Martha Williams’ nomination as USFWS director advances

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public works approved Martha Williams’ nomination as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a 16-4 vote on Jan. 12.

During the vote, Williams, a TWS member, received support from both party leaders of the committee.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) commended Williams’ track record as the 2017-2020 director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and principal deputy director of USFWS since 2021. Her background led to “broad stakeholder support [for her nomination] including from environmental organizations and sportsmen and women alike, including both senators from Montana,” Carper said in opening remarks.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), acknowledged that although she and the prospective director may not agree on every issue, she commends Williams’ willingness to work with Congress and her transparency to legislators.

Since her Jan. 2021 appointment as the principal deputy director of USFWS, Williams has led the charge in addressing implementation of key wildlife laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which were modified in the previous administration.

Williams’ nomination will now advance to the Senate floor, where senators will vote on her confirmation. Her confirmation hearing will likely occur in late January or early February.

During the Jan. 12 business meeting, the committee also advanced the nomination of Chris Frey as EPA assistant administrator for research and development. The Biden administration has yet to announce nominations for other key natural resource positions, including directors of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Header Image: Martha Williams, USFWS director nominee and current principal duty director, holds a 2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp. Credit: @USFWS/twitter