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March 12, 2020

Chairwoman Fletcher Opening Statement for Markup of H.R. 6084, H.R. 6097, H.R. 4481, and H.R. 4733

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy is marking up H.R. 6084, the “Water Power Research and Development Act”; H.R. 6097, the “Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act”; H.R. 4481, the “Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2019”; and H.R. 4733, the “Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2019”.

Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Energy, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher’s (D-TX), opening statement for the record is below.

We meet today to markup four bills that each address critical research needs to help our nation combat climate change, create jobs in the growing clean energy sector, and improve our public health. So I’m pleased we are here this morning to move them forward.

I’ll speak briefly about the first bill we will consider, H.R. 6084, the bipartisan Water Power Research and Development Act, introduced by Ms. Bonamici and Mr. Young, and co-sponsored by Chairwoman Johnson. This bill authorizes research and development to further clean energy generation by water power technologies, including hydropower, pumped storage, and marine energy. I’ll speak more on this bill in a few minutes.

The next bill on the roster is H.R. 6097, the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act introduced by Mr. Lamb and Mr. Newhouse. This bill reauthorizes the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities of DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Not only is nuclear energy widely projected to be a necessity for the world to meet meaningful emissions reduction targets in time to mitigate the most significant potential impacts of climate change, but it is also a key technology for our national security. And this sector currently employs nearly 100,000 people in high-quality jobs in the U.S. This bill is important because it enables R&D for both the safe operation of the existing fleet of nuclear power plants, and to develop and build the next generation of even safer and more cost-effective nuclear reactors.

I’ll discuss H.R. 4481, the Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2019, in more detail a little bit later, but for now I’ll just say that this bill addresses necessary research needs on materials crucial to a wide range of technologies for our cleaner energy future.

And the final bill we will consider today is H.R. 4733, the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2019, led by Mr. Posey, with Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Babin, and Ranking Member Weber as original co-sponsors.

The Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act signed into law in September 2018 required DOE to re-establish a low-dose radiation research program to enhance the scientific knowledge of, and reduce uncertainties associated with, the effects of exposure to low-dose radiation. This research would be useful for making informed decisions regarding medical treatments, space exploration, and industrial radiation limits, among other areas.

The Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2019 instructs the Secretary of Energy to carry out such a research program, and it requires the Secretary to identify barriers to understanding these effects and develop a strategic research agenda to address these challenges.

The bill instructs the Secretary to quantify potential health and monetary benefits produced by this research, and to leverage past research performed on the effects of exposure to low-dose radiation.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support each of these bills and I look forward to advancing them out of our Subcommittee this morning.