Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) praised the House passage of two bipartisan Science Committee bills: H.R. 290, the Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act and H.R. 342, the Cost-Share Accountability Act.
“I’m glad we could kick off the 118th Congress by passing two smart, bipartisan bills,” Lucas said. “Remote sensing is revolutionizing the way we grow our crops, respond to natural disasters, and provide humanitarian relief. The Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act will help us evaluate the state of this industry and how regulations are affecting its growth. It’s smart legislation that will keep America competitive in this critical technology. I’m grateful to Ranking Member Lofgren for cosponsoring this bill with me. I’d also like to thank Rep. Jay Obernolte for introducing the Cost-Share Accountability Act with Rep. Bill Foster. This bill provides more transparency into the Department of Energy’s use of waivers for cost-share requirements, which helps ensure we’re maximizing the efficiency of taxpayer dollars for energy research, development, and demonstration. I’m looking forward to getting both of these bills signed into law.”
“I am pleased that the House passed the bipartisan Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act of 2023 today,” said Lofgren. “This bill updates statutory requirements to include additional reporting and shorten the timelines for the licensing of commercial remote sensing systems, consistent with revised regulations. I encourage our colleagues in the Senate to take up this good-government legislation and send it to President Biden’s desk for signature.”
“When companies apply for grant funding through the Department of Energy, the grant typically includes a cost-sharing requirement that protects taxpayer investment by ensuring that other parties take on some of the risk in successfully completing the project,” said Obernolte. “The DOE has the ability to waive this requirement in some circumstances, but doing so can limit competition for grant funding. As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to conduct oversight of these waivers, to ensure transparency when they are employed, and to protect the use of taxpayer dollars.”
“For Congress to fulfill our oversight responsibilities, we must be able to access information on how our departments and agencies are operating," said Foster. "At the Department of Energy, cost-sharing requirements are in place to help protect the use of federal funds. It’s critical Congress understands how cost-sharing is implemented in support of the department’s next-generation research and development.”
The Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act, sponsored by Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), updates reporting requirements for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs so that Congress can monitor how regulations are impacting the growth and improvement of the commercial remote sensing industry. Remote sensing uses data collected from satellites to produce images of Earth, which can serve as a resource for a wide variety of industries, like agriculture, finance, trade, and energy.
The Cost-Share Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) and Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to submit a quarterly report to Congress describing the instances where they have modified or waived cost-share requirements for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities. This bill creates greater transparency and competitiveness in the Department’s awards process.