Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after the independent experts who advise NASA criticized the President’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The NASA Advisory Council urged an independent cost and technical estimate of ARM before NASA moves forward with the proposal.
Chairman Smith: “Contrary to this administration’s rhetoric, the President’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) has many skeptics within the scientific community. And the experts who advise NASA recently stepped up their criticism. The NASA Advisory Council warns that NASA ‘runs the risk of squandering precious national resources’ if they move forward with ARM. One expert, Mr. Tom Young, went so far as to say that the ARM proposal ‘dumbed down NASA.’ For months, the Obama administration has downplayed such criticism. I appreciate the good work of NASA’s technical advisors and encourage the Obama administration to take their recommendations seriously.”Read More
Technology Needed to Secure America’s BorderRead More
Washington, D.C. - The Subcommittee on Research and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight today held a joint hearing on the technologies needed to better secure our nation’s borders.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Technology is a key component to securing our 2,000 mile Southern border. Customs and Border Protection and National Guard troops cannot be everywhere. Sensors deployed along the border can detect and track the “coyotes” who smuggle children—as well as illegal drugs and firearms—across the border. We need to get this technology in the hands of our immigration officers. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has a poor track record when it comes to developing and fielding sensors and tactical communications infrastructure along the Southwest border.”
In 2002, the Homeland Security Act established the Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The S&T Directorate manages and carries out science and technology research for our federal homeland security needs. It is responsible for developing new technologies that can help secure our nation’s border.
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): “From unmanned aerial vehicles, to tunnel detection, from anti-counterfeit standards to biometrics, there are existing and promising new technologies that can act as force multipliers for border patrol agents and the Coast Guard to augment their day to day work on border security related issues.”
A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report notes that, “The Department of Homeland Security does not know the total amount its components invest in research and development.” While DHS has since provided a definition for R&D, GAO testified today that it has “not yet determined the most effective path to guide R&D across the department.” Further, a 2013 GAO report cites examples where projects were delayed and cancelled due to an inability to obtain data from DHS.
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.): “The S&T Directorate needs to lay out a clear and comprehensive plan to manage research and development activities, and coordinate with other entities to ensure the deployment of effective state-of-the-art technology in a timely fashion. Absent a strategic technology roadmap, our citizens will remain vulnerable to the threats stemming from an unsecure border.”
The following witnesses testified today:Dr. K. Jack Riley, Vice President, RAND National Security Research Division; Director, RAND National Defense Research Institute;Mr. David C. Maurer, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office; andDr. Joseph D. Eyerman, Director, Health Security Program, RTI International; Director for Research and Management, Institute for Homeland Security Solutions, Duke University.
The Committee plans to hold a follow-on hearing in September with the Undersecretary of Science and Technology to inform upcoming legislation to reauthorize research and technology development projects at the DHS S&T Directorate.
For more information about the hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology website.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today convened a hearing to examine the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approach to implementing a far-reaching plan to reduce U.S. carbon emissions. Chairing the hearing, Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) made the following statement.
Chairman Lummis: “Today, we examine one of the most sweeping regulatory proposals in America’s history. The EPA is continuing its regulation rampage, attempting to take control of our nation’s electric system without any legal or scientific justification.
“The EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” reaches well beyond just the regulation of power plants. The EPA wants to control the entire system, right down to the amount of electricity Americans use in their homes.
“The implications of this overreach are staggering. The rule has the potential to shut down power plants across the nation, raise energy prices and threaten energy security. And for what? Even EPA admits that the rule will have little to no impact on global warming.
“EPA’s proposal would impose standards on states that turn their power systems on their heads. Each state’s reduction mandate varies widely, based on what EPA claims can be done through a combination of costly efficiency technologies, drastic fuel switching, and unprecedented reliance on intermittent renewables and energy rationing.
“States, companies, utility commissioners and local officials are left figuring out how to comply, which will necessarily involve higher prices and potentially threaten grid reliability. The EPA claims the rule is flexible, and that compliance is easy. But EPA’s assurances are of little comfort when the standards are beyond what technology can deliver.
“The ability of the EPA’s “building blocks,” which might as well be called mandates, to produce the required reductions is uncertain at best. The limited analysis in this rule is based on black box models and untested assumptions. This hides the hard fact that states will be left holding the bag on an expensive overhaul of our electric system to reach theoretical and unproven targets.
“The confusion also hides a more fundamental concern: the EPA is operating outside the bounds of the law. The Clean Air Act does not give the EPA the authority to regulate the electric grid or tell “Americans where to set their thermostat. Instead, EPA is limited to technology-based standards at the power plants themselves.
“As our witnesses will explain, had EPA followed the law and been honest about what technology can accomplish, the rule might be manageable. But since the law doesn’t match the President’s partisan agenda, the EPA is now bypassing Congress to rewrite the statute. This comes as no surprise from this Administration.
“The EPA also ignores technology and reliability concerns. The Administration hasn’t fully considered the potential impacts of this proposal on the electric system, the economy and the American people.
“A scientific look at the proposal reveals major problems. EPA’s claims are backed by flawed technology assumptions. It relies on unrealistic scenarios about our nation’s energy future. And EPA’s conclusions are based on a secret model, hidden from public view.
“Instead of providing useful tools for state and local policymakers, the analysis appears to be nothing more than window-dressing for a predetermined outcome.
“We see this all too often at the EPA. It undermines the scientific review process and moves straight to regulation. The law requires a bottom-up review of what can be accomplished at a power plant. Instead, the EPA has proposed top-down regulation of the entire electric system.
“This rule needs to be withdrawn. It fails to meet even the most basic standards of objectivity and transparency; and it lacks technical analysis on scientific and economic feasibility. The American people deserve to know exactly what the EPA is doing, and that is why we are having this hearing today.”
For additional information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.Read More
Washington, D.C. - The Subcommittee on Research and Technology today convened a hearing to examine strengths, weaknesses, challenges and accomplishments of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). NEHRP, established by Congress in 1977, is a cross-agency effort to reduce the long-term risks from earthquakes.
Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): “Earthquakes present a potential hazard to every state in our nation and are unique among natural hazards because they strike without warning. The cascading nature of an earthquake can induce secondary effects such as landslides, liquefaction, and tsunamis. Support for research and activities that strengthen preparedness for, reduce the impact of, and aid in recovery from earthquakes will fortify the nation’s ability to respond to earthquake hazards.”
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently updated its National Seismic Hazard Maps with research identifying that in the next 50 years, 42 of our 50 states have a chance of experiencing damaging ground shaking from an earthquake. There are 16 states in the U.S. that have a high likelihood of experiencing damage because they have sustained earthquakes with a seismic magnitude of 6 or greater.
Four federal agencies contribute to NEHRP research and activities, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, USGS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Program activities are focused on earthquake hazard reduction, improving understanding of earthquakes and monitoring seismic activity.
Today’s hearing examined bipartisan efforts to better understand and improve the nation’s level of earthquake preparedness. Witnesses discussed the work of the NEHRP agencies and how that work intersects with engineers, emergency managers and lifeline experts.
The following witnesses testified today:Panel I:
Dr. John R. Hayes, Jr., Director, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)Dr. Pramod P. Khargonekar, Assistant Director, Directorate of Engineering, National Science Foundation (NSF)Dr. David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)Mr. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Dr. Julio A. Ramirez, Professor of Civil Engineering, NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director, George E. Brown Jr., Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), Purdue UniversityDr. William U. Savage, Consulting Seismologist, William Savage Consulting, LLCMr. Jonathon Monken, Director and Homeland Security Advisor, Illinois Emergency Management AgencyDr. Andrew S. Whittaker, Professor and Chair, Director MCEER; Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
For more information about the hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology website.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the EPA to allow its independent expert advisors to conduct a full evaluation of the adverse effects of the agency’s upcoming proposal to tighten ozone standards. By the EPA’s own estimates, the new ozone regulations are expected to cost taxpayers up to $90 billion per year, making them the most costly regulations ever proposed.
Chairman Smith: “The EPA continues to ignore its own independent technical experts when proposing new regulations. The law clearly states that independent experts must examine the broader impacts of regulations and provide advice to the agency. But the EPA has failed to allow its experts to analyze its regulations. The costs of these regulations will be borne by American families. Because of the EPA’s refusal to consult with outside experts it is unlikely that their costly regulations can be justified.”
In their letter, Smith and Vitter urge the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) to conduct a full evaluation of the proposed ozone standards, before EPA moves forward in the rulemaking process. CASAC failed to comply with the Clean Air Act when it recently transmitted advice to EPA on lowering of the ozone standards, but omitted an evaluation of the adverse effects. In their letter, Smith and Vitter request a timeline from EPA that allows for CASAC to conduct the evaluation, including public comment, prior to EPA’s court-mandated issuance of a proposal by December 2014.
Text of the full letter can be found HERE.Read More
The Committee will meet to consider the following measure, or for other purposes:
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute, offered by Mr. Smith (R-Texas), and Mr. Kennedy (D-Mass.) Approved by voice vote The following amendments were considered en bloc: Amendment 297, offered by Mr. Grayson (D-Fla.), Amendment 295, offered by Mr. Grayson (D-Fla.), Amendment 059, offered by Mr. Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Amendment 036, offered by Ms. Kelly (D-Ill.), Amendment 049, offered by Ms. Wilson (D-Fla.), and Mr. Hall (R-Texas.), Amendment 055, offered by Mr. Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Approved by voice voteRead More
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