EPW Business Meeting Statement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a business meeting to consider S.1857, A bill to establish a compliance deadline of May 15, 2023, for Step 2 emissions standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces; S. 2461, Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018; Substitute amendment to S. 2827, A bill to amend the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Act; Substitute amendment to S. 1934, Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act; S. 593, Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act; S. 1537, Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Act; the nomination of Harold B Parker, of New Hampshire, to be Federal Cochairperson of the Northern Border Regional Commission; and 4 General Services Administration resolutions. Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Chairman, I’d like to take a few minutes now to discuss the items that we have marked up today, some of which my Democratic colleagues and I have sought to amend. 

“As someone who almost always looks for the positive – I will start with the measures where we agree.  First, I was happy to see that we could come to a compromise on Senator Sullivan’s Alaskan diesel bill.  I think we addressed a real technical issue for the remote areas in Alaska, while also trying to find ways we can better improve energy reliability and air quality for these areas.  I thank Senator Sullivan and the Chairman’s staff for working with mine on this issue.

“Additionally, we have advanced legislation to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act today. I want to thank Senator Cardin for his leadership on this issue. Neotropical migratory birds are special to both of our states. People travel to the First State to observe Red Knots, which benefit from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act.

“Further, we have considered Senator Capito’s Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. This legislation enjoys bipartisan support and is endorsed by the sportsmen’s community.

“I am also pleased that we were able to add the Udall Foundation reauthorization bill to our agenda today. Last updated in 2004, this reauthorization provides needed updates to the Foundation. One of the changes included in the substitute amendment would be to rename the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in honor of our friend, the late Senator McCain, which I believe is a great tribute and, on behalf of all of our colleagues, I thank the Chairman including that provision.

“We also considered today the nomination of Harold Parker to be Federal Co-Chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission. We heard from the nominee at a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing two weeks ago, and I am pleased to support his nomination.

“In addition, we approved four General Services Administration prospectus resolutions today. While I support having these resolutions on the markup, I want to take this opportunity to voice my extreme concerns about the status of the FBI Headquarters consolidation project.  The Inspector General at the GSA issued a report last month on the decision–making process employed by the GSA, and it raises serious concerns about the project. I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, and members of this Committee to get the answers we need on this project.

“Finally, a few words about the two bills about which I have concerns.  First, there is S.1857, Senator Capito’s bill that delays Clean Air Act standards for residential wood heaters by three years. Old, inefficient residential wood heaters produce a deadly mix of air pollution that can trigger asthma attacks, cause lung damage and create real problems for air quality. In Delaware alone, residential wood heaters are the second largest source of particulate matter pollution, contributing more than on-highway vehicles, electric utilities and petroleum industries combined. 

“A three-year delay in the standards that manufacturers are already meeting today, just doesn’t make sense to me.  I think we can do better, and I presented another option in Carper Amendment #1. Without these changes, I could not support Senator Capito’s bill.

“Second, we have S.2461, Senator Wicker’s BRICK Act.  This legislation delays air toxic Clean Air Act standards for the brick industry by two years.  These are standards that should have been in place almost two decades ago and EPA has already stated they are going to give the industry an extra year to comply.  I have concerns about the public health implications of delaying the standards even further which is why I voted no on that bill, as well.

“Mr. Chairman, as always, I am pleased to work together with you and our colleagues whenever we can do so, and, as a result, we’ve made progress on a number of different fronts today.  My thanks to everyone – members and staff alike – whose efforts have helped make that progress possible.”