Good morning and thank you Chairman Harris for yielding me time. I want to thank the witnesses for being here to talk about an issue that is very important to me. In particular, I would like to recognize and thank Dr. Daniel Hill, the Chair of Texas A&M Petroleum Engineering Department, and Mr. David Martineau, the Chairman of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO).
Energy policy is and has always been one of my top priorities, both as a Member, and as Chairman of this Committee. I believe strongly that, after prayer, energy is the most important word in the dictionary. It is the foundation upon which our nation has prospered, and the key to our quality of life and standard of living.
That is why I introduced H.R. 6603, which would increase energy security through support for research and development to enable prudent development of U.S. domestic energy resources. This legislation builds on the record of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee during my tenure as Chairman.
The U.S. is blessed with a wealth of unconventional energy resources and we are currently experiencing a revolution in oil and gas production thanks to those resources. This increased production is not only increasing our energy security, it is stimulating our economy and creating much needed jobs. In 2010, unconventional natural gas development alone supported over a million jobs in this country, and this number is expected to more than double by 2035.
This bipartisan legislation promotes the development of oil shale instead of restricting it, and ensures we maximize the benefits of our unconventional oil and gas resources. The bill directs the Department of Energy to undertake R&D activities to address the scientific and technological barriers to oil shale development. It also supports R&D to minimize water use and maximize efficiency in shale oil and gas operations. The legislation includes language from the Produced Water Utilization Act, a bill I sponsored in the 111th Congress and passed through the House with unanimous consent.
In 2005, I helped author Section 999 of the Energy Policy Act, which created a very successful Department of Energy unconventional oil and gas research and development program. The bill before us today is intended to complement the ongoing 999 program--which is currently set to expire in 2014 but I hope will continue beyond that--, as well as provide direction for the DOE oil shale R&D activities and the Administration's proposal for an interagency R&D collaboration on unconventional energy resources.
The only thing that can stop this amazing story from continuing is politics--specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency's thinly veiled campaign to restrict access to these resources. The bill I'm introducing today will help to provide a check against EPA's war on energy by addressing environmental challenges through technological solutions instead of job-killing regulations.
I would like to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter from the American Geosciences Institute in support of H.R. 6603.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and I yield back.