U.S. Senate confirms nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Rickey Dale James as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), according to a statement earlier this week from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

James expressed the immense importance of hydropower as the leader in generating renewable energy and what is has done to place the U.S. in a positive light.

During confirmation hearings before the EPW Committee last December, in a portion of his testimony, James said, “In addition to locks and dams, water supply, navigation, ports, flood control, ecosystem and environmental stewardship, [the U.S.] Congress has directed the Corp to construct and operate one crucial source of renewable energy – hydropower. This renewable source now produces more electricity than all other renewable generators combined. Flood control and hydropower facilities have significantly contributed to our ‘world-class’ status.

“We have improved, and will continue to improve, our water resources nationwide, together with interconnected ecosystems and environmental enhancements. As we restore past environmental damage and mitigate present impacts, our past investments in water resources infrastructure will benefit our children and their children for years on end.”

Significant Corps actions in 2017:
Fort Randall upgrades
FERC issues licenses for two Corps of Engineers lock and dam hydro installations
Corps rehab continues at 155-MW Center Hill facility in Tennessee

In October 2017, President Donald J. Trump nominated James for the Corps position. After his nomination hearings, on Dec. 13, the committee advanced James’ nomination by voice vote. On Jan. 25, the Senate confirmed James with 89 yeas and 1 nay.

The Corps says James is a self-employed farmer and manager of cotton gins and grain elevators for the A.C. Riley Co. in New Madrid, Missouri. James served 36-continuous years on the Mississippi River Commission, making him the second-longest serving member in its history.

President Ronald Reagan originally appointed James as a Civil Engineer civilian member to the MRC in 1981. He was reappointed in 1991 by President H.W. Bush and in 2003 by President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama reappointed James again in January 2017.

While serving, James toured and inspected civil works engineering features and engaged water resources stakeholders across the greater Mississippi Drainage Basin, which encompasses 31 states and more than 250 major rivers and tributaries, draining 41% of the U.S., according to the Corps. He developed superior expertise in inland navigation and flood-control development by fostering strong ties and in-depth understanding of conditions along every major tributary of the Mississippi River: the upper Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Missouri River, the Arkansas River, the Illinois River, the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River.

In 2009, James received the prestigious Bronze de Fleury medal for his significant contributions to Corps engineering.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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