Thank you all for joining us at this markup where we’ll consider two energy bills and two research and technology bills.

Before we begin, I’d like to introduce the newest member of Congress and of our committee – Representative Fong, from California. He’ll be serving on our Environment and Oversight subcommittees. Please join me in welcoming him to the committee.

The first item on our agenda today is a bill to strengthen cooperation between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

I’m proud to sponsor this bill, along with Representative Salinas, to improve our ability to conduct critical agricultural research.

NSF and USDA both have unique capabilities when it comes to supporting cutting-edge research. NSF has a tremendous research infrastructure and a proven history of supporting scientific breakthroughs. And USDA has world-leading agricultural scientists and a deep familiarity with the challenges facing our farmers.

By improving collaboration between these two agencies, we can ensure innovative solutions to support our domestic food supply.

As a farmer and rancher myself, I’m well aware of the value of technological innovations in improving how we produce our crops. I’m excited for the possibilities that will come from this new collaboration between NSF and USDA.

Next we’ll consider the Supercritical Geothermal Research & Development Act, another bill sponsored by myself and Representative Salinas.

This bill will expand research at the Department of Energy (DOE) to help develop supercritical geothermal energy.

Unlike traditional geothermal energy, this power source involves drilling deep into the ground and taking advantage of the high temperatures there.

I come from a state with a strong geothermal industry. I know the power of this clean energy source and I value it as part of an all-of-the-above American energy strategy.

But right now, geothermal energy is confined to a few states that have the right geography to access this energy.

By developing enhanced geothermal systems, we can expand this power source across the United States. We can also make it a baseload energy source that can power entire city grids.

This bill will help us do that by establishing a program within DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office to focus on supercritical geothermal research. It also expands the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program to include supercritical geothermal.

Lastly, it improves public-private partnerships on geothermal research and expands collaboration between DOE and the Department of the Interior to better understand and locate geothermal sources.

I’d like to thank Representative Salinas for joining me as a cosponsor of this bill.

The next bill is the Expanding Partnerships for Innovation and Competitiveness Act, or the EPIC Act. This bill will establish a Foundation for Standards and Metrology (FSM) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This non-profit organization will help NIST partner with the private sector to improve technical standards and advance NIST’s work on emerging technologies.

This is a successful model we’ve already seen at other research organizations like DOE and the National Institutes of Health.

NIST’s work has always been foundational to U.S. industry. But today, with their work on artificial intelligence and quantum sciences, NIST has never been more vital to our competitiveness.

It’s crucial that we commercialize and capitalize on this work. This bill helps us do just that. A NIST foundation will improve external partnerships and provide access to private and non-profit funding.

I’d like to thank Representative Stevens and Representative Obernolte for their leadership and thoughtfulness in developing this legislation.

The last bill we’ll consider today is the Milestones for Advanced Nuclear Fuel Act, sponsored by Representative Williams and cosponsored by Representative Sorensen.

For decades, we have relied on Russia to supply the enriched uranium necessary to power our nuclear reactors. The U.S. has very little capacity to produce nuclear fuel, and none at all when it comes to the fuel necessary to power next-generation reactors.

Any clean energy future must include nuclear power. It is reliable, affordable, and zero-emission. So we need to be serious about developing an American supply of nuclear fuel.

This bill will help us get there. It establishes a milestone-based framework for the development and demonstration of nuclear fuel projects.

This approach, where funding is contingent on hitting strategic milestones along the way, ensures that our tax dollars are being spent efficiently and that we’re getting real results from our investments.

It’s a smart, practical bill and I thank Representatives Williams and Sorensen for their work on it.

I believe we have a solid roster of legislation before us today and I’m anticipating a productive markup.

I appreciate all the bipartisan work that has gone into these bills and I look forward to passing them today.