Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening remarks from the committee hearing.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, participated in a hearing on the scientific debate over attributing past extreme weather events to climate change. Ranking Member Capito highlighted forward-looking, commonsense solutions to reduce emissions, strengthen America’s energy grid, and increase infrastructure resiliency.
Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as delivered.
“Thank you, Chairman Carper…I want to thank and talk about our committee’s strong bipartisan work to reduce emissions and make our infrastructure more resilient. The chairman talked about that.
“Legislation such as the USE IT Act reducing barriers to the deployment of carbon capture, the AIM Act directing a phasedown of heat-trapping HFCs, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act supporting carbon-free nuclear energy, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that the chairman talked about with its investments in emissions reduction and resiliency, all passed in a bipartisan way.
“As we can continue to build on that record by passing the ADVANCE Act in the NDAA to help deploy advanced nuclear reactors and technologies, as well as to renew our efforts on passing a permitting bill that will allow us to unlock American innovation across all types of technologies and bring American manufacturing back home.
“Several provisions of the IIJA are especially relevant to today’s topic.
“That law’s reauthorization of surface transportation programs included a climate title for the first time, establishing formula programs to help states build more resilient infrastructure and reduce certain emissions.
“The law also included funding for hydrogen hubs, like the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (known as ARCH2) that will benefit my state of West Virginia and our region.
“And the IIJA included $25 million to help EPA process Class VI permits and $50 million to help states obtain primacy for permitting Class VI wells, a necessary step towards broader deployment of carbon capture and storage.
“Despite the resources we provided in the IIJA, the EPA has not granted Class VI primacy to any state under this administration, nor has EPA granted an individual Class VI permit to store carbon dioxide since the Obama administration, with 169 Class VI wells now waiting to be permitted, according to the EPA.
“Commercial scale deployment of carbon capture and storage, I think is vital if we are to meet our energy reliability needs while addressing emissions.
“The administration must quickly review and process Class VI primacy applications from states, as well as individual permit applications for projects in states without primacy.
“As our bipartisan work continues, there is widespread agreement that the climate is changing and that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to that change.
“But I am not sure that the focus of the hearing…is on that scientific consensus.
“At the end of the Obama administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a question-and-answer page about ‘extreme event attribution’ that remains on the agency’s climate.gov website today.
“One question posed there is, ‘what can’t extreme event attribution tell us?’
“I will enter the entirety of the answer into the hearing record, but the short answer is ‘It can’t tell us whether global warming caused a specific event . . . [W]ith global warming and extreme events, it’s not a Yes or No question.’
“I want to be clear: this does not mean that climate change has no impact on the intensity of weather patterns.
“The trends are clear and we need to be ready, and with technologies and adaptation strategies like those I have described, policy areas about which this Committee has demonstrated expertise.
“It is crucial that we have effective solutions that reduce flood risk and coastal storm risk across the country.
“Since 2014, the Committee has kept to a biennial schedule of passing bipartisan water resources legislation to advance these solutions.
“And I look forward to continuing this track record, we’ve already had several hearings, next year with our latest WRDA bill.
“By contrast, regressive regulatory policies or carbon taxes that pick winners and losers and inhibit U.S. energy production will disproportionately harm our most vulnerable communities through lost opportunities and displaced jobs.
“Rising energy costs and weakening the reliability of our grid will leave these constituents without access to affordable electricity and other basic necessities.
“Recognizing this, the government should not put in place one-size-fits-all regulatory mandate.
“Successful climate technologies of the future may not even exist today, so we need to make sure we provide the adequate conditions for necessary innovation to take place.
“Despite the doom and gloom around climate change, I think there are reasons to be optimistic.
“American innovation will rise to the occasion.
“I am interested in today’s discussion of developing research, but I will be more interested to hear from our panel on what we should do today to build on the committee’s record of bipartisan solutions.
“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”
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