Examining How Federal Infrastructure Policy Could Help Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

HVC 210, Capitol Visitor Center

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0 Tuesday, February 26, 2019 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446
This is a hearing of the Full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Official Transcript

Panel I
Dr. Daniel Sperling, Board Member, California Air Resources Board | Written Testimony
Ms.Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center | Written Testimony
Professor Thomas P. Lyon, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan | Written Testimony
Mr. Ben Prochazka, Vice President, Electrification Coalition | Written Testimony
Ms. Nancy Young, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Airlines for America | Written Testimony

Panel II
Mr. Kevin DeGood, Director, Infrastructure Policy, Center for American Progress | Written Testimony
Mr. James M. Proctor II, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, McWane Inc. | Written Testimony
Dr. Whitley Saumweber, Director, Stephenson Ocean Security Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies | Written Testimony
Lynn Scarlett, Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, The Nature Conservancy | Written Testimony

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) from today’s hearing:

We can all agree that we want clean air and clean water for our communities, and that we have to be prepared for the challenges posed by a sometimes harsh environment.

As a farmer, I know that the environment is important to both quality of life and the economy.

I also know that we need to work together to find solutions that actually work.

We don’t live in a fairy tale.  That’s where ideas like the Green New Deal come from.  There’s no other way to describe this idea to completely make over our transportation network. 

Who actually believes that we can make aviation “unnecessary” by building some vast high-speed rail system?  Because here in the real world, the poster child for high-speed rail in California has run off the rails right before our eyes. And by the way, this massive shift would put 11 million people with aviation-related jobs out of work.  Those are some of the real consequences of pursuing the goals of this fantasy proposal.

That’s just one example of the Green New Deal’s goals and the trillions of dollars it would likely cost.

Infrastructure is an issue where we can find common ground and bipartisan agreement on “real world solutions.”

In recent years, we passed good bipartisan infrastructure legislation that addressed environmental issues.

For instance, the FAA bill, among other things, establishes an FAA-industry partnership for developing low-energy and low-emission technologies.  The Disaster Recovery Reform Act focuses on making our communities more resilient to disasters.  And we passed three Water Resources Development Acts that address ecosystem restoration, flood risk reduction, and storm risk reduction projects.

Instead of taking the “government-knows-best,” “one-size-fits-all” approach, these laws provide our state, local, and private sector partners with the tools and flexibility to address their needs and to innovate.

The fact is that the private sector is responding to industry-driven and consumer-driven market demands for cleaner energy and cleaner technology.  As a result, we continue to have more fuel-efficient car, truck, train, and aircraft engines, and to develop cleaner alternative fuels.

The airline industry, represented here today, is making considerable progress in reducing emissions, and I look forward to hearing more about their efforts.

The freight rail industry is also making progress, implementing technologies to limit greenhouse gases, increase fuel efficiency, and reduce its carbon footprint.

At the federal level, we need to ensure that our partners have the ability to keep innovating.  

We don’t need sweeping mandates that ignore economic reality and the differing needs of our communities. 

That heavy-handed approach, envisioned by the Green New Deal, doesn’t work.  It just drives entire industries and communities right into the very earth we’re all trying to protect.

Today, I hope our panels can talk about real, practical, and bipartisan solutions – within the Committee’s jurisdiction – for building infrastructure, and improving and responding to our environment.

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