

“We’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say about that to bring us up to date from the hearing we had a couple of weeks ago. 

“Dr. Applegate has been nominated to serve as director of the United States Geological Survey at the Department of the Interior. 

“He has served in many roles at the USGS, including as the associate director for Natural Hazards. 

“He is currently exercising the authority of being the director. 

“The USGS is the nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. 

“It collects, monitors, and analyzes data about the geologic and other natural resources of the United States. 

“It is critical that the director prioritize the core mission of the agency and zealously guard its scientific independence to ensure the information it publishes is not tainted by politics. 

“I look forward to hearing from Dr. Applegate about how he intends to protect that independence. 

“Dr. Wang has been nominated to serve as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy at the Department of Energy. 

“Dr. Wang is a mechanical engineer, and her experience is very impressive. 

“She currently is head of the Mechanical Engineering Department and a professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“She has written nearly 200 journal articles on topics including— heat transfer, thermal management, solar thermal energy conversion, water harvesting, and water desalination. 

“In ARPA-E’s authorizing statute it states that the goals shall be, among other things–‘to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that—reduce imports of energy from foreign sources.’ 

“Now more than ever, energy security is critical.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought this reality worldwide into sharp relief. 

“As we work to enhance energy security, innovation will be key. 

“The director of ARPA-E will continue to play a critical role. 

“I look forward to hearing how Dr. Wang plans to achieve this outlined goal of ARPA-E. 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”