Senate confirms USGS Director, NASA Administrator, Secretary of State, EPA Deputy Administrator

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April 26, 2018

On April 9, the Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. James Reilly as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Dr. Reilly was nominated by President Donald Trump on February 15 and testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 6. He is expected to take up his duties as director in early- to mid-May.

A few days later, on April 12, the Senate voted on near party lines (53-45) to confirm Andrew Wheeler as Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), months after his original nomination by the President for this position in October 2017. Also originally nominated in the fall of 2017, Representative James Bridenstine was confirmed by the Senate as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on April 19 with a party-line vote (50-49). The confirmation of Representative Bridenstine comes as Acting Director Robert Lightfoot retires at the end of the April.

Following the departure of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March, Michael Pompeo, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was confirmed by the Senate (57-42) as the Trump Administration’s second appointment for Secretary of State on April 26. Among its geoscience-related responsibilities, the Department of State houses the Office of Global Change, responsible for negotiating, implementing, and managing U.S. international policy on climate change, and leads U.S. government participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

On April 14, President Trump announced his intent to nominate James Hubbard to be the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment, which oversees the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After working for the Colorado Forest Service for 35 years, Mr. Hubbard worked as Director of the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination for the Department of the Interior as well as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry at the Forest Service. Mr. Hubbard received his B.A. in forest management from Colorado State University.

To track the confirmation process of key geoscience presidential nominations from the Trump Administration, visit AGI’s Federal Nominations page.

Sources: Library of Congress, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Interior, White House