Full Committee Markup -- H.R. 906
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. Mark Udall
Thank you, Chairman Gordon, for bringing this bill up for markup today.
I introduced H.R. 906, The Global Change Research and Data Management Act of 2007 with my colleague from South Carolina, Mr. Inglis, earlier this year.
Climate change is occurring – its impacts are already being felt across the country, from Alaska’s melting tundra to more intense droughts across the West.
Although we are still debating how to address this challenge at the federal level, we will have to confront climate change soon and with some mix of mitigation and adaptation. The increase in extreme weather events alone will have a very large human and economic cost.
HR 906 will set us in the right direction by expanding and improving the US Global Change Research Program to provide more user-driven research and information.
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 reductions and avoid dangerous impacts of future climate change.
The program 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.
The program has contributed significantly to our knowledge about climate change and our planet’s environment since its formation in 1990 – but we now need to expand this information and tailor it to the needs of decision makers confronted with management and mitigation challenges.
I should add that I believe that we must cut our carbon dioxide emissions as part of our response to climate change.
However, HR 906 deals with a research program – the legislation does not create a cap and trade program or any other regulations.
Before closing, I’d like to thank the staff on both sides for their hard work on this legislation. We are lucky to have such an excellent staff on the Science and Technology Committee.
Again, I thank my colleague, Rep. Inglis for working with me on H.R. 906. I ask our colleagues to support this important legislation.