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Hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee - Executive Session


Location: Washington, DC

Good afternoon, and welcome to today's executive session. I will briefly summarize some of the bills before the Committee. We expect we may have some recorded votes and I know my colleagues will also like to spend time speaking about legislation important to them.

S. 1956, the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Prohibition Act of 2011, would give the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) the authority to prohibit an operator of U.S. civil aircraft from participating in the EU ETS if the Secretary determines the prohibition to be in the public interest. I believe we must all work together to find a way to move forward on this issue that is both legally and politically sustainable. I think that the airline industry needs to take steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions now. I do not discount or dismiss the technical and financial challenges to this effort, but limiting pollution and protecting our environment is too imperative to ignore.

We will also consider S. 1980, Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, a bill that Senator Inouye supports that would prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU or "pirate fishing"). Senator Kerry's bill, S. 2279, R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Preservation Act of 2012, is a bill formally transmitted to Congress by the Administration that would help protect the international wreck site of the R.M.S. Titanic from looting and intrusive research, and recognize legal salvage interests. We will also consider S. 2388, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Amendments Act of 2012 which would improve the Nation's ocean survey workforce by reauthorizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Office Corps (NOAA Corps). The Corps was last authorized in 2002.

I am pleased to support the nomination of Mr. Michael P. Huerta, to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Huerta has first-hand experience with the challenges confronting the FAA and he has bipartisan support. I think we can all agree that it is vitally important for us to maintain the highest level of safety in the aviation industry and I hope we can move quickly to fill this post. We will also consider the nominations of: Mr. William P. Doyle, to be a Commissioner at the Federal Maritime Commission; Dr. Patricia K. Falcone, to be Associate Director of National Security and International Affairs for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); and the promotions of three senior officers in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps.

This will not be the Committee's last Executive Session. The Committee has a number of bills that will be ready in September. Although I would have preferred to move them today, I want to give my colleagues the time they need to review these bills. Two of the bills that we plan to take up in September, S. 3291, the Fair Telephone Billing Act and S. 3378, the Forensics Science and Standards Act are bills that I introduced and I believe it is imperative that we move them forward.

So with all that, I will turn to Senator Hutchison. Thank you all very much. Ranking Member Hutchison.

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