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July 17, 2018

Ranking Member Veasey’s Opening Statement for Fossil Energy Technologies Hearing

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittees on Energy and Environment are holding a joint Subcommittee hearing titled, “The Future of Fossil: Energy Technologies Leading the Way.”

Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy, Rep. Marc Veasey’s (D-TX), opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing and thank you to the witnesses for being here today. 

Fossil fuels currently account for about 60% of electricity generation in the U.S., and they will likely continue to command a large share of this market for decades to come.  Power plants are now our second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, just a bit behind the transportation sector.  Reducing these emissions and finding technology solutions to these realities is a pressing challenge.  It requires stable public investment in our academic institutions and national laboratories alongside significant partnerships with private industry.  This is why in May, I introduced H.R. 5745, the bipartisan Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2018.  I was joined by my colleagues Mr. McKinley from West Virginia and our Committee’s Ranking Member, Ms. Johnson, yet another very smart and distinguished Texan.

This bill would authorize critical activities within DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.  This office is responsible for stewarding research to reduce emissions, improve efficiency, and mitigate the environmental impacts of energy generation from fossil fuels.  A large portion of this research focuses on developing carbon capture technologies and demonstrating the uses and storage methods for the captured CO2.  H.R. 5745 would reauthorize and expand research, development, and demonstration of these technologies for power plants, including large-scale pilot projects that would fill a vital gap in DOE’s current portfolio of projects in this area.  The bill also authorizes R&D activities in carbon storage, rare earth elements, and carbon utilization – which I understand we’ll hear more about from Dr. Aines shortly. It also supports significant improvements in efficiency including the development of supercritical CO2 technologies – which I know we’ll hear more about from Dr. Brun this morning.  In addition, the bill would launch important new initiatives in carbon dioxide removal, methane leak detection and mitigation, and carbon dioxide pipelines.  Finally, it would put in place key reforms to DOE’s Fossil Energy laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, located in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.

Authorizing these technologies would benefit the environment, the U.S. economy, and potentially provide technology solutions to global partners aiming to cut emissions.  The critical work authorized in this bill is supported by a diverse array of stakeholders – including representatives from industry, academia, labor, and environmental organizations.  Two major U.S. coalition groups representing a large group of interested stakeholders on these issues – the Carbon Utilization Research Council, represented by its Director, Ms. Angielski, here today, and the Carbon Capture Coalition – have endorsed this bill.  And without objection, I’d like to submit this letter of support for the bill from the American Federal Government Employees union for the record.

In closing, I’d like to strongly encourage all of my colleagues on the Committee to consider cosponsoring H.R. 5745.  I look forward to further discussing the best ways we can move these technologies with this excellent panel of witnesses.

Thank you and I yield back.

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