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July 24, 2019

Chairwoman Johnson’s Opening Statement for Markup of H.R. 3597, H.R. 3607, H.R. 3609, and H.R. 335

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is marking up H.R. 3597, the “Solar Energy Research and Development Act of 2019”, H.R. 3607, the “Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2019”, H.R. 3609, the “Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2019”, and H.R. 335, the “South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2019.”

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

Welcome to today’s markup of four good bipartisan bills. The first three bills: H.R. 3597, H.R. 3607, and H.R. 3609, all deal with various aspects of research, development, and demonstration of advanced energy technology. All of these bills directly address the growing issue of climate change by focusing the Federal Government’s energy research efforts toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Committee has held five hearings this Congress on various topics related to climate change. We have heard first-hand of the dangers to our society from increases in extreme heat, extreme weather, droughts, rising oceans, and the many other dangers associated with climate change. These climate change impacts are not just problems in the future. Our communities are already being affected by climate change. If we don’t take serious steps to address this problem, our people are going to needlessly suffer as the effects of climate get worse.

I say “needlessly suffer” because we have the power to address climate change before the worst impacts occur. Supporting the three energy research bills before us today is part of that effort. These bills support continued investment in three critical areas of energy research: solar power, wind power, and fossil fuel power.

It is abundantly clear that we will need more renewable energy connected to our grid if we are going to reduce carbon emissions in America. H.R. 3597 and H.R. 3609 provide for sustained investments in solar and wind research and development to help drive down the costs of these technologies, and help get them into the market. I want to recognize the bill sponsors, Mr. McAdams and Mr. Tonko for their hard work on these bills.

It is also abundantly clear that fossil energy will continue to be a part of our electric grid for some time to come. Without real and sustained investments in research and development to more cleanly utilize fossil fuels, it will be extremely difficult to meaningfully cut carbon dioxide emissions from our power sector. H.R. 3607 calls for these investments, and I want to recognize my colleague from Texas, Mr. Veasey, for his efforts in moving this legislation forward.

These three bills are all endorsed by industry trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the Solar Industry Association, the Wind Energy Association, and the Carbon Utilization Research Council. They are also endorsed by environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. Finally scientific societies like the American Chemical Society have also endorsed these bills. I hope folks can take a moment to realize how unusual it is to have those different organizations endorse the same bills. I’ll ask that the full list of endorsements be placed into the record.

Finally, we are considering H.R. 335, which is sponsored by Mr. Mast from Florida. This bill addresses harmful algal blooms, and I support Mr. Mast’s efforts to address the problem.