Thank you, Chairman Lamb.
H.R. 34, the Energy and Water Research Integration Act, aims to improve our understanding of the critical relationship between energy and water. The production of energy is dependent on reliable sources of water, and the distribution of clean water is dependent on the availability of energy. This is the energy-water nexus H.R. 34 seeks to improve.
Water and energy management is often impacted by regional challenges and resources. In my home state of Oklahoma, agriculture is the single largest consumer of water, and it also contributes to the energy sector through the production of biofuels.
Additionally, natural gas production – namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing – requires large volumes of water and can also produce water.
The energy-water nexus R&D authorized in this bill could improve efficiency and production in both sectors. That’s why I cosponsored this legislation, and I’m committed to working with Chairwoman Johnson on moving this bill forward.
However, I do have some concerns about the path we took to today’s mark-up.
At the beginning of this Congress, my colleagues on the Democratic side stressed their commitment to regular legislative order. Yet this bill-- the first we are marking up on the Subcommittee level--was never submitted to the Department of Energy for technical comments.
Since the main action of H.R. 34 is to authorize DOE’s energy research, development, and demonstration programs to consider water issues, this is an important step before we move ahead with this bill.
As an original cosponsor of this bill, I felt obligated to submit H.R. 34 to DOE for their technical comments, which we did earlier this week.
Moving forward without comments from the Department is rushed and unnecessary. With that in mind, I’d like to ask Chairwoman Johnson that we refrain from bringing this bill before the Full Committee for markup until we have received the Department’s feedback.
This legislation is useful and productive, and I am proud to be a cosponsor.
But if we as a Committee want to stand by our priority to commit to regular order, we must gather input from the relevant stakeholders, even if it requires taking extra time to do so.
That said, I believe H.R. 34 will help prioritize the critical relationship between energy and water systems, and will help develop technologies to improve energy efficiency, the environment, and economic stability.
Thank you, Chairman Lamb, and I yield the balance of my time.