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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I rise with my colleague from New Jersey to discuss the funding provided to the Department of Energy for unconventional fossil energy research and development.

I first want to commend Mr. Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the subcommittee, for his strong support of the unconventional fossil energy research at the Department of Energy. As the committee report notes, the United States' oil shale reserves are estimated to exceed 2 trillion barrels of oil, more than five times the proven oil reserves held by Saudi Arabia. However, additional research is necessary to enable economic and environmentally safe production from this incredibly plentiful domestic resource.

In order to accelerate the safe and effective development of the Nation's oil shale reserves, this legislation provides $25 million for oil shale technology research and development activities.

As chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, I recently chaired a hearing to examine the challenges and opportunities associated with expanding the development and use of unconventional oil and gas production technologies. The subcommittee received testimony from expert witnesses about the need for targeted government research to address specific issues associated with developing these unconventional oil resources.

These research areas include but are not limited to: oil shale resource characterization, the minimization and reuse of process water, the use of high-end computing applied to the physics and chemistry of oil shale production, the modeling and simulation of oil shale exploration and production technologies, and surface and groundwater protection.

It is my hope that the funding provided in this bill will address these and other key science and technology areas that are critical to enabling oil shale production and will be used to advance the environmentally sound and efficient production of our resources rather than a regulatory agenda aimed at restricting such production or limiting access to oil shale reserves located on Federal lands.

I would now like to yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.


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