Pallone Full Committee Markup Opening Remarks
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Full Committee markup of several energy and environmental bills:
Mr. Chairman, we have a number of bills before us today that came out of our Energy and Environment Subcommittees.
Two of these bills –one dealing with State Energy Assurance Plans and one on small conduit hydropower—are broadly supported and easily agreed upon.
The Brownfields bill, took a bit more work, but we’ve arrived at a good place. I authored the original brownfields law along with our late colleague, Rep. Paul Gillmor of Ohio and so, reauthorizing this statute is very important to me. I will have more to say when the bill is called up, but I want to thank Environment Subcommittee Chairman Shimkus and Ranking Member Tonko for working with me to come up with a product that we can all be proud of.
I also believe we have reached agreement on an update of our nation’s nuclear waste policy that provides some hope that we can address the need to move spent nuclear fuel and other waste out of communities around the country and to secure storage facilities while we await a decision on a permanent repository. This was a delicate and difficult negotiation, but I believe we have arrived at a very good compromise.
On the subject of hydroelectric license reform, for the past few weeks, staff on both sides have been negotiating in good faith. Our goal was to arrive at legislative language that could speed up the licensing process without sacrificing environmental protections or state and tribal rights. Unfortunately, despite staff working all weekend and through last night, we were not able to get there. I continue to support hydropower as an important source of near-carbon free, baseload power but not at the expense of critical natural and cultural resources.
And then there is H.R. 2910, the natural gas pipeline permit streamlining bill, which will further rob private landowners and local governments of their ability to contest the siting of these facilities. This is a completely unnecessary and egregious giveaway to the industry at the expense of homeowners and the environment.
Similarly, H.R. 2883, the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, is another unnecessary piece of legislation that would establish a new, lower standard for approving pipelines and transmission lines that cross our borders. Among its many unacceptable features is that the bill would circumvent NEPA and require that only a segment of a trans-boundary project obtain a presidential permit.
Finally, H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, would jeopardize the health of millions of Americans by undermining the successful health based standards and protections found in the Clean Air Act, not just ozone. In fact, H.R. 806 would impact all criteria pollutants – carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, and even lead. Congressional Republicans seem to be focusing a great deal of their time this year on pushing legislation that puts the public health and safety of the American people at risk. This is an agenda that I strongly oppose.
Thank you I yield back.