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June 19, 2019

Chairman Lamb’s Opening Statement for Hearing on Fossil Energy R&D

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy is holding a hearing titled, “Fossil Energy Research: Enabling our Clean Energy Future.”

Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, Rep. Conor Lamb’s (D-PA) opening statement for the record is below.

Good afternoon and thank you to this distinguished panel of witnesses for joining us today. As we’ve discussed on this Subcommittee previously, we must develop policies that strongly support American workers while addressing the critical issue of climate change. I believe Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage technologies represent that type of dual opportunity. That is why I am excited to hold today’s hearing, which focuses on two draft bills that would support critical research activities to mitigate the environmental impacts that come from the extraction and use of fossil fuels and curtail emissions from the industrial sector.

Western Pennsylvania plays a key role in this intersection. Pennsylvania is a net-exporter of energy and the second-largest producer of natural gas in the country. My home state has produced more coal than any other in our nation’s history – coal that powered us through the industrial revolution and two World Wars. We used this power and our resources to make the steel that built our country.

These industries employed thousands and thousands of men and women; generations supported their families through this hard work. That continues to this day. The energy industry remains a top employer in my district and region, and we have world-class labs, companies, and universities conducting cutting-edge research to ensure these resources and products are made in environmentally responsible manners.

Last month, I was very proud to lead a Congressional Delegation to the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL’s) Pittsburgh site near my district, where we saw first-hand the wide range of important technologies and methods that NETL is developing to ensure that the production and use of coal and natural gas are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. NETL is the only U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory dedicated to fossil energy research.

Accordingly, I’m pleased we are holding this hearing on the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2019. This bill will support research, development, and demonstration activities on carbon capture, storage, utilization, and removal and bolster the work being done at NETL. It will also boost research to advance significant efficiency improvements, prevent methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure, and increase our investment in carbon utilization research.

As we continue to develop ways to reduce the environmental impact of fossil energy sources overall, we must also look beyond the power sector. The industrial and transportation sectors combined produced nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. in 2017. The second draft bill we are considering today, the Industrial Decarbonization Technology Development Act of 2019, is aimed at mitigating that. This bill would authorize an interagency research program led by the Department of Energy to develop technologies that will help eliminate lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes and long-distance transportation. Supporting these types of research and technology can and should be a bipartisan issue. Secretary Perry has said he doesn’t believe “you can have a real conversation about clean energy without including CCUS.”  I agree.

Similarly, Secretary Moniz often spoke of the importance of CCUS technologies across industries, describing them as “critical for reducing CO2 and meeting our climate goals,” and stating that “we need to continue this innovation push.” In 2016, the Department of Energy under the Obama administration also released a great white paper on the technology, heralding CCUS as “a key pathway to address the urgent U.S. and global need for affordable, secure, resilient, and reliable sources of clean energy.” We should be doing everything we can to advance these technologies, from their research and development to their deployment.

I thank our panel of witnesses again for being here today and I look forward to their input and feedback on these important topics and the discussion drafts.