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Energy And Water Research Integration Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington D.C.


Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H.R. 3598, the Energy and Water Research Integration Act, and I agree with Mr. Tonko, the gentleman from New York. As with H.R. 3029, the bill we are considering on the floor today has been amended since it was passed out of the Committee on Science and Technology on October 7 of this year.

I supported the intent of the bill, as introduced, which is to ensure consideration of water intensity in the Department of Energy's research, development, and demonstration programs, and through the process of regular order, H.R. 3598 improved. For example, two amendments which were agreed to during the full committee markup clarified that the language of the bill should not be the basis for any new Federal regulations regarding State, local, or tribal water use and should not trigger any increased financial burden on State, local, or tribal governments. However, a few fundamental concerns remained, and during the markup, Chairman Gordon graciously offered to work with our side of the aisle to make changes and improvements to the committee-passed version. What we're considering today is a result of negotiations to draft a good bill acceptable to all.

This amended version of H.R. 3598 requires the Secretary of Energy to assess the energy research, development, and demonstration programs and projects of the Department of Energy and identify those where it's appropriate to integrate water considerations. The Secretary shall then develop a strategic plan outlining the RD&D needs for the programs and projects identified under the assessment. After this plan is developed, the Secretary would have the authority to apply the strategic plan to those appropriate projects identified as the most energy and water intensive and with the most potential to minimize freshwater withdrawal and consumption, increase water use efficiency, and utilize nontraditional water sources, among other considerations.

The amended bill also requires interagency nonduplication and coordination. In addition, the amended bill establishes, in coordination with other relevant Federal agencies, an energy-water architecture council that will promote and enable improved energy and water resource data collection, reporting, and technological innovation.

Ensuring adequate water supply for municipal and agricultural use and also energy production should be a primary area of focus for our country. Almost all of our energy sources, including renewable energy, require water to be productive, and, conversely, most water processes require energy to be useful. This bill is timely and needed in order to ensure that we use both resources efficiently and responsibly.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. TONKO. Mr. Speaker, I will continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself about 2 minutes to close.

Before we end debate today, I want to take a moment to say thank you to a policy adviser of mine that will be going on maternity leave shortly after and likely will not be returning to the Hill for a while.

Elizabeth Kowal Chapel has been on my staff since September 1994 helping me to serve the people of the Fourth Congressional District of Texas. She is originally from my hometown of Rockwall, Texas, and I was happy to hire her way back then as an intern from the University of Texas.

I told her back then that she could be my intern for 3 months, and then we would see where we went from there. At the end of those 3 months, she came to me and asked if she had to leave. I told her, ``Baby Doll, you can stay as long as you like.'' She must have liked it, because over 15 years later, she is leaving me not for another job on the Hill but for the only job better than helping the folks in Texas--that's motherhood. Elizabeth and her husband, Christopher, are expecting a baby boy at the end of January, and I look forward to meeting him, and I hope that he'll be my intern during the year 2020.

Elizabeth has served in my personal office and as my senior energy policy adviser on the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, two committees with some very complex issues. She has done a stellar job with a very heavy workload that she has carried with style and grace. Elizabeth has been a real asset to my staff. She has been a real friend, and she is going to be missed. Her cheerful disposition and commitment to her work have added a great deal to my work on both committees.

I want to take the opportunity to say thank you and wish her the best of luck as a mother. I'm sure she will be just as successful at that job.

I thank the Chair, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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