Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a full committee oversight hearing on “Promoting American Leadership in Reducing Air Emissions through Innovation.”

At the hearing, senators received testimony from the private sector, academics, and other stakeholders on efforts to reduce air emissions through the advancement of new technologies, efficient practices in manufacturing, and developments in energy production.

The hearing featured testimony from Kipp Coddington from the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming; Ross Eisenberg, vice president for the National Association of Manufacturers; and Zoe Lipman, director of the BlueGreen Alliance.

For more information on their testimonies click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today, we are here to discuss America’s continued leadership in reducing air emissions.

“The United States has always been a leader in reducing air pollution by supporting and allowing the private sector to find innovative ways to reduce emissions.

“In fact, since 2005, the United States has reduced its combustion-related carbon dioxide emissions more than any nation in the world.

“The development of innovative drilling methods has allowed domestic oil and gas producers to economically access natural gas, a low-emitting fuel.

“Development of new technologies has consistently reduced our emissions, grown our energy, and improved how we use our resources.

“Between 1970 and 2015, GDP grew by 246 percent, while emissions of particulate matter, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, dropped by an average of 70 percent. 

“New technologies have improved how we used coal to reduce our emissions.

“Today, I am excited to hear about research at the University of Wyoming on similarly promising technologies that will allow us to both continue reducing our emissions and use our natural resources.

“The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources was established by our state legislature in 2006, and it serves as a bridge between academia and industry.

“The school conducts applied research to develop innovative solutions to solve critical energy and environmental challenges faced by our nation and the world.

“These technologies include carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, which has already received bipartisan support from my colleagues on this committee.

“In addition to carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, the University of Wyoming is exploring research related to advanced coal combustion, rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts, carbon engineering, and measurements of methane and volatile organic compounds emissions from oil and gas operations. 

“Significant innovation is also occurring in the manufacturing sector.

“American manufacturers are the most productive in the world due to their dedication to always improving efficiency.

“At the same time, American manufacturers in their entirety have a strong track record of reducing their environmental impact.

“According to the National Association of Manufacturers, who is represented here today, greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing sector has decreased by 10 percent over the past decade, while increasing their value to the economy by 19 percent.

“During the last administration, America moved away from an innovative approach and instead pursued a regulatory approach, which punished our businesses instead of supporting and collaborating with them.

“The last administration’s misguided policies included signing the U.S. up for the Paris Agreement, a deal that I thought was a bad deal.

“It would have stifled American growth.

“I’d like to introduce into the record the article published on the front page of yesterday’s Washington Times titled, ‘Emissions Report Casts Doubt on Paris Accord’ the sub-headline is ‘China Still Polluting as U.S. Cleans Air.’

“Without object this will be submitted into the record.

“The article explains that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are projected to decline this year.

“Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions in China and India, signatories to the Paris Agreement, are projected to increase.

“Today, we will also hear about how regulations are hindering the private sector’s ability to be innovative to the point where industry is abandoning investments in technologies to make environmental improvements.

“For example, new source review requirements under the Clean Air Act are discouraging businesses from retrofitting their existing facilities with equipment that would reduce emissions, as well as from making operational changes that would be more efficient.

“President Trump has demonstrated a commitment to reducing these barriers to American business through his executive order promoting American energy independence, and a presidential memorandum on reducing the regulatory barriers that domestic manufacturers face.

“Today I look forward to examining how we can provide American business the space to do what they do best, solving problems through innovative solutions.”