Committee on Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton

Look Ahead: Committee Announces Hearing Schedule for the Week of November 30


WASHINGTON, DC – The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today announced its hearing schedule for the week of November 30.

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.” Established in 1920 as the Federal Power Commission, FERC is tasked with regulating the transmission, reliability, and wholesale sale of electricity in interstate commerce. The four current sitting FERC Commissioners are scheduled to appear before the subcommittee to discuss several issues related to the significant shifts taking place in the energy sector. Among the topics for discussion include EPA’s cap and trade rules that threaten ratepayers and grid reliability around the country, grid security challenges, and natural gas pipeline permitting. The Majority Memorandum and witness list can be found online here. Witness testimony will be posted at the same link as it is available.

Also on Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade  will continue its Disrupter Series with a review of mobile payment technologies. Consumers today have the ability to approve a purchase at the push of a finger or by waving their phone across a reader. With these advancements, there is still tremendous room for growth for consumer convenience and security. As the holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week, the subcommittee will discuss how this innovative technology works, the security tools it uses to protect consumers, and how it is disrupting traditional payment options for small and large businesses across the country. The Majority Memorandum and a witness list are available here. The Majority Memorandum and witness testimony will be available at the same link as they are posted.

On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing entitled, “The Nuclear Waste Fund: Budgetary, Funding, and Scoring Issues.” Members will examine historical changes to the budget process and the impact those changes have had on how the Nuclear Waste Fund is managed and how used fuel activities are supported in the appropriations process. The subcommittee will also review ways to improve the life cycle funding of used fuel management system. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.

Also on Thursday, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will reconvene its hearing on “Broadcasting Ownership in the 21st Century.” The hearing is a part of the subcommittee’s work to ensure that the regulatory framework for our communications marketplace appropriately matches the evolving realities of the 21st century. Members will continue their discussion of the state of today’s media marketplace, existing rules that limit ownership of broadcast and newspaper outlets, and barriers to entry for businesses owned by women and minorities. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony are available here.

Hearing Details

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

10:00 AM 2123 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission”

10:15 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Hearing on “‎The Disrupter Series: Mobile Payments”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

10:00 AM 1100 Longworth HOB Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Hearing on “The Nuclear Waste Fund: Budgetary, Funding, and Scoring Issues”

10:15 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing on “Broadcasting Ownership in the 21st Century”


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OPINION: Upton and Walden in The Hill: Providing a better future for mobile devices



November 25, 2015

Providing a better future for mobile devicesBy Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)

The recently passed bipartisan budget agreement in Congress includes a somewhat overlooked provision that will guarantee a better future for your mobile devices. Calling or texting your friends and family, downloading a work document, or watching a movie, all require the same increasingly scarce commodity – more spectrum.

Spectrum is like the pavement of the wireless information superhighway. Without enough of it, wireless Internet traffic gets snarled and slow. As the number of mobile devices and applications continues to grow, a spectrum shortage means a bumpy technological road, including more dropped calls and slower downloads.

The budget legislation not only opens the spigot for additional spectrum but also creates an important new precedent for Congress to regularly authorize more sales of this valuable commodity in the future. 

The recently enacted law requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction 30 MHz of spectrum currently used by the government for use by the private sector and to identify an additional 100 MHz for future auctions. This is great news for a variety of reasons.

First it’s going to help everyone who uses a mobile device. Spectrum is scarce and needed. The federal government controls large swaths of it and it’s often not allocated effectively. This legislation means more of this valuable commodity will be used in the most efficient manner.

Second, it helps taxpayers and the economy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the recently authorized auction will bring in nearly $5 billion to the federal treasury. These additional revenues can help lower the federal budget deficit or could be used as offsets for other critical spending priorities like finding cures for diseases or improving our country’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Third, it creates an important new precedent for Congress to regularly identify more spectrum and authorize additional, targeted auctions in the future. This is a critical new approach that will improve spectrum allocation and management in the years ahead.  Due to existing budget rules, if Congress authorizes the Federal Communication Commission to auction spectrum any time during a ten year period, when these auctions occur, how much and what parts of the spectrum will be auctioned, as well as its economic value, are all unknown.

