USGS Director nominee comes before Senate committee

Former astronaut James Reilly was chosen as the USGS Director nominee due to his experience as a geologist in a variety of scientific settings. ©NASA Johnson

James Reilly II, President Trump’s nominee for the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, sat before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for his confirmation hearing on March 6. Reilly was announced as Trump’s nominee in February.

Committee members questioned Reilly on a variety of topics. Republican members were interested in how the USGS could support the administration’s goals of energy and mineral development, while Democratic members were more interested in how Reilly would maintain the scientific integrity of the USGS under political pressure and advocate for the agency’s budget. The Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal cut the USGS budget by $218 million.

Reilly is expected to be confirmed soon. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she would like to have him confirmed as soon as possible, along with other Interior nominees.

In his opening statement, Reilly said that in his experience he has learned “highly competent, motivated people usually require very little direct supervision from the top, and I expect that would be the case at USGS.”

You can read more about the hearing at the Science website.