Energy & Environment Subcommittee Markup -- H.R. 906
Opening Statement By Rep. Nick Lampson
Today, the Subcommittee we will consider three bills, H.R. 906, the Global Change Research and Data Management Act, H.R. 2304, the Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act, and H.R. 2313, the Marine Renewable Energy Research and Development Act.
First, we will take up H.R. 906, The Global Change Research and Data Management Act of 2007, which will re-orient the current interagency climate research program to produce information that supports efforts of resource managers, businesses, and individuals to understand and reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events and to climate change.
The US Global Change Research Program has been in existence in some form since the late 1970s. This important program has vastly expanded our knowledge of Earth’s land, water, and atmospheric systems.
However, fires, droughts, hurricanes, and other natural events have highlighted our increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and climate changes. With better planning and implementation of adaptation strategies these costs can be reduced.
Next, we will consider two pieces of legislation to expand our country’s renewable energy portfolio in the areas of geothermal and ocean power. These resources are both potentially vast in size and have potential to provide clean power at competitive rates, but they require support to advance to the stage of commercial viability.
H.R. 2304, The Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act of 2007, would re-invigorate geothermal research and development in this country. It would provide support and guidance for researchers to develop technologies capable of tapping into the vast quantities of thermal energy that is stored in the earth’s crust.
H.R. 2313, The Marine Renewable Energy Research and Development Act of 2007, would support renewable energy development by exploiting the energy of ocean tides and currents.
Today, this promising industry is at roughly the same developmental stage that wind was at 20 years ago. With the support provided by this bill, this industry is poised to grow into a significant contributor of clean electricity to our nation’s power grid.
In short, these bills are about addressing overlooked opportunities in our collective efforts to create good American jobs, diversify our energy supply, increase our security, and reduce the environmental impact of energy production.
All three pieces of legislation are important to our environment and our economy. Therefore, I urge their passage, and look forward to getting them to the House floor.
Opening Statement By Rep. Mark Udall
Thank you, Chairman Lampson, for bringing this bill up for markup today.
This February, I, along with Representative Bob Inglis, introduced H.R. 906, The Global Change Research and Data Management Act of 2007.
The debate about whether climate change is occurring and about whether human activity has contributed to it is over. As our population, economy, and infrastructure have grown, we have put more pressure on the natural resources we all depend upon.
The fires, droughts, severe storms and other natural events that we experience every year exact a tremendous toll on our society.
We must reduce the human and economic costs of these events by making our communities more resilient and less vulnerable to their impacts.
For all of these reasons, we need the U.S. Global Change Research Program to produce more information that is readily useable by decision makers and resource managers in government and in the private sector.
People throughout this country and in the rest of the world need information they can use to develop response, adaptation, and mitigation strategies to make our communities, our businesses, and our nation more resilient and less vulnerable to the changes that are inevitable.
The USGCRP has significantly advanced our scientific knowledge of Earth’s atmosphere and climate and has provided us with a wealth of new data and information about the functioning of our planet. We need to continue to expand this knowledge.
However, we need to increase the output of information to decision makers that will assist them in developing adaptation and response strategies to the effects of global change.
I believe that we must move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid future increases in surface temperature that will trigger severe impacts that we cannot overcome with adaptation strategies.
However, this bill does not regulate greenhouse gas emission levels or mandate any specific policy approach for addressing climate change.
We will need economic and technical information as well as information about system responses and climate responses to different concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to design cost effective policies to achieve emission reductions and avoid dangerous impacts of future climate change.
The USGCRP should be the vehicle for providing this information. H.R. 906 will improve the outreach and information exchange aspects of this Program and make the information that it provides more useful.
Again, I thank my colleague, Rep. Inglis for working with me on H.R. 906. I ask our colleagues to support this important legislation.