Consider a recent auction the FCC conducted known as AWS-3, a band of spectrum controlled, in part, by the Department of Defense. The last time Congress granted the FCC ten-year auction authority in 2012, CBO argued carrying out AWS-3 was too complicated, challenging and would likely not occur.  As such, the budget office assumed no revenues associated with this particular auction for at least ten years. However, less than two years later, the AWS-3 auction did occur and it raised over $40 billion that went to funding a national public safety network and reducing the deficit.

Technology and the demands for spectrum are constantly changing. By authorizing specific spectrum sales over shorter periods of time, Congress can better capture these transformations and seize better economic value for both the U.S. taxpayer and those selling the spectrum.

The new precedent established in the recently passed budget agreement is great news for consumers and taxpayers. It shows that Congress is learning and adapting the way it manages spectrum policy as spectrum becomes increasingly important to our economy. Shorter grants of auction authority for specific parts of the spectrum mean more accountability and economic value. It will also mean more of this valuable commodity will become available for private sector use, producing a better future for individuals and business, and all of their mobile communications and video needs.

Upton represents Michigan’s 6th Congressional District and has served in the House since 1987. He is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden has represented Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District since 1999. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is chairman of its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Read the column online HERE.


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Committee Leaders Press Administration on Status of Remaining $1 Billion In Obamacare CO-OPs


WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders are seeking answers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the agency’s plans for continued oversight of Obamacare’s CO-OPs. To date, 12 of the original 23 CO-OPs have closed, bringing the total cost to taxpayers at more than $1.23 billion. The letter sent Tuesday follows up on a November 5th Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing during which CMS Chief of Staff Mandy Cohen was unable to identify specific actions the agency would be taking to address problems the remaining 11 CO-OPs, which collectively received over $1 billion in federal loans, are facing.

In the letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt, full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA) write, “The Committee is concerned that CMS does not have a plan to ensure that the remaining CO-OPs are financially solvent. The existing 11 CO-OPs represent over $1 billion dollars in federal loans that should be paid back to the federal treasury over the next decade. Additionally, the Committee believes that CMS should take actions to recoup federal dollars from failed CO-OPs wherever possible, in order to mitigate the loss to taxpayers.” 

The leaders also raised concerns with CMS’ handling of taxpayer dollars. They continued, “[M]embers questioned CMS’s decision to award an additional $91 million to Health Republic of New York in late 2014, when Health Republic had documented and significant financial difficulties. In fact, CMS awarded $350 million to six CO-OPs in late 2014; three of the CO-OPs that were awarded additional funds closed before open enrollment this year. Given CMS’s decision to spend more taxpayer money on failing CO-OPs, the Committee is concerned that CMS is unable to manage the CO-OP program effectively.” 

The committee leaders are seeking documents and information on the CO-OP program, including what steps CMS is taking to recover taxpayer dollars from the 12 failed CO-OPs and what the agency is doing ensure the remaining 11 are financially stable.

Read a copy of the letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt here.



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Bill Frist Highlights Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria - Solution Included In 21st Century Cures


Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist (R-TN) on Monday weighed in on the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria, making the case for a Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug pathway. In a column published by The Tennessean, Dr. Frist writes, “(T)he FDA has asked Congress to create a new approval pathway that will help advance the development of new antibiotics for specific, limited populations of patients—those with serious and life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to current treatments. This Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD) pathway has broad, bipartisan support.” LPAD was an integral part of the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 6, which overwhelmingly passed the House. As Dr. Frist writes, “(W)e can’t afford to wait any longer.”

November 23, 2015

Approve Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug pathway

 By Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist

A recent study about antibiotic resistance hit close to home for me. It projected that drug-resistant bacteria are developing at a pace that could soon threaten the lives of thousands more surgery patients each year.

