Hearings and Business Meetings

Jul 12 2005

10:00 AM

Full Committee Nomination Hearing

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 10:00 AM

The Honorable James Rispoli


July 12, 2005
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Senator Bingaman, Members of the Committee.
It is a privilege for me to appear before you today as the President’s nominee to
be the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the U.S. Department of
Energy. I would like to introduce my wife, Carol, who is here with me today. Since our
marriage some 36 years ago, she and our two children have supported me in my service
to our country, as I was for 26 years a career military officer, mostly as a Civil Engineer
Corps officer in the United States Navy. Without the support of Carol and our two
children throughout those years, I am convinced I would not be here before you today. I
thank the President and Secretary Bodman for their support, and I am honored to have
been asked by them to serve in this position. I pledge to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the
members of this Committee, that if confirmed to this position, I will work closely with
you and all of the Congress in addressing the many issues that we face in the
environmental management program.
My formal education is as a civil engineer, educated as such to the Master’s
degree level. I also earned an advanced degree in business, and from my earliest days of
practice I have had a special interest in environmental issues as related to engineering and
construction. I have managed facilities as the public works officer and environmental
officer at naval installations. Additionally, I have served as the Navy’s manager of
environmental cleanup for all its ashore installations, a position similar to the one for
which I have been nominated at the Department of Energy. I have first hand experience
in the Federal sector as an engineer in leadership positions , a manager of environmental
programs, and as a contracting officer. Complementing that Governmental experience, I
have served as a senior officer in two engineering firms that specialized in environmental
I understand that the environmental management challenges of the Department of
Energy are formidable, as I have been involved over the past several years with the
capital projects in the Environmental Management portfolio. I welcome the opportunity
to begin working to address these challenges if I am confirmed. With that said, it is my
view that with proper leadership and management, the professionals who work in this
program, both Federal and contractor, can deliver success. We can do this with the use
of industry standard practices for project management such as defining projects, with
achievable targeted schedules, milestones and costs. I believe that by reinforcing the
application of industry standard practices for these projects, we can manage them with
better effectiveness and reliability. For example, we will be able to project future
resource needs across the planning horizon with greater credibility. And we will be able
to better manage to improve success in delivering on our commitments. I look forward,
if confirmed, to leading this organization. I hope the Committee will find that my
background qualifies me for this position, and has given me the leadership and
management tools for the task at hand.
I am committed to safety, and in my view, safety and environmental cleanup are
inexorably joined. I believe that the cleanup of our sites can not be accomplished without
superior safety performance in our daily work. Only by operating safely can we achieve
the goals and schedules we have set. This is paramount, because the whole purpose of
the cleanup of these sites is for the safety and security of our citizens, communities and
nation. At the same time, I know that I need to learn and understand the strengths and
weaknesses of this environmental cleanup program. I know that we have had successes
and we have had setbacks, and that the setbacks have resulted in public disappointment
and disappointment in the Congress. If confirmed to the position of Assistant Secretary, I
will take this mantle of responsibility; I will do so with a clear motivation to improve our
performance, to succeed, to deliver, and to be honest with you and all the stakeholders in
the development of expectations and the execution of plans for this program.
I know a number of people throughout the Environmental Management
organization. I have great respect for them and the challenges they face, and overcome,
every day. I look forward, if confirmed, to meeting the many more Federal and
contractor employees who are engaged in these efforts, to understand fully how they have
set their targets, and how they are managing their projects so that they will meet these
I commit to you, the Members of this Committee, and the other Congressional
Committees, that if I am confirmed I will communicate openly with you, the States, and
other stakeholders. My entire career has been built on honesty and integrity, and I fully
expect to bring an open and forthright approach to all my dealings with the constituents
and stakeholders of this program. I intend to devote my full energies and my leadership
and management experience to deliver results for the American people.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I will be pleased to answer any
questions you may have. Thank you.