Skip to primary navigation Skip to content
March 04, 2020

Chairwoman Sherrill Opening Statement for Markup of H.R. 5519, H.R. 4656, and H.R. 3297

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment is marking up H.R. 5519, the “Atmospheric Climate Intervention Research Act”, H.R. 4656, the “Background Ozone Research Act”, and H.R. 3297, the “Harmful Algal Bloom Essential Forecasting Act.”

Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Environment, Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s (D-NJ), opening statement for the record is below.

We meet today to markup three bills. Welcome to our first Environment Subcommittee markup of 2020. Today, we will be marking up three bipartisan bills.

The first bill we will consider this afternoon, the Atmospheric Climate Intervention Research Act, was introduced by our colleague from the full Committee, Dr. McNerney. The bill amends the America COMPETES Act to include atmospheric climate intervention as a research area within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. I’ll speak more about this bill in just a minute during consideration of the bill.

The next bill on the roster is the Background Ozone Research Act introduced by our colleague Mr. McAdams of Utah. This bill directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study on background ozone. Generally, background ozone is considered ground-level ozone present in a given area that is not local or manmade. 

Ground-level ozone is one of six criteria pollutants that the Environmental Protection Agency regulates through its National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS. Unlike stratospheric ozone, ground-level ozone is formed by chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and nitrogen oxides, or NOx, in the presence of heat and sunlight. Ground-level ozone is known to cause significant health and environmental impacts.

In order to better understand background ozone trends, and its contributions to ground-level ozone in the United States, the National Academies study in this bill would: propose a framework of terms and definitions to standardize research on ground-level ozone; identify research needs to better understand and quantify background ozone and its contribution to ground-level ozone in the United States; and outline a research and development program to support analysis of background ozone trends. This bill is endorsed by the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association.

Finally, we will consider the Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting Act introduced by our colleague from Florida, Mr. Rooney. This bill would authorize NOAA to apply the Anti-Deficiency Act to Harmful Algal Bloom services. Specifically, this bill would require the web services and server processing associated with the Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Forecast System of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and NOAA to be deemed emergency services critical to the safety of life and property. This will allow these Harmful Algal Bloom services to continue in the event of a lapse in appropriations.

I’m glad we’re marking up this bipartisan legislation today. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support passage of these bills out of our Subcommittee today, and I look forward to moving these bills through the markup process, and eventually to the floor.