This study also revealed that as many as half of infections after surgery are already being caused by pathogens that don’t respond to standard antibiotics.

While the threat of antibiotic resistance may sometimes seem amorphous and removed from our daily lives, research like this helps to crystallize why there is growing urgency to address this issue. …

Over the past decade, the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has skyrocketed due to the overuse of antibiotics. These “superbugs” — difficult or impossible to treat with existing medications — are evolving quickly, spreading at an alarming rate, and outpacing our ability to fight them off. …

Unfortunately, the pipeline for new antibiotics is dwindling at a time when we need them most. Only nine new antibiotics were approved from 2000-2010, compared with 23 in the 1990s and 29 during the 1980s. …

As a result, the FDA has asked Congress to create a new approval pathway that will help advance the development of new antibiotics for specific, limited populations of patients—those with serious and life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to current treatments.

This Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD) pathway has broad, bipartisan support.

Earlier this year, it was overwhelmingly approved by the House, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, and in July, the Bipartisan Policy Center issued its “Advancing Medical Innovation for a Healthier America” report, which recommended that the Senate follow suit. …

From senior FDA officials and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, to leading public health and medical organizations, we all agree: LPAD is smart and vital policy. …

LPAD offers Congress the opportunity for definitive and meaningful action to address what is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. I urge the Senate to stay the course in advancing this critical legislation as part of its soon-to-be-released Innovations for Healthier Americans bill, and am thankful to Tennessee’s own Sen. Lamar Alexander for his role in leading the way.

For the sake of the millions of people acquiring multi-drug resistant infections in the U.S. each year, and the countless more at risk, we can’t afford to wait any longer.

To read the complete column, click here.


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Nonpartisan Watchdog Releases Unsettling Report on BioWatch Terror Surveillance Warning System


WASHINGTON, DC – House and Senate leaders today expressed concern after a new report was released by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on the Homeland Security Department’s BioWatch program. Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee first requested the report in August 2013 as part of its ongoing investigation of the program aimed to detect and provide warning about potential biological attacks. Leaders from the House Committee on Homeland Security and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs also joined in requesting this GAO report.

The BioWatch program has been affected by false alarms and other problems since its deployment in 2003. As a result of the setbacks, local and state officials where BioWatch systems have been deployed have expressed a lack of confidence in the technology and have admitted they are hesitant to rely on the program’s detection abilities. Congressional leaders have been concerned that BioWatch is not adequately fulfilling its role of protecting the public and has cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

Of particular interest at the time of the request to GAO was the program’s “Generation-3” procurement. However, after the Generation-3 acquisition was canceled in April 2014 because of testing problems and other challenges, the focus of the GAO review turned to the Generation-2 system, which is what the Department of Homeland Security has been relying on for more than 12 years.

Among the most striking findings in the report is an assessment that, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system,” according to the report’s opening summary. The report continued by explaining that while DHS commissioned several tests of the current system, it “has not developed performance requirements that would enable it to interpret the test results and draw conclusions about the system’s ability to detect attacks.”

“This report confirms what many of us feared, that we are no safer today than when the BioWatch program launched over a decade ago,” said full committee Chairman Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO). “Now more than ever we need reassurances that our efforts to combat and prevent bioterrorism are successful and trusted. It is clear that BioWatch has not lived up to the job it set out to do, and we must put our efforts toward finding a program that will be successful in detecting and preventing these catastrophic attacks.”

“The findings by the Government Accountability Office bring into focus shortcomings in the BioWatch program at a time when concerns about the threat of a bioterrorism event are elevated,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ). “Earlier this month, the co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense testified before our Committee on the threat posed by bioterrorism. They made it clear that that we must act aggressively and deliberately to bolster our ability to detect and rapidly respond to a bioterror event. We also know terrorist groups, like ISIS, aspire to conduct attacks using biological agents. These facts make the Government Accountability Office’s findings about BioWatch all the more concerning. The Committee on Homeland Security has a long history of oversight of the BioWatch Program, including oversight that resulted in the cancellation of the flawed Gen-3 acquisition. In the coming months, the Committee will continue this oversight to ensure that any future upgrades or enhancements to the system are based sound performance requirements and rigorous testing and that the technology is responsive to the current threat environment.” 

