EPW Business Meeting Statement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held a business meeting to consider the USE IT Act, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2019, the S.__, John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2019 and 8 General Services Administration resolutions. Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this business meeting to consider three bipartisan bills and a number of General Services Administration (GSA) resolutions. Today is yet another example of how far we can go if we work together.

“I would like to begin my remarks by talking about two pieces of legislation on which I’ve worked closely with our Chairman and other members of this committee– the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, known as DERA, and the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies, known as the USE IT Act.  Both of these bills are good for our environment and our economy, and are important in our fight against climate change. 

“The DERA bill before us extends and improves upon a program created in 2005 by our friend and former colleague, George Voinovich, a Republican from Cleveland, Ohio. George invited me to join him in creating DERA in 2005, and – along with Senator Inhofe, I’ve remained one of the program’s biggest supporters ever since.

“More than two decades after tougher diesel emission standards were implemented by EPA, our country still relies heavily on millions of diesel engines that are not meeting those standards. Unfortunately, these older, diesel engines are some of the biggest contributors to our nation’s smog and soot pollution problems.  These dirty diesel engines are also our nation’s largest producer of black carbon – a potent climate pollutant.

“By incentivizing people to replace or retrofit their older diesel engines with American-made clean vehicle technology, DERA cleans the air, betters our climate and creates good-paying American jobs.  For every dollar we invest in the DERA program, our nation sees more than $13 in health and economic benefits. I want to thank my long-time lead Republican cosponsor, Senator Inhofe, for being a staunch ally and supporter of DERA since day one, too. I’d also like to thank our Chairman and Senators Whitehouse, Sullivan, Booker, Capito, Gillibrand, Cramer, and Van Hollen for their cosponsorship. Today, the unique DERA program is one of EPA’s most effective clean air programs – it only makes sense that we build on this success and continue the program for five more years.

“The USE IT Act we are voting on today is intended to support the widespread development and deployment of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration technologies, also known as CCUS.  This includes making smart investments in direct air capture, which sucks carbon dioxide right out of the air. Today, scientists tell us that CCUS technologies, including direct air capture, are essential if we are ever going to meet our climate goals. I believe the USE It Act is critical to ensure our country moves these CCUS technologies forward.

“Let me hasten to add that DERA and the USE IT Act cannot be the only climate actions that our committee takes. We need broad, bold climate action to protect our planet. That said, I do appreciate that now, at a time when our country is looking for ways to create jobs, achieve healthier air and a safer climate, cleaning up dirty diesel engines and deploying CCUS are two of the many ways we can achieve these goals.

“That leads me to our third bipartisan bill, which would reauthorize funding for the Kennedy Center. Thank you for introducing this legislation, Mr. Chairman. I am happy to cosponsor the bill, along with our colleagues, Senators Capito and Cardin. This bill is another excellent example of what we can accomplish when we work together to get things done. I look forward to collaborating with you to get this bipartisan bill though the Senate and House, and to the president’s desk.

“Finally, we are considering eight GSA prospectus resolutions. These are not controversial prospectuses and have been identified as high priorities by the GSA. Mr. Chairman, as you know, members of the minority still have many unanswered questions and unresolved concerns about the FBI Headquarters, and the decision by the FBI and the GSA to pull the plug on a long-studied consolidated campus away from its current location. I look forward to working with you. Mr. Chairman, and the members of this Committee to get the long-awaited answers to our outstanding questions.

“As we move these items forward, I hope that we will continue to work together productively and in a bipartisan way to address some of our biggest problems facing our country today.  That’s what the lion’s share of our constituents want to do and, fortunately, that’s what we are pretty darn good at doing on this Committee.

“Thank you.”