Upton’s Opening Remarks at Subcommittee Markup of 10 Energy Bills
WASHINGTON, DC – Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member (R-MI) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Subcommittee on Energy markup of 10 energy related bills.
“Today’s markup will cover ten bills. Six of these address energy workforce and energy efficiency programs at the Department of Energy, and four address the Department’s energy cybersecurity and emergency programs.
I am pleased to see that many of these bills reflect close, bi-partisan work—a hallmark of this Subcommittee’s successful policy making practices. The energy cybersecurity bills, for example, especially reflect this practice. We moved these four bills through Committee last Congress. And it remains critical that we keep working to get them through the House and enacted into law.
We all know cybersecurity threats to our energy infrastructure are a real and growing. As Secretary Perry has noted, “the nation’s top one-hundred pipelines alone supply nearly eighty-four percent of the nation’s energy, pipelines represent a critical part of North America’s energy backbone.”
This is why a coordinated government approach to ensuring the safe and reliable flow of energy across the nation, led by the DOE, is essential. H.R. 370, which I introduced with Mr. Loebsack seeks to ensure this will happen.
DOE’s cybersecurity and emergency functions would also be improved by H.R. 362, which you introduced with Mr. Walberg and which strengthens DOE’s emergency response capabilities. The two bills authored by Mr. Latta and Mr. McNerney also provide important additional DOE authority to support the electricity sector.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, we have done considerable bi-partisan work on energy workforce development. And I am pleased to report our staffs have been working together to iron out policy differences on your bill, H.R. 1315, and I look forward to more progress on that front before the full Markup.
Two other bipartisan bills from last Congress, H.R. 2665, the “Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act;” and, H.R. 2044, the “Smart Building Acceleration Act,” will help save energy in public buildings and encourage the adoption of innovative technologies to conserve water in communities across the country.
The remaining three bills to my knowledge have not received bi-partisan input, or careful oversight and review, and so require more work. H.R. 2088 alone authorizes $3.5 billion per year in new energy efficiency grant authority to DOE, an amount that surpasses the one-time funding by the Obama Administration in the Recovery Act.
That’s a lot of potential spending and, however well intentioned, it raises a number of concerns about whether that is the best way to expand energy efficiency or alternative fuel projects in communities. We should have taken more time before moving this to markup.
Having said that, I’m hopeful we can find common ground on revisions to these bills before we come to full markup. I’m willing to work with you, and only ask that you respect our concerns about creating outsized authorizations, which may have unintended side-effects and may detract from approaches that produce more cost-effective results.
If you remain open to our working together, there is much that we can accomplish to advance sound policies and protect taxpayer interests. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”