Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement for Hearing on the Future of Bioenergy Research and Development
(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy is holding a hearing titled, “Bioenergy Research and Development for the Fuels and Chemicals of Tomorrow.”
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX), opening statement as prepared for the record is below.
Good morning and thank you Mr. Casten for chairing today’s hearing, and for convening this excellent panel of witnesses to examine the role of bioenergy in our nation’s clean energy transition.
Bioenergy is one of the world’s oldest energy sources and continues to play a large and growing role in the global energy system. Today, the Department of Energy is advancing research breakthroughs in bioengineering that will significantly improve the sustainability of bio-based products, including materials, chemicals, and fuels.
Bio-based products currently displace approximately 9.4 million barrels of oil annually, and they have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 12.7 million metric tons per year. So DOE’s research in these areas will likely be critical to achieving our future climate goals.
I must also mention that my district in Dallas is a hub for domestic and international air travel, and there too, bioenergy has the potential to enable sustainable aviation. I have a vested interest in overcoming barriers to the wider adoption of these fuels, as this sector is particularly challenging to decarbonize.
Lastly, I want to again highlight our Committee’s important, bipartisan work that was included in the DOE Science for the Future Act, the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act, and the America COMPETES Act. Amongst the many impactful science and innovation provisions in the bill, you’ll find bioenergy R&D provisions that aim to ensure that the U.S. leads the bioeconomy in the 21st century. These provisions, built from the ground up with input from the stakeholder community as reflected by today’s witness panel, authorize R&D in biological system science and further authorize up to six bioenergy research centers focused on research in plant and microbial systems biology, biological imaging and analysis, and genomics to accelerate the research, development, and commercial application of bioenergy sources and biobased products.
I hope today’s discussion will examine how these provisions and any future legislation will help advance bioenergy’s sustainability as a resource to meet the challenges of mitigating climate change while also addressing our growing energy needs. Moreover, I must note that the recent tragic events and their rippling effects across the globe have underscored the necessity for us to diversify our nation’s energy supplies, not that this was a lesson that any of us would have wanted or should have needed at this point.
I thank our witnesses for being here and I look forward to your testimony.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
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