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Marshall Opening Statement at Environment Subcommittee Markup of H.R. 5519, H.R. 4656, and H.R. 3297

Mar 4, 2020
Opening Statement

Thank you for holding this markup, Chairwoman Sherrill.

Today we will be marking up three bipartisan bills at the subcommittee level. All three have been negotiated at the staff level through open and transparent conversations so I want to applaud the Members and staff on both sides for the efficient example they have set.

The first bill, H.R. 5519, the Atmospheric Climate Intervention Research Act, directs NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research office to include the results and effects of climate intervention methods in their research.

Although it may be farfetched right now, climate intervention and geoengineering methods - like stratospheric aerosol injection - have the potential to slow down and even prevent some of the causes of a changing climate. But before those methods are developed and widely deployed, we need to thoroughly understand their effects on health and the general composition of Earth’s atmosphere. This bill gives NOAA the statutory authority to continue their research efforts based on funding that Congress has already provided in this area. Thank you to Dr. McNerney for introducing this bill.

The second bill, H.R. 4656, the Background Ozone Research Act, was introduced by Mr. McAdams and cosponsored by my fellow Committee Members Mr. Rooney and Mr. Olson.

This bill directs the EPA to enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to publish a study regarding the research needs related to background ozone. While we do know that background ozone can be produced by natural sources like wildfires and transported by winds, there is much to be desired in terms of knowledge about how much background contributes to ground level ozone and how to incorporate these trends into the National Ambient Air Quality Stands, or NAAQS. This bill is a good first step in improving our understanding of the current and future research needs as it’s related to background ozone.

The final bill today is H.R. 3297, the Harmful Algal Bloom Essential Forecasting Act. This bipartisan bill was introduced by Mr. Rooney and has a number of Science Committee cosponsors. That should be no surprise given the interest we have had on harmful algal blooms (HABs) and hypoxia this Congress.

This legislation is short and straightforward. The forecasting services of HABs and employees at NOAA who are essential to conducting those are expected to continue during a lapse in appropriations. By no means should we encourage a disrupted appropriations process, but as we’ve seen over the past couple of years, these things do happen. This bill simply ensures that in the unlikely event that appropriations are lapsed again, the HABs forecasting that NOAA publishes will continue without diminishing their accuracy.  I want to thank Mr. Rooney for introducing this bill and all of my colleagues for negotiating the necessary changes.

I also want to again express my gratitude for the hard work of all those involved to make this a bipartisan and easy markup of commonsense legislation.

Thank you Madam Chair and I yield back the balance of my time.

116th Congress