“I am supportive of efforts in early detection and mitigation of a biological attack against our homeland,” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI). “However, GAO raises serious questions about the uncertainty in the capabilities of the current BioWatch system.  We may be missing opportunities to properly support our biodefense infrastructure.  I will work with the department, and my colleagues to assess what significant changes are needed in BioWatch going forward to ensure that we are most efficiently utilizing our limited biodefense resources.”

Click here to access a copy of the GAO report.


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Committee Leaders Comment on Latest EPA Announcement Regarding Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating


WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) today commented on the inclusion of additional 3.0 liter diesel engines in the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating.

“Today’s announcement adds to the growing list of troubling questions for Volkswagen and we need answers,” said the leaders. “Our investigation continues”

The Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating the facts and circumstances around Volkswagen’s emissions cheating and how it went undetected for so long.


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21st Century Cures: A Critical Step Forward for Patients


H.R. 6 “puts the view of the patient in the center of drug discovery, development, and delivery, balanced by insights derived from data analytics, clinical science, and a more flexible approval process.”

Patients, advocates, researchers, and physicians continue to march together on the #Path2Cures. In the most recent issue of PharmaVOICE, leaders in the research community voice their support on behalf of the significant step forward 21st Century Cures takes for patients in the effort to deliver better, safer cures.

In the extensive article Max Bronstein, senior director of EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, addresses concerns regarding H.R. 6, stating, “Detractors should listen to Dr. Woodcock, to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff, and to two former FDA Commissioners, Dr. Mark McClellan and Dr. von Eschenbach. They’ve all gone on record saying the 21st Century Cures Act will not affect the safety standards that the FDA has put in place in its mandate for safety; it will not have any impact on safety whatsoever.”

Gene Kinney, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and head of research and development at Prothena, added, “The 21st Century Cure Act is one of several developments that I envision will usher in a more collaborative, patient-centric approach to develop new and innovative therapeutics, particularly in rare diseases.”

Steve Smith, Chief Patient Advocate at Medidata, puts it simply; “The act will speed clinical trials, make them safer, and make them more effective.”

21st Century Cures is a critical step forward for patients and their loved ones. The time for Cures is now.

21st Century Cures Act Holds Promise for Patients  

If the 21st Century Cures Act becomes law, the future will be bright for both patients and the pharmaceutical industry.

The 21st Century Cure Act, if passed, promises to promote the development and hasten the approval of new drugs and devices, especially treatments for cancer and rare diseases. It puts the view of the patient in the center of drug discovery, development, and delivery, balanced by insights derived from data analytics, clinical science, and a more flexible approval process. Clinical research provisions minimize unnecessary and duplicative administrative requirements, and to promote the broad availability of clinical research data, with adequate security and privacy measures, to advance medical product innovation. The bill also contains a provision to facilitate and encourage investigating treatments for rare diseases in clinical research.

The House overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill in July of this year and the Senate is reviewing its draft — called the Innovation for Healthier Americans — and plans to make it public for review in early fall. (For summaries of the House’s bill provisions, see bonus digital copy.)

Naysayers of the initiative raise concerns regarding patient safety, saying the act goes too far in pushing the FDA to speed up the drug approval process, and that the existing protocol is adequate and presents less of a risk to consumers.

According to reports from Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, those who say that the 21st Century Cures legislation lowers the standard of safety “are completely wrong.” Steve Smith, chief patient advocate, Medidata, quotes her directly from her presentation at the DIA annual meeting in Washingon, D.C., in June, where he asked her to clarify her remarks.

