Upton and Whitfield Appointed Conferees on Transportation Bill

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today selected Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitefield (R-KY) to serve on the Conference Committee that will negotiate a House and Senate agreement on transportation legislation. The conference will negotiate provisions within the Energy and Commerce Committee’s purview, including approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, vehicle safety measures, and a framework to ensure the safe management and reuse of coal ash.

”Keystone XL is an infrastructure project that will create thousands of American jobs and fortify our nation’s energy security without costing taxpayers a dime or adding a cent to our deficit. By dragging out the approval process, the president has put this critical jobs and energy project in jeopardy. Congress must now intervene to ensure America does not lose this vital North American energy source to China and other global competitors. Majorities in both the House and Senate have voted in favor of this project, the American people want this project, and it is time to get the job done. 

”Likewise, the conference is an opportunity to enact a legislative fix for EPA’s ill-advised plans for coal ash regulation. EPA’s proposal puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, threatens the beneficial use of coal ash, and could drive up electricity rates for American families and businesses. Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee worked hard to come up with a bipartisan compromise that will enhance environmental protections without sacrificing jobs or putting further strain on our economy. Both the Keystone XL and coal ash provisions are products of commonsense legislation that enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the House as stand-alone bills, and I hope to see similar bipartisan backing in these negotiations,” said Upton. “The Energy and Commerce Committee has focused extensively on job creation, affordable energy, and necessary protections for consumers in the 112th Congress, and I appreciate the opportunity to address all of these priorities through these bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.”

”I am pleased to have been appointed to the Transportation bill extension conference committee,” said Whitfield. “The Keystone pipeline is essential to our energy security and economic growth. This pipeline will create approximately 20,000 direct jobs and an estimated 100,000 indirect jobs, while bringing nearly one million barrels of oil to market in the United States. Another major component of the transportation extension package is the coal ash provision, which will ensure that the EPA does not propose standards that will hinder coal-fired electricity or restrict the recycling of coal ash in concrete and other products.”

Motor vehicle safety, including oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), falls within the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee. At a recent hearing, the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee examined proposed motor vehicle safety provisions. The committee received input from the Administrator of NHTSA, automobile manufacturers, and consumer advocates, expertise that will inform the negotiations as the House conferees work to ensure that any new regulations balance both the benefits and consumer costs.

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