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September 11, 2019

Chairman Lamb’s Opening Statement for Markup of H.R. 4091 and H.R. 4230

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy is marking up H.R. 4091, the “ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019” and H.R. 4230, the “Clean Industrial Technology Act of 2019.”

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

I am pleased to consider two bipartisan bills today that are essential to securing our nation’s clean energy future. These bills were considered at three hearings earlier this Congress that brought together expert witnesses from industry, academia, and the Department of Energy to discuss two important topics: the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, or ARPA-E, and research and development to reduce emissions from the manufacturing sector.

I am very proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 4091, the bipartisan ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019, which Chairwoman Johnson and I introduced in July. First authorized by this Committee in 2007, ARPA-E was designed to address some of the unique challenges of advancing new clean energy technologies.

In its creation of ARPA-E Congress recognized the necessity of developing transformational technologies in the energy sector. By maintaining our leadership in research, we’re creating jobs here in America, benefitting the energy sector and mitigating climate change. We’re making our power safer and more sustainable, and improving our economy.

Groundbreaking research involves a high level of risk. The private sector is understandably unable to take on these risks alone and make all of the investments we so badly need to transition our energy infrastructure into the twenty-first century.

ARPA-E received its first appropriation of $400 million exactly ten years ago, and in that time has made significant strides in supporting the development of groundbreaking energy projects. However, to this day, the budget of this transformational agency has seen only marginal growth. This bill answers the call of the National Academies and leading energy think tanks and analysts to significantly increase ARPA-E’s budget to allow the agency to scale up the excellent work that it is already doing. The authorizations in this bill will ensure that ARPA-E has the resources it needs to make a truly transformational impact on our nation’s energy sector.

This bill is now endorsed by those ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Gas Association, and the American Council for Renewable Energy. It’s pretty rare to receive support from this broad array of groups for the same piece of legislation, and I certainly appreciate the range of stakeholders who have weighed in on the legislation. 

The second bill we are considering today is H.R. 4230, the bipartisan Clean Industrial Technology Act introduced by my colleague Rep. Casten. Over the past several decades, we have made significant strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. But it is critical we recognize the role that other sectors of the economy play in contributing emissions to the atmosphere.

In particular, the manufacturing sector contributes nearly 25% of our nation’s emissions, and yet only 6% of the Department of Energy’s research budget is dedicated to developing technologies to help reduce emissions from manufacturing. Furthermore, we currently have no national plan devoted to solving this problem.

H.R. 4230 will help address these important issues by authorizing a cross-agency, DOE-led research, development, and demonstration program to advance technologies that will help reduce emissions from industrial sources of emissions including: steel and cement production, chemical production, and industrial heat. The research program will operate in collaboration with stakeholders from industry and labor groups to ensure that those who will work most closely with these technologies have a say in our nation’s investment in their development. The Department of Energy has succeeded with large demonstration projects, like when they provided nearly $200M to demonstrate the addition of a commercial-scale post-combustion carbon capture technology to a coal-fired power plant in Thompsons, Texas, commonly known as Petra Nova.

This bill has significant support from a wide array of stakeholders, such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Chemistry Council, the Steelworkers and the Blue Green Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Clean Air Task Force.

Ensuring American manufacturers can access technologies to make them increasingly sustainable will ensure the domestic manufacturing industry remains competitive through the 21st Century. We need to give these companies, firms, factories and workers the assets and resources they need to compete and succeed in the international market – and sustainability, I believe, is one of the key components in doing so.

My Republican colleagues who have signed on to support these important pieces of legislation have recognized the essential role that innovation must play in achieving this goal. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support these bills and look forward to advancing them out of our Subcommittee today.