“Dr. Woodcock, who has taken the lead for the FDA in discussing the bill, said the FDA would be the first to protest if the act did compromise safety; she has said unequivocally that the 21st Century Cures bill is a good bill,” Mr. Smith says. “Dr. Woodcock clearly said it does not compromise safety and it does not lower the standard of efficacy that the FDA must uphold.” …

Read the complete article online here.





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E&C Takes Major Step In Fight to Protect Lake Michigan & U.S. Waters from Pesky Microbeads


This week the the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), took a major step in protecting Lake Michigan and the nation’s waters from microbeads - small bits of plastic, often used as exfoliants in personal care products like face wash, body scrubs, and toothpaste that can slip through water treatment systems after they are washed down the drain.  The committee unanimously approved the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was introduced by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Chairman Upton (R-MI) earlier this year. The bipartisan legislation would begin the phase out of plastic microbeads from personal care products on July 1, 2017. Chairman Upton commented, “Microbeads may be tiny plastic – but they are big time pollution, especially for our Great Lakes. This critical bipartisan bill will protect Lake Michigan and all of our waters from these pesky pieces of plastic. On their own, microbeads are nearly invisible, but once they’ve been flushed down the drain is where the trouble begins.”

November 18, 2015

Bill to ban microbeads advances in U.S. House

November 18, 2015

Bill banning microbeads moves forward in U.S. House

November 18, 2015

US House Energy and Commerce Committee advances bill to ban microbead use

November 18, 2015

Microbeads ban clears legislative hurdle

November 18, 2015

Legislation to ban microbeads advances in House

November 19, 2015 

Upton co-sponsored anti-microbead bill heads to U.S. House floor

November 19, 2015

Bill banning microbeads moves forward in U.S. House 

November 19, 2015

Bill to ban microbeads advances in Congress

November 19, 2015 

Upton co-sponsored anti-microbead bill heads to U.S. House floor





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Republican Members Take Action to Permanently Protect Small Businesses


WASHINGTON, DC – Republican members, including every Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and every Republican member of the House Small Business Committee, today wrote to the Federal Communications Commission requesting a permanent exemption from the open Internet order’s enhanced transparency requirements for small businesses. When adopting the rules earlier this year, the commission voted to provide a temporary exemption for small businesses. The members today requested that the commission make that exemption permanent.

“During the Open Internet proceeding, the FCC heard from small businesses regarding the impact of the FCC’s enhanced transparency requirements. In its Order, the Commission rightly recognized that small businesses are uniquely situated and granted small businesses a temporary exemption from the requirements. We applaud the Commission’s action in granting this temporary exemption and urge you to make it permanent,” wrote the members.

They continued, “Small businesses serve as the backbone of the United States economy. In fact, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States, create 63 percent of net new private-sector jobs, and create more than half of private, non-farm gross domestic product. These companies are the true ‘job creators,’ consistently responsible for 60% to 80% of net new jobs in each of the past 10 years. … Given the stakes for America’s small businesses, the FCC was right to exercise caution and grant the temporary exemption.  Now is the time to recognize the disproportionate impact that the requirements would have on these ISPs and their customers and make the exemption permanent. Additionally, the commission should grant the exemption to all small businesses that meet the definitions previously set by the [Small Business Administration].”

To read the letter, click HERE

The letter was signed by:

  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (TX)
  • Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
  • Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
  • Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
  • Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
  • Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
  • Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
  • Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
  • Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA)
  • Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  • Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
  • Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)
  • Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
  • Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
  • Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)
  • Del. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-America Samoa)
  • Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA)
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  • Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
  • Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV)
  • Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)


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Abundant Energy Powers United States-EU Collaboration


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) recently hosted a transatlantic roundtable discussion with members of the European Parliament about energy policy and energy security.

