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Full Committee Markup

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 Time: 01:00 AM Location: Washington, D.C.

Opening Statement By Hon. Bart Gordon, on H.R. 547

When I took the reins of this Committee I made a promise that this would be a committee of “good ideas” and “consensus.”   We are here to solve problems. 


I want H.R 547 to serve as an example of how we can identify problems big and small, and leverage the resources and expertise of the Committee to develop creative ways to bridge technological gaps through research and development.  

It is clear that fueling our country solely on conventional fuels threatens our economic well-being and environmental health.  The public wants and deserves clean and reliable fuel choices.

But, if this country is serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we need to get serious about mobilizing the infrastructure necessary to distribute and dispense the newest generation of fuels. 

For a number of reasons, alternative biobased fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are often incompatible with many components of the present-day infrastructure. 

Fuel distributors and retailers are left to bear the considerable burden and much of the cost of refurbishing, replacing, or constructing entirely new infrastructure if they want (or are ever required) to carry such fuels.

At $30,000 to $200,000 per station, a nationwide change in infrastructure could cost $5 to $30 billion.   

Instead, my bill directs research and development of fuel additives and other technologies that could mitigate many of these problems and make bio-based fuels more compatible with the country’s petroleum-based infrastructure. 

In addition, this bill addresses potential challenges as suppliers transition to significantly cleaner fuels by directing development of portable, low-cost, and accurate methods suppliers can use to test sulfur content in fuels.   

Since infrastructure is used for various fuel products with sulfur content ranging from 15 to 5000 ppm, there is a concern that distributors and retailers may sell fuel with levels of sulfur beyond what is safe for the newest generation of highway diesel engines. 

It should be noted that this section is not meant to interfere with the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in what has been a very successful market transition to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel.  It simply seeks to provide easier access to testing and verification for all participants.In the legislative hearing yesterday, we heard from three valuable experts in the field, and we have taken testimony, endorsements and suggestions that will make this a better bill.  

Today, with your cooperation we will send the bill out of Committee with some minor changes, the addition of the EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, as well as the addition of a funding authorization.  These changes have been discussed with and agreed to by both sides of the aisle.

But this is not our last chance to improve the bill. 

HR 547 could be on the floor under a rule as early as next week, and it is possible that I will have a floor amendment that makes additional minor adjustments. 

Nor is this the last chance for the Committee to act on the issue of biofuels, or any fuel or energy issue for that matter.  On the contrary, this is just the beginning.  We will be very active in energy this Congress.

I hope this bill also illustrates that solving problems does not require years of wrangling over major omnibus legislation that in the end fails to meet everyone’s expectations.  

Here we took a good idea, turned it into a good bill, and with the support of our Members we will pass it out of Committee today and send it to the floor next week. 

Thank you.

Opening Statement By Hon. Bart Gordon, on H. Res. 72

Today the Committee will consider House Resolution 72, introduced by Representative Tim Mahoney.

H.Res 72 recognizes the work and accomplishments of Mr. Max Mayfield, who recently retired from his position as Director of the National Hurricane Center ’s Tropical Prediction Center .

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, has been the focal point of the nation's hurricane forecast and warning program for 50 years.  The mission of the hurricane center is to save lives and mitigate property loss by issuing the best watches, warnings, and forecasts of hazardous tropical weather.  

Mr. Mayfield attained national celebrity status during the tempestuous 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, appearing on television with hourly updates as hurricanes Charley, Ivan, and Wilma bore down on the Southeastern United States .  With his calm and steadying presence, Mr. Max Mayfield helped millions of Americans prepare for hurricanes during his tenure with the National Hurricane Center . 

H. Res. 72 thanks Mr. Mayfield for his service, which has undoubtedly helped to save countless lives and the property of citizens around the world.

In addition, this resolution commends Mr. Mayfield's dedication to expanding educational opportunities for State and local emergency management officials and acknowledges the critical role that Mr. Mayfield has played in forecast and service improvements over his 34-year career.

Born in Oklahoma, Mr. Mayfield holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree in meteorology from Florida State University .  Getting his start on the ground floor, Max joined the hurricane center in 1972 as an intern.  In 1988, he became a hurricane forecaster, rising to senior forecaster two years later.  Mr. Mayfield was named deputy director in 1998 and became acting director in January 2000 when Jerry Jarrell retired.

Mr. Mayfield will be missed.  He has served our nation with distinction for over 30 years.  Mr. Mayfield is well known to all of our citizens, especially those in hurricane-prone areas.  Mr. Mayfield’s leadership of his forecasting team at the National Hurricane Center , his clear presentation of hurricane forecasts, and his abilities to coordinate and communicate with local emergency management personnel resulted safer and better informed communities.

The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center - under the Directorship of Mr. Mayfield - did an excellent job of predicting the track of the storm and issuing watches and warnings that permitted state and local officials to evacuate many of the people who were in the path of this devastating storm. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce recognized Mr. Mayfield with Gold Medals for his work during Hurricane Andrew (1992) and Hurricane Isabel (2003), and a Silver Medal during Hurricane Gilbert (1988). He was also awarded a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bronze Medal for creating a public-private partnership to support the nation’s disaster preparedness.

Max Mayfield has set a high standard for future Directors of the Hurricane Center . 

I suspect he will continue to be involved in meteorology through his membership in the American Meteorological Society.

I can think of no better mentor and teacher for current and future meteorological professionals. 

Mr. Mayfield’s knowledge, experience and sound direction have been assets to the safety of our nation and the security of our citizens.  I ask my colleagues on the Committee to support this resolution.       

Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act

Bill Number Legislative Report Markup Transcript
H.R. 547110-7 Read here

Recognizing the work and accomplishments of Mr. Britt "Max" Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Prediction Center, upon his retirement.

Bill Number Legislative Report Markup Transcript
H. Res. 72