Nomination of C. Stephen Allred, of Idaho, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior
CONFIRMATION STATEMENT FOR
C. STEPHEN ALLRED
NOMINEE FOR THE POSITION OF
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR LAND
AND MINERALS MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED STATES SENATE
SEPTEMBER 14, 2006
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee, it is an honor to come before you today to seek your consent as the President’s nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior.
I would like to introduce my wife, Sally, who is here with me today. We have a daughter, Stephanie, and a son, Sean, as well as two wonderful granddaughters, of whom we are very proud!
Let me begin by telling you a bit about myself. I grew up on a potato farm in eastern Idaho, where the values of integrity and hard work were the bedrock of our family. From an early age, I learned that it is both an honor and a responsibility to serve others. My values in life were ingrained in me by a school teacher mother and a farmer/rancher father. They taught me to protect the earth, respect nature, and to always try to leave things better than I found them.
I graduated in 1960 from Rigby High School in eastern Idaho. My family and ranching background led me to degrees in engineering–initially a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering, followed by a Master of Science degree in water resource engineering–both from the University of Idaho.
I became involved in resource management issues early in my career. My first off-the-farm job was with the U.S. Department of Agriculture during summer breaks. After graduating from the University of Idaho, I worked in State government, first in California on the California Water Project, and then in Idaho, where within ten years I became the Director of the Department of Water Resources. I was one of the youngest people ever appointed to that position. During my tenure as Director, I lead the effort in Idaho to develop a State Water Plan, including in-stream flows. I also was responsible during that time for several water rights adjudication cases, which involved many Federal agencies and private parties. The skills I have developed during my career in building consensus and fostering agreement among multiple parties have served me well. They have helped me to reach successful resolution on a number of complex environmental and land management issues, such as the Coeur d’Alene Superfund remedy, which involved a variety of stakeholders with diverse interests, including the State of Idaho, the Federal Government, an Indian tribe, and local citizens. They were also instrumental in my efforts to establish a cabinet-level department in the State of Idaho dedicated to protecting our environment, which I will discuss in greater detail later in this statement.
In 1981, I joined Morrison-Knudsen Corporation (M-K). M-K, now known as Washington Group, International, is one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the United States. As a Group President with worldwide operations, I was responsible for managing a work force of over 2500 professional personnel and administering a budget for a company group (M-K Environmental Group) with revenues in excess of $600 million.
While working at M-K, I was also involved in the evaluation, design, and construction of oil shale projects in Colorado; coal projects in Wyoming, Montana, Texas and the international arena; and geothermal power projects in the United States and Central America. My responsibilities have also included the cleanup and restoration of some of the largest environmentally impacted sites in the nation, both for industry and government, including mining, chemical, and nuclear issues. While at M-K, I experienced the challenge of undertaking large-scale, new development projects in a manner that was compatible with the environment and cultural issues. My awareness of the huge economic and social costs of correcting the mistakes of the past has convinced me that as we develop our own energy resources in order to assure our economic security, we must exhibit good stewardship with appropriately defined responsibilities and environmental safeguards.
In 1999, the year after I retired from M-K, I was asked by the then newly elected Governor of Idaho, Dirk Kempthorne, to become a member of his cabinet. I had known and worked with Secretary Kempthorne when we both served in Idaho State government, and I became better acquainted with him when he was a Member of the U.S. Senate. My position with M-K brought us together as we worked to remove strategic weapons from the former Soviet Union under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
While I found working in the corporate world both interesting and rewarding, as I look upon my career, I find that serving our citizens has brought me the greatest satisfaction. When Governor Kempthorne asked me to join him in 1999, he had a special vision about how to protect environmental values in Idaho while at the same time encouraging responsible business development and expansion. He asked me to assist him in establishing a cabinet-level Department of Environmental Quality, which required the passage of special legislation, an effort that for over 20 years had been attempted unsuccessfully in the Idaho legislature.
I am pleased to tell you that during the 2000 session of the Idaho legislature, we were successful in establishing one of the most comprehensive environmental management organizations in the United States. Moreover, we were able to gain passage of this important legislation with no negative votes-an almost unprecedented event in Idaho. It was during this period that, in 2001, I had the honor of being selected as one of Governing Magazine’s Public Officials of the Year, in part because of that collaboration. The approach we used in establishing the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality illustrates the importance that I place on transparency and collaboration to resolve issues and build consensus.
If confirmed, I will approach the issues and challenges confronting the Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management in a manner that enables a wide variety of interests and stakeholders to participate in the discussions, while achieving results efficiently. If confirmed, I look forward to learning more about the wide array of responsibilities and the many challenges faced by the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
My approach to leadership is firm, but responsive to the needs of employees and stakeholders. I believe that if people understand expectations, they generally behave responsibly. I expect to be accountable to you and to the public, and I expect accountability from others. I believe it is important for government to have clear laws and rules, and to be responsive to the needs of its citizens and clients. Experience has taught me that results count, and clear processes ensure quality and transparency.
I manage through leadership, and I lead by being involved. If confirmed, I will be involved in day-to-day issues, and I will be responsive.
My experiences in both the public and private sectors have shaped my attitude and philosophy concerning the responsible stewardship of our lands and resources while also meeting our Nation’s growing needs for energy, minerals, and recreation. We share that responsibility with stakeholders at all levels of government, Federal, State, and local, as well as with private citizens.
If confirmed, I will strive to carry out my responsibilities through collaboration, cooperation, and transparency.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you as you consider my nomination. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.