The roundtable built upon relationships that Upton and bipartisan committee members established earlier this year when they traveled to key energy and policy hubs across Europe. During the roundtable, members highlighted opportunities to strengthen our collective energy security, lower energy prices, and reduce the threat of Russian aggression. Members of the European Parliament support the committee’s efforts to #LiftTheBan on crude oil exports and boost our natural gas exports.

Sorin Moisa, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, penned an op-ed featured in The Hill this week discussing the importance of freeing up America’s energy trade. He writes, “Immediately removing the oil ban and deeming LNG exports to be in the national interest in the case of allied nations would thus simply be good, sound U.S. policy. Helping create liquid competitive markets and alleviate geopolitical anxieties while benefiting your own economy.”

Earlier this year the House voted to lift the nearly 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports and the committee’s comprehensive energy bill, H.R. 8, includes language expediting the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. The bill is expected to be on the floor the week of November 30.

November 17, 2015Central Europe’s call: Free up energy tradeBy: Sorin Moisa

As a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in both its International Trade and its Energy, Industry and Research committees, I find myself at the crossroads of all the core subjects shaping the future of our Atlantic world.  

Against that backdrop, I follow very closely the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) going on between the U.S. and the EU since July 2013. ...

The commonsensical solution stemming from the Bucharest conference, but also from discussions with stakeholders throughout Europe, is that the U.S. should fully and immediately liberalise oil and gas exports with Europe (and possibly beyond).  

The following reasons stand out:  

(1) It would be good for its own economy: There is a wide consensus among economists that exports would benefit the US economy beyond its oil and gas sectors and, given the abundance of resources, this would have limited - if any- impact on domestic prices.

(2) It would be fair, as it would create a level playing field. The TTIP itself is inconceivable without full liberalisation of energy trade. There is no way the EU can accept to dismantle tariffs on its own energy intensive industries without full energy liberalisation, ceteris paribus.  

You cannot support free trade in general but keep out of its scope commodities with a horizontal competitive impact throughout the Atlantic economy. If following the oil shocks of the 1970s scarce energy was a core asset for American national security that needed to be carefully protected, in today's situation of energy abundance the old paradigm simply cannot be defended anymore.   

Furthermore, the U,S. has a direct long term interest in preserving its legal and moral leverage to hold other WTO members accountable for unfair restrictions on trade in energy and raw materials: it will be difficult to do that while keeping a protectionist stance on its own abundant supply.  

(3) It would be strategically wise for the United States. There is sheer beauty in the idea that the mere possibility of LNG exports can calm down monopoly prices and arrogant or aggressive political behaviour of single suppliers in still captive regions. Of course, only the market decides whether and when actual transactions take place. But for that market to exist no artificial barriers should be allowed, in any case not between such vital allies as the U.S. and Europe. We will also need additional networks, terminals and even redundant capacity: that is Europe's own homework, on which it has now seriously embarked, with the Energy Union strategy. 

(4) Europe is a strong supporter of the environment and of climate change policies, concerns about the latter being more mainstream than in the U.S. But it is simply wrong to build climate policies on an antiquated logic of resource nationalism. Free energy trade - at least among allies - should be the very baseline on which to build any environmental and climate change policies. 

(5) The U.S. would offer a very concrete signal to its Central and Eastern European allies, that it can show solidarity, without having to commit, in this case, any resources. It would be a huge political and moral dividend to be gained from a region which generally remains staunchly pro-American in these turbulent times. 

Immediately removing the oil ban and deeming LNG exports to be in the national interest in the case of allied nations would thus simply be good, sound U.S. policy. Helping create liquid and competitive markets and alleviate geopolitical anxieties while benefiting your own economy: there is no better strategic package.

To read the full piece online, click here.


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Michael Burgess


Chris Collins


Kevin Cramer


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Bill Flores


Morgan Griffith


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Gregg Harper


Richard Hudson


Bill Johnson


Adam Kinzinger


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Bob Latta


Billy Long


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Joe Pitts


Mike Pompeo


Steve Scalise


John Shimkus


Fred Upton


Greg Walden


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