Full Committee Markup -- H.R. 3957
Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon
Dwindling water supplies across the United States continue to percolate as a major disaster on our nation’s horizon. Despite tremendous spring rains in some States, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that severe drought still grips the American Southeast, California across the Rocky Mountains, and Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. In an effort to protect the country from an impending water scarcity crisis, the Committee has begun to search out ways for the federal government to spur new technological innovations in water research and development. Today the Committee will consider two bills aimed at preventing a future water supply catastrophe.
First, we will take up H.R. 3957, The Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act introduced by Representative Jim Matheson. H.R. 3957 establishes a research and development program within the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development to promote water-use efficiency and conservation.
Through this program, EPA will be able to develop and encourage the adoption of technologies and processes that will achieve greater water-use efficiency, thus helping to address the water supply shortages. In addition, H.R. 3957 directs EPA to disseminate information on current water-use efficient and conservation technologies. This information will include incentives and impediments to development and commercialization.
Next, we will consider H.R. 2339, The Produced Water Utilization Act introduced by my colleague from Texas and our Ranking Member, Mr. Hall. This bill creates a research, development, and demonstration program to promote the beneficial reuse of water produced in connection with oil and gas extraction. In the United States, up to 2.3 billion gallons per day of produced water is generated. Unfortunately, this water is not of sufficient quality to be used to meet our many needs for water. This legislation will provide innovative treatment technologies that will enable the reuse of this water in an environmentally responsible way.
Finally, we will consider H.R. 6323, the Heavy Duty Hybrid Research, Development, and Demonstration Act, introduced by the Ranking Member of the I & O Subcommittee, Mr. Sensenbrenner. With skyrocketing fuel prices, energy concerns have been cemented at the forefront of public awareness. This Committee responded by pursuing an aggressive energy agenda in 110th Congress, and provided a substantial portfolio of bills to the comprehensive energy package which became law last December. Mr. Sensenbrenner’s bill represents another common sense approach to chipping away at our energy challenge.
The heavy truck sector accounts for a very large portion of the nation's fuel use and transportation-based emissions, and even small improvements in their efficiency can have a substantial impact. Hybrid technologies hold the promise of greatly reducing the fuel consumed by the nation's truck fleet. Mr. Sensenbrenner and his staff have worked closely with the Majority to ensure that grants under this program explore a wide range of hybrid technologies and applications, and he has made further improvements with the Manager's Amendment.
These three bills are important steps in ensuring that we have adequate water and power supplies across the Country, and in pushing innovation in the heavy truck sector. I want to thank Representative Matheson, Representative Sensenbrenner, and Ranking Member Hall for their efforts in these two important areas. I ask that members of the Committee support all three bills and move for their passage out of the Committee.