Senate EPW Hears from Ken Kopocis

As some of you may recall, Ken Kopocis was nominated in 2011 to become EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water.  Progress on his nomination was slowed, however, by a Senatorial “hold.”  That “hold” disappeared with the beginning of a new Congress in January and Kopocis has been renominated to take on the job.  On Tuesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing to learn more about Kopocis and two other candidates for senior EPA positions:  Avi Garbow to become the Agency’s General Counsel and James Jones to lead the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Kopocis clearly was the recipient of the greatest number of questions; particularly those dealing with “waters of the US” and hydrofracturing.  Ranking Minority Member David Vitter (D-LA) may be poised to hold up the nomination again until additional questions are answered.  The number of questions for all three nominees exceeded the hearing time and they were instructed to provide their responses to questions from committee members by Monday, July 29th.

Just as a bit of background, before accepting the nomination to move to EPA’s Office of Water, Kopocis was Counsel for the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.  He also served on the Senate EPW staff as the Deputy Staff Director for Infrastructure from 2006 to 2008.  Prior to moving to the Senate, he spent many years working for the formerly named House Public Works and Transportation Committee in a variety of capacities.