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Committee Approves Bills Advancing Water Conservation, Commercial Hybrid Trucks

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


Today, the Science and Technology Committee unanimously approved two bills to enhance water conservation, and a bill to advance research and development (R&D) of commercial hybrid trucks.

"Research and development of technologies that promote greater efficiencies in water use is one of the several responses we can make to the water shortages many of our constituents are experiencing," said Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX). "The Produced Water Utilization Act of 2008, which I introduced, would provide important funding for research to purify and use produced water from oil and natural gas extraction for human, agricultural and industrial purposes."

"Further, Mr. Sensenbrenner's heavy duty hybrid vehicle bill, promotes research into advanced technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles. While heavy duty trucks make up a small portion of the market, the potential for fuel savings through hybrid technology is substantial."

H.R. 2339, the Produced Water Utilization Act of 2007, introduced by Ranking Member Hall, establishes a research, development, and demonstration program to advance the beneficial reuse of water produced in connection to oil and gas extraction. The United States has an enormous reserve of energy from oil and natural gas within our borders - both on land and in our offshore development areas. However, for every barrel of oil produced, extraction of these vital domestic resources produces ten barrels of saline, brackish and generally unusable water. In fact, today we generate over 5 billion gallons of produced water every day. This water is, to a large extent, currently unusable and environmentally hazardous.

Hall noted that "At a time when usable water supplies are more vital than ever to support our economy, safe and sustainable uses of produced water need to be researched and pursued."

H.R. 6323, the Heavy Hybrid Truck Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 2008, introduced Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), encourages hybrid research for trucks by offering manufactures grants to build, test, and eventually sell hybrid heavy duty trucks. In addition, the bill encourages the Department of Energy (DOE) to expand its advanced energy storage technology research to include hybrid trucks.

"The Department of Energy administers several grants to speed production of hybrid cars, but does not have a single grant specifically intended for trucks," Sensenbrenner noted in a statement for the record. "Trucks currently consume 48% of our fuel and each individual truck consumes substantially more fuel than a passenger car. In addition, industries turn their trucks over faster than consumers and can therefore adopt new technologies faster. This means trucks, not cars, are the low hanging fruit."

An amendment to H.R. 6323, offered by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), was also approved, establishing a pilot program at DOE to test the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the national electric power grid.

The Committee also approved H.R. 3957, the Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), which institutes an R&D program to promote the efficiency and conservation of water within the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Research and Development. An amendment offered by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) was approved by voice vote, which adds a section to H.R. 3957, requiring the EPA to create a strategic plan related to water use efficiency and conservation.

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