WASHINGTON, DC – The Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today advanced three bills to the full committee for consideration that modernize the nation’s environmental laws and energy infrastructure.
Chairman Shimkus discusses today’s legislation
#SubEnvironment advanced the following bills to the full committee:
“Cleaning up contaminated sites is a priority for the administration and the Brownfields Program is great for the economy because grants can be directly leveraged into jobs, additional redevelopment funds, and increased residential and commercial property values,” said Chairman Shimkus. “This broadly bipartisan bill will further the goal of promoting infrastructure development and will result in direct economic benefits to all of our districts.”
H.R.___, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017, unanimously passed the subcommittee by voice vote.
- Brownfields are often abandoned, closed, or under-utilized former industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory in a town, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry cleaning establishment or gas station.
- EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S., each of which has the potential for economic development through the Brownfields Program.
- The discussion draft makes improvements to the Brownfields Program, encourages EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, creates jobs, and provides for economic development.
- The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the discussion draft in April.
Discussing the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, Chairman Shimkus commented, “Nuclear waste management policy is not a partisan issue and there is an urgent need for Congress to address this challenge as taxpayer liability continues to skyrocket due to the federal government’s obligations. This committee has received testimony from scores of expert witnesses about challenges associated with managing spent nuclear fuel.”
H.R.___, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, passed the subcommittee by voice vote.
- Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste will be fulfilled.
- This legislation preserves Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal while authorizing interim storage, including private storage initiatives, to provide optionality until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments.
- The subcommittee held a legislative hearing in April of this year.
- For a full list of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work on nuclear waste management policy, click HERE.
“This bill particularly supports our nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing agenda because it aligns air quality permitting for new sources with the extended ozone implementation schedule,” stated Chairman Shimkus. “This means manufacturing facilities can more quickly proceed to new construction or expansion, which will put economic growth on the fast track.”
H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, passed the subcommittee by a vote of 12-8.
- In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 ozone standard following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states.
- H.R. 806, reintroduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. This legislation will ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while maintaining improvements to air quality.
- The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the legislation back in March of this year.
Chairman Walden delivers his opening statement
Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) concluded, “Today’s markup was an important step in our efforts to modernize our energy infrastructure and update our environmental laws for the 21st century. These bills are thoughtful solutions that will make a difference for consumers and communities across the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we fully intend to continue to work on these bills as we move towards a full committee markup.”
Electronic copies of the legislation, a background memo, amendment text and votes can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here.