Full Committee Markup -- H.R. 2773
Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon
With concerns about global climate change, high gas and electricity prices, and our growing reliance on unstable energy-supplying nations, energy has come to the forefront of our constituents’ awareness and has been placed at the top of the Congressional “To-Do” list.
Here on the Science and Technology Committee we have responded with an aggressive energy agenda.
With the addition of the four bills we are marking up today, this Committee will contribute an even dozen pieces of legislation that make a vital contribution to the national strategy to put the U.S., and the world, on track to a more sustainable future.
First we will consider H.R. 906. Mr. Udall and Mr. Inglis, the Ranking Member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee and co-sponsor of the bill, have worked together to produce this legislation.
H.R. 906 re-orients the U.S. Global Change Research Program to produce more policy-relevant climate information for regional, State, and local governments and other user groups.
We will then take up H.R. 1933 by Rep. Udall, which sets out the next steps in DOE’s carbon mitigation strategies. In addition to ongoing research in carbon management, the bill authorizes DOE to conduct demonstrations of large-scale carbon capture and storage technologies through partnerships with industrial, academic and government entities.
Because we will continue to use our abundant resources of coal to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future, it is critical that we demonstrate an integrated system of capture, transportation, and storage of carbon dioxide at a scale that encourages industry to start making technology choices.
Next, the Committee will take up a bill by the Chairman of the Energy & Environment Subcommittee, Rep. Nick Lampson. H.R. 2773, the Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act, will better coordinate and compile information from federal biofuels research programs and focus biofuels research on infrastructure needs and efficiency of biorefinery technologies.
H.R. 2773 also provides for the in-depth study of several challenges facing broader use of biofuels and increases the funding levels for biofuels research.
Finally, we will consider H.R. 2774, the Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act of 2007, introduced by Congresswoman Giffords. This bill creates an R&D program on energy storage technology for concentrating solar power plants, which allows for the use of solar energy even when the sun isn’t shining.
It also asks DOE to conduct studies on how to best integrate concentrating solar plants with the grid, and ways to reduce water usage in these plants. In addition, it creates a workforce training program for solar installation and maintenance, which is critical to making solar power a real energy option across the country.
For each of these bills the Energy and Environment Subcommittee held legislative hearings and markups where we heard valuable witness testimony and facilitated good Member discussions on the barriers and possible pathways for these programs.
And, as you all may know, we are not alone in this effort today. The Energy and Commerce Committee is also marking up a series of energy bills and I, along with Ranking Member Hall and a few others, may have to excuse myself for votes in that Committee.
In conclusion, I urge my colleagues to support these four bills. I know the Committee’s pace has been very aggressive and that has been difficult at times for all of us. However, I believe the products that have resulted from this process demonstrate the value of this Committee and its work and it reflects well on the entire membership.
I want to thank all the Members for their cooperation and participation.
Opening Statement By Rep. Nick Lampson
Mr. Chairman, as I noted at our recent hearing and during subcommittee consideration, I believe we must enhance our efforts to develop a diverse set of alternative energy sources. Biofuels represent one of our best opportunities to accomplish this.
My bill, H.R. 2773, the Biofuels Research and Development Enhancements Act, represents another effort toward reducing our country’s dependence on foreign sources of oil, and building a domestic industry for clean renewable fuels.
The bill has several key components.
The bill creates two focused research efforts within the existing Bioenergy Research Program created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
First, recognizing the inherent problems with transporting and storing biofuels in the existing petroleum fuels infrastructure, the bill establishes a program of research, development, and demonstration for modifications and treatments to existing infrastructure and research and development of new infrastructure system for biofuels.
Recognizing the technical barriers to increasing the production of biofuels, the bill also establishes a program of research, development, demonstration and commercial application of technologies to increase the energy efficiency and reduce the energy consumption of biorefinery facilities.
The bill will help to better coordinate and compile the rapidly expanding base of information from biofuels research programs by setting up a DOE center to serve as a clearinghouse of information related to the research, development, and commercial applications of technologies related to biofuels and biorefinery technologies.
The bill will provide research grants in states with low rates of biofuels production to work toward the development of biofuels assets.
And the bill will expand the Bioresearch Center program created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, allowing for the establishment of additional, regionally dispersed centers.
The bill also directs the Secretary to conduct several studies. These findings of these studies will help to guide the committee’s efforts as we look make additional federal research commitments in the future.
Last, the bill makes additional commitments to ongoing biofuels research programs by increasing the authorization levels for these programs. This increase will also accommodate the new focused infrastructure and efficiency research efforts I mentioned earlier.
During Subcommittee consideration, the committee adopted two amendments. The first was a manager’s amendment that made several technical changes as well as minor substantive changes worked out between the majority and minority staff.
The second amendment offered by Ms. Woolsey and Mr. Bartlett added to the bill a focus on the environmental impacts of biofuels development.
Both amendments improved the bill and I am pleased the issues were brought before the subcommittee.
This bill will help to enhance the on-going federal efforts to support biofuels research and development, as well provide necessary information back to Congress that will allow us to make additional research commitments in the future.
I urge the members of the committee to support the bill and yield back the balance of my time.