Markup of S. 2299, Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2019

Wed, 31 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Hart Senate Office Building 216 to consider the following legislative measures.


  • S. 2297, Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019, Sponsor: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
  • S. 2299, Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2019, Sponsors: Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act

Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:00:00 GMT

Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) are scheduled to move July 30 a bipartisan bill, entitled the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), out of their committee. ATIA would authorize $287 billion in state highway spending authority from Fiscal Years 2021 through 2025.

ARTBA staff has attended multiple briefings with EPW committee staff, who shared some details of the legislation. It includes:

Of the $287 billion in budget authority, 90 percent will be provided to the states via formula;
  • A new $6 billion bridge program would be funded by a mix of Highway Trust Fund and General Fund revenues;
  • New climate change and safety incentivization programs;
  • Additional streamlining provisions, including the codification of “One Federal Decision”, the Trump administration executive order requiring all agencies to work together on a single decision for environmental project reviews;
  • Resources to build alternative fuel fueling stations along identified corridors;

The EPW committee, which has jurisdiction over most highway programs, is the first in either the House or Senate to move forward on reauthorizing the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation law, which expires Sept. 30, 2020.

The committee will also consider S. 1992, A bill to amend the FAST Act to repeal a rescission of funds and 6 General Services Administration resolutions.

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 406 Dirksen
    permalink, rss, atom

When Science Gets Trumped: Scientific Integrity at the Department of Interior

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 18:00:00 GMT

  • House Natural Resources Committee
    Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee 1324 Longworth
    permalink, rss, atom

Business Views on the Costs of the Climate Crisis

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 18:00:00 GMT

Increasing Renewable Energy on Public Lands

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

  • H.R. 3794 (Rep. Gosar for himself and Rep. Levin), To promote the development of renewable energy on public lands, and for other purposes. “Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019”
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee 1324 Longworth
    permalink, rss, atom

Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act and other water legislation

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

On Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. in room 1334 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife (WOW) will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills:

  • H.R. 335 (Rep. Mast), To require the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to develop a plan for reducing, mitigating, and controlling harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in South Florida, and for other purposes, “South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 729 (Rep. Kilmer), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to authorize grants to Indian Tribes to further achievement of Tribal coastal zone objectives, and for other purposes. “Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act.”
  • H.R. 2185 (Rep. Holmes Norton), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to allow the District of Columbia to receive Federal funding under such Act, and for other purposes. “District of Columbia Flood Prevention Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 3115 (Rep. Pallone), To direct the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make grants to State and local governments and nongovernmental organizations for purposes of carrying out climate-resilient living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities by supporting ecosystem functions and habitats with the use of natural materials and systems, and for other purposes. “Living Shorelines Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 3237 (Rep. Neguse), To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the implementation of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program First Increment Extension for threatened and endangered species in the Central and Lower Platte River Basin, and for other purposes. “Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Extension Act.”
  • H.R. 3510 (Rep. Harder), To amend the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 to reauthorize grants for and require applied water supply research regarding the water resources research and technology institutes established under that Act. “Water Resources Research Amendments Act”
  • H.R. 3541 (Rep. Salud Carbajal), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a coastal climate change adaptation preparedness and response program, and for other purposes. “Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act.”
  • H.R. 3596 (Rep. Chellie Pingree), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to establish a Working Waterfront Task Force and a working waterfronts grant program, and for other purposes. “Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act.”
  • H.R. 3723 (Rep. Levin), To promote desalination project development and drought resilience, and for other purposes. “Desalination Development Act.”
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee 1334 Longworth
    permalink, rss, atom

Budget and Oversight Hearing: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:15:00 GMT

  • Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • House Appropriations Committee
    Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee 2358-A Rayburn
    permalink, rss, atom

Building Americas Clean Future: Pathways to Decarbonize the Economy

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

Background In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which examined the impacts of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C versus 2°C above preindustrial levels. The report concluded that avoiding the worst effects of climate change – including more frequent extreme weather events, food and water insecurity, increases in vector-borne diseases, and other public health problems – will require limiting warming to 1.5°C. It further warned that countries have until 2030 to make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid exceeding that threshold.

Despite this urgency, emissions continue to rise. In 2018, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased 2.7 percent over the previous year – a rate scientists have compared to a “speeding freight train.” In the United States, economy-wide emissions increased between 1.5 and 2.5 percent in 2018, ending a three-year decline and marking the second largest emissions increase since 2000. This contrasts sharply with the goal of reducing U.S. emissions 1.2 percent annually through 2020, as described in the first Nationally Determined Contribution submitted under the Paris Agreement. The United States is now projected to reduce emissions just 12 to 19 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, falling far short of its initial 26 to 28 percent target.

Deep Decarbonization of the U.S. Economy

These trends run counter to the scientific consensus that deep, sustained decarbonization is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. According to the IPCC, global CO2 emissions must peak by 2030 and reach “net-zero” by 2050 to limit warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century (or by 2070 to limit warming to 2°C by the end of the century). The concept of net-zero emissions refers to balancing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted and the amount removed from the atmosphere through natural or technological means, commonly referred to as “negative emissions” measures. The IPCC warned that, in the absence of near-term climate action, “net negative” emissions will eventually be required to limit warming to 1.5°C.

In 2016, two years before the IPCC identified the need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Obama Administration released its Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization. That comprehensive plan aimed to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, putting the U.S. on a path to reach net-zero emissions soon thereafter. The IPCC report has since made clear that countries must achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 – a more aggressive schedule than originally outlined in the Mid-Century Strategy.

Pathways to Deep Decarbonization

Research suggests that deep decarbonization of the U.S. economy will require a multipronged approach, including: (1) transitioning to a low-carbon electricity system; (2) reducing emissions from the transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors; (3) deploying negative emissions measures; and (4) reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions. The United States already has a number of tools at its disposal to chart a path towards net-zero emissions. Yet, policy action and aggressive investment in low-carbon technologies will be needed to increase the pace and decrease the cost of that process.

=== A. Reducing Emissions from the Power Sector ===

The power sector is both simpler and less expensive to decarbonize than other sectors, securing its reputation as “the linchpin of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.” Over the coming decades, however, the U.S. electricity system will confront the dual challenges of meeting rising electricity demand while rapidly shifting to low- and zero-carbon generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that energy-related CO2 emissions will decrease just 16.2 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Reducing energy-related CO2 emissions will be more challenging and elusive in some sectors and processes than others. Policy support will be needed to reduce barriers to decarbonization.

As electrification spreads across sectors and end-uses, overall electricity supply may need to double by 2050. At the same time, the carbon intensity of electricity generation would have to drop to at least 90 percent of its current level to enable deep decarbonization.

Decarbonizing the power sector, therefore, will require a suite of measures, including significant expansion of renewable energy capacity, deployment of other low-carbon energy technologies, and improved energy efficiency. According to the IPCC, renewables could provide 63 to 81 percent of global electricity generation by 2100 without causing grid reliability issues or major cost increases. Analyses by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have similarly concluded that renewables can provide nearly 80 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2050. According to NREL, today’s commercially available renewable technologies are “more than adequate” to meet that target. Deep decarbonization of the electricity system will also require some combination of other low- or zero-carbon technologies, such as nuclear power or carbon capture.

=== B. Reducing Emissions from Transportation, Buildings, and Industry ===

Direct emissions from transportation, commercial and residential buildings, and industry together account for nearly two-thirds of U.S. carbon pollution. Emissions from buildings and industry have remained relatively flat since the mid-2000s, while emissions from transportation have steadily increased since 2012 after several years of decline. Deep decarbonization of these sectors will depend on large-scale electrification, dramatic improvements in energy efficiency, and development of new materials and processes.

In 2016, transportation surpassed the power sector as the leading source of carbon pollution in the United States. Decarbonizing this sector will involve steep emissions reductions across end-uses, including on-road vehicles, shipping, aviation, and rail. Achieving those reductions will require a variety of measures, such as increasing fuel efficiency, shifting toward low-carbon fuels and vehicles, increasing public transit, and reducing overall vehicle miles traveled.

In the buildings sector, electrification (i.e., switching from oil and natural gas to electricity) and greater efficiency can dramatically reduce emissions. By one estimate, efficiency improvements could reduce U.S. electricity demand 16 percent by 2035, with savings largely driven by reduced energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. Other estimates suggest that energy efficiency could reduce U.S. energy consumption by as much as 30 percent by 2050.

Despite the potential for energy efficiency to reduce emissions across sectors, the industrial sector remains very challenging to decarbonize. This highly diverse sector – which includes chemicals, iron and steel, cement production, and other energy-intensive industries – will require industry- and process-specific measures to reduce emissions. These measures may include, but are not limited to, efficiency improvements, the use of new materials and processes, and switching to low-carbon fuels and feedstocks.

=== Negative Emissions ===

Limiting warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century will require some combination of nature-based (or “natural”) and technology-based carbon sequestration and removal. Natural approaches include measures in the agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors to improve CO2 capture and storage. For decades, U.S. forests, grasslands, peat bogs and other lands have served as “carbon sinks,” absorbing more CO2 than they emit. Continued maintenance of these lands and management practices of agricultural lands could offset up to 45 percent of U.S. emissions by 2050.

Technology-based approaches using carbon capture and storage (CCS) involve sequestration and either storage or utilization of emissions. The most mature of these approaches is bioenergy with CSS, or BECCS, in which CO2 is captured from facilities that either combust biomass for electricity or convert biomass to fuels. Other nascent approaches include direct air capture, in which CO2 is captured from ambient air, and installation of CCS technology at coaland gas-fired power plants and some industrial facilities.

=== Reducing Non-CO2 Emissions ===

Deep decarbonization of the U.S. economy will also require mitigation of non-CO2 emissions, which account for nearly one-fifth of U.S. emissions. These highly potent greenhouse gases (including methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, and other fluorinated gases) are associated with a diverse range of end-uses, from air conditioning to agriculture. Reducing nonCO2 emissions will require improving monitoring, developing cost-effective substitutes, furthering technological advances in industrial processes, and other measures.

  • Karl Hausker, Senior Fellow, Climate Program, World Resources Institute
  • Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force
  • Shannon Angielski, Executive Director, Carbon Utilization Research Council
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
    Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee 2123 Rayburn
    permalink, rss, atom

The Costs of Climate Change: From Coasts to Heartland, Health to Security

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

Last month, expert witnesses told us that the economic costs of climate change will be significant. But what will these costs look like for the individuals, businesses, and communities facing severe coastal flooding and storms, decreased agricultural productivity, increased health threats, and national risks to security? To answer this question, on July 24th, the House Budget Committee will hear testimony from five expert witnesses on the impacts of climate change to coastal communities, agricultural economies, public health, and national security – and the implications for the federal budget.

Climate change puts millions of people at risk from coastal flooding and storms — Coastal homes, businesses, infrastructure, and lives are threatened by more intense hurricanes, increased flooding, saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies, and reduced fishery productivity. More than 300,000 residential and commercial coastal properties , valued at approximately $136 billion today, are projected to be at risk of chronic tidal flooding by 2045 – even absent heavy rains or storms. Major disasters related to hurricanes, severe storms, and flooding have been getting worse, too. In the last three years, such disasters caused more than 3,400 deaths in the United States, compared to less than 200 deaths over a similar period 35 years ago. By 2050, the risk of being hit by a category 4 or 5 hurricane could increase by 275 percent from 1980 levels, and eight out of nine U.S. real estate companies are already citing operational risks and costs from flooding and hurricanes in their environmental disclosures. Cumulative damages to coastal property from sea level rise and storm surge are projected to reach $3.6 trillion through 2100 unless we take action. The federal costs for flood prevention, flood insurance, and disaster response will grow. Flood insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program are already increasing, with the six costliest years all occurring since 2005, and federal spending on hurricane relief and recovery is projected to increase 33 percent faster than the growth in the economy by 2075.

Climate change will further strain farmers and the agricultural economy — The changing climate will lead to heat stress in plants and livestock, reduced soil health and moisture, shifts in pollination, and greater pressure from weeds, pests, and diseases. These changes will result in declining crop yields and livestock and poultry productivity , increased rates of crop failure, and reduced food nutrition. For example, hotter temperatures and a doubling of water deficits by midcentury are expected to reduce corn yields in Indiana by 16 to 20 percent, reduce soybean yields by 9 to 11 percent, and double the number of livestock heat stress days. The average inflation-adjusted price of crops is projected to increase 20 percent by 2050 . Planting alternate crops, new farm and soil management practices, and emerging technologies can help farmers adapt but come at a cost for agricultural communities already under significant financial pressure. The federal government will also absorb additional costs. For example, climate change could increase crop insurance costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat by 40 percent by 2080.

Climate change is the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century — More than 90 health organizations have jointly identified climate change as a public health emergency, and children, pregnant women, older adults, outdoor workers, and low-income and marginalized communities are disproportionately vulnerable. By midcentury, more than 90 million people in the United States – a 100-fold increase – will experience 30 or more days with a heat index above 105°F in an average year. Such extreme heat and heat waves will increase hospitalization for heatstroke and cardiovascular, respiratory, and kidney disorders and could cause thousands of deaths annually. Degraded air quality and higher pollen concentrations will increase the incidence of respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, asthma, and allergies. More people will be exposed to infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks (such as Zika and Lyme disease), toxic algal blooms, and waterborne diseases. Cases of tickborne disease have already more than doubled from 2004 to 2016. Severe storms can disrupt critical healthcare systems and infrastructure for months, as well as directly costing lives. The costs to the public health system and federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, although not yet quantified, are likely to be significant.

Climate change threatens defense readiness and stability around the world — The intelligence community, senior defense officials, and Department of Defense (DOD) strategies and plans have consistently identified climate change as a national security challenge and threat multiplier. U.S. military facilities, operations, and equipment are vulnerable to storms, sea level rise, flooding, wildfires, and drought. In just the last year, hurricane and flood damage to Camp Lejeune and Tyndall and Offutt Air Force Bases will require $8.5 billion to repair – and the DOD assesses that approximately two-thirds of mission assurance priority installations are at risk. Melting sea ice is opening the Arctic to increased competition with Russia and China for natural resources and access to sea routes. Globally, climate change will exacerbate food and water insecurity, infectious disease outbreaks, natural resource scarcity, commodity price shocks, economic distress and inequality, natural disaster severity, and population displacement and migration. These in turn will increase the risk of social unrest, political instability, and conflict abroad – and increase the frequency, scale, complexity, and cost of future DOD missions.

At this upcoming hearing, the Budget Committee will continue to examine the challenges that climate change poses to the American people and economy, building on its June hearing and looking more closely at specific sectors.

  • Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association
  • Stefani Millie Grant, Senior Manager for External Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever
  • Rear Admiral Lower Half Ann C. Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, Office of the Governor of Virginia
  • Rich Powell, Executive Director, ClearPath
  • Rear Admiral Upper Half David W. Titley, Ph.D., Affiliate Professor of Meteorology and of International Affairs, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University

Field Hearing: Protecting Every Citizen: Assessing Emergency Preparedness for Underserved Populations

Tue, 23 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

MacMahon Student Center, Saint Peter’s University, 47 Glenwood Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey

Opening Statement Witnesses
  • Major Louis V. Bucchere, Commanding Officer, Emergency Management Section, New Jersey State Police
  • Kelly Boyd, Access and Functional Needs Planner, Preparedness Bureau/Emergency Management Section, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
  • Elizabeth Curda, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office
  • Marcie Roth, Chief Executive Officer Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
  • Dorian Herrell, Director, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, City of Newark
  • Luke Koppisch, Deputy Director, Alliance Center for Independence
  • Laurence Flint, MD, New Jersey Chapter Representative American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Disaster Preparedness Committee
  • House Homeland Security Committee
    Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Subcommittee
    permalink, rss, atom

Older events: 1 2 3 ... 109