Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Oversight Joint Hearing - Technology Needed to Secure America’s Border

2014/07/31


Full Committee Hearing - EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design

2014/07/30

EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design

Hearing Charter

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Lummis: EPA’s Carbon Plan Illegal, Hijacks Grid

2014/07/30

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.

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Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing - A Review of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program

2014/07/29

A Review of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program

Hearing Charter

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Subcommittee Explores Earthquake Preparedness

2014/07/29

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)

Panel II:

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.

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Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Vitter Letter to EPA Administer McCarthy

2014/07/28

Click HERE to View Letter.

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Smith and Vitter: EPA Blocking Independent Evaluation of Costly Ozone Regulations

2014/07/28

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.

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Full Committee Markup - H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013

2014/07/25

The Committee will meet to consider the following measure, or for other purposes:

H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013                  -H.R. 2996 as introduced                                     -H.R. 2996 ANSOrdered favorably reported by a voice vote

                           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 vote

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Full Committee Event - Live from the International Space Station

2014/07/24

Archived webcast.

A live downlink with astronauts:

  • Dr. Steve Swanson, Astronaut, Commander-Expedition 40, International Space Station
  • CDR G. Reid Wiseman (USN), Astronaut, Flight Engineer-Expedition 40, International Space Station
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Members Question Astronauts Live Aboard International Space Station

2014/07/24

Washington, D.C. - The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a live downlink with astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite feed allowed Members of the Committee to ask questions of U.S. Astronauts Steven Swanson and Reid Wiseman live from the Destiny Lab module, where they conduct scientific experiments in the weightlessness of space.

Click HERE to watch the downlink webcast

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Aboard the Space Station we can develop new materials and medicines that make their way into the commercial products we use here on Earth. More importantly, the Station is a place to test new technologies that could assist future astronauts when they venture to Mars and other moons and planets throughout our solar system. Space inspires future generations to dream big and work hard. Many Americans remember where they were 45 years ago last Sunday when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The first foot prints on the moon’s surface were made by Americans. The U.S. should always lead the way in space exploration.”

The ISS is in orbit 260 miles above the Earth and is traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. It is roughly the size of a football field including the end zones and has livable space to allow six astronauts to live and work there. The six astronauts include two Americans, three Russians, and one European.

Committee Members asked Dr. Swanson and CDR Wiseman about a wide range of topics, including NASA’s next human exploration goal, space debris, STEM education and inspiring the next generation of explorers. 

Following the event, members and the public were able to view some of the compelling microgravity research being conducted on the ISS.

To view the archived webcast of the downlink, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.

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Contact Information

2321 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6371
Fax 202-226-0113
science.house.gov


Membership

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Paul Broun

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Chris Collins

NEW YORK's 27th DISTRICT

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

Ralph Hall

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Randy Hultgren

ILLINOIS' 14th DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Cynthia Lummis

WYOMING

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

David Schweikert

ARIZONA's 6th DISTRICT

Jim Sensenbrenner

WISCONSIN's 5th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT