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Pallone Floor Statement on the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act

Jul 29, 2022
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following statement on the House Floor today during consideration of H.R. 5118, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act:

Madam Chair, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5118, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act.  

Climate change and extreme weather are already wreaking havoc on American families and businesses. Every day we read new stories about drought conditions in the west and the Corn Belt, wildfires displacing Americans from their homes, and the potential collapse of Texas’s power grid from extreme heat and unreliable fossil fuel power plants. Just this week, in my home state of New Jersey, Governor Murphy is encouraging residents to conserve water due to dry conditions.  

The impacts of climate and extreme weather are truly being felt everywhere. That is why I am proud to support this package of common-sense proposals, including many from the Energy and Commerce Committee, to mitigate the effects of extreme weather on our electric grid and water resources.  

I’d like to highlight a couple of the key provisions. This bill includes legislation from Representative O’Halleran requiring the federal government to identify grid infrastructure that is vulnerable to natural disasters. It includes Representative Casten’s legislation to ensure that different regions of the country can share power during extreme weather events.

The legislation also includes a provision from Representative Panetta to increase the energy resilience and productivity of critical facilities through investments in microgrids, energy storage, and energy efficiency. Finally, it includes two provisions championed by Representative McNerney. The first provision would help water systems implement water loss control programs and water efficiency programs. The second directs the federal government to study the need and feasibility for standards to ensure that power plants are capable of operating in drought conditions.

This legislation is essential to helping us address the climate crisis. Frankly, this legislation should garner overwhelming bipartisan support. I cannot understand why my Republican colleagues would oppose this package. They have farmers in their districts whose crops are ravaged by drought. They represent homeowners displaced by wildfires. And they certainly have constituents who use the power grid.  

Extreme weather clearly threatens our security, but my Republican colleagues seem content to watch the world burn. But I am not, and neither are my Democratic colleagues. That is why I will vote for H.R. 5118 and urge my colleagues to do the same.