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Chair Johnson Opening Remarks at Legislative Hearing on Revitalizing Communities through the Brownfields Program

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s legislative hearing on reauthorizing the Brownfields program to improve communities with more economic development, increase local tax bases, and create jobs all over the country.  “This has long been a very bipartisan issue, so let me be clear at the outset. I want to continue that bipartisan work today. I look forward to working with my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, on extending this important program to promote environmental cleanup and economic redevelopment across our country. “Our hearing today is timely, because the Brownfields Program formally expires this year. “Importantly, today’s hearing also reaffirms this Committee’s jurisdiction over the program and advances the reauthorization process through regular order. “I appreciate our witnesses for joining us today to shed light on how EPA’s Brownfields Program is currently working, identify opportunities for improvement, and find ways to monitor the progress of grant-funded projects, particularly since the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided an unprecedented infusion of funding to the EPA for brownfields.” COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION   “The Brownfields Program provides critical grant funding and liability protections that allow states, communities, and stakeholders to clean up and redevelop previously contaminated sites. “I’m proud to have represented Eastern and Southeastern Ohio with its rich history of manufacturing and industrial development, and I have seen the significant benefits of brownfields investments in and around my own district. “For example, I mentioned this in our last brownfields hearing, the district lines have changed since 2020, but in May 2020 under the Trump administration, the EPA awarded $600,000 in Brownfields Program funding to clean up former industrial sites in Ironton and Coal Grove, in southern Ohio. “This was and continues to be a big deal for these rural, Appalachian communities with a proud history of manufacturing and industry along the Ohio River. “But also looking to Northeast Ohio, I was proud, just a couple years ago, to speak with local leaders and tour the, ‘Wick 6’ brownfields site in Youngstown, which also received a substantial grant from the EPA. “My friends, the point is that many of you have probably seen similar successes of these Brownfield grants in your districts. So, I believe we can build on recent successes of the Brownfields Program so communities all across America can benefit from the EPA’s dual environmental and economic investment.” PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS “So the discussion draft we’re focusing on today includes five legislative tweaks to strengthen the Brownfields Program. “First, the draft creates the Rural Brownfields Showcase Program with grants for communities with populations less than 50,000 residents and less than 100,000 residents. “I represent several rural counties, as do many of our subcommittee members, and we strongly believe that the Rural Brownfields Showcase Program would ensure that these rural communities are not left behind. “In addition, oversight of brownfields is incredibly important, and the discussion draft outlines unique roles for EPA and EPA’s Office of Inspector General to conduct internal audits to ensure that federal funds are awarded properly. “Simply increasing overall funding levels for brownfields without carefully crafted oversight mechanisms could lead to lower quality projects, not to mention waste, fraud, and abuse. “The draft also increases the involvement of local governing officials by adding local concurrence as a condition of EPA awards.” MAXIMIZING BENEFITS OF BROWNFIELDS PROGRAM “Furthermore, the discussion draft allows private, for-profit limited liability partnerships whose application has the backing of the local government, a State sanctioned redevelopment agency, or a non-profit to receive grants under the Brownfields Program. “If we’re looking to stretch federal dollars to the fullest, we should include these relevant stakeholders in the process. “Finally, the draft authorizes appropriations for five years, through fiscal year 2028, providing necessary certainty to the program to encourage more investment and economic development. “Of note, authorization amounts in the discussion draft are intentionally blank. “I have some concerns with permanently increasing grant amounts and waiving cost-sharing requirements, but I hope that today’s conversation and future conversations will allow us to reach a consensus. “I look forward to working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues, the EPA, state and local officials, and private-sector stakeholders…to help ensure that the Brownfields Program continues to bolster communities by funding environmental cleanup and economic redevelopment across the country.”

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Legislative Hearing on Revitalizing Communities through the Brownfields Program

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee legislative hearing on reauthorizing the Brownfields program to improve communities with more economic development, increase local tax bases, and create jobs all over the country. “Today, we are examining the EPA’s Brownfields program. This program was authorized under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. It is commonly referred to as either CERCLA or ‘Superfund.’ “A Brownfields site, as many of you know, is an abandoned or underutilized property with known or suspected contamination. “The risk of legal liability for existing contamination can discourage interested buyers from purchasing the property for redevelopment due to threats of litigation. “This can rob communities of vital economic development opportunities. “The Brownfields statute provides liability defenses for landowners and potential purchasers and authorizes grants to encourage environmental assessment cleanups. “This program can rejuvenate existing property and infrastructure, take development pressures off of undeveloped land, and it improves the environment. “All of this increases local tax bases and creates jobs for Americans across the country.” PROVEN SUCCESS “The Brownfields program has been successful in removing barriers to investment and economic development, while also addressing environmental contamination. “Since 2002, the EPA Brownfields program has cleaned up 2,260 properties, revitalized 10,400 properties for reuse, created more than 270,500 jobs, and resulted in nearly $40 billion in investment. “This has translated into numerous success stories. “There is Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas – home of the Houston Astros. Since 2000, the ballpark holds more than 41,000 fans for its 81 home games each season.  “Minute Maid Park has hosted games in three of the last seven World Series, including in 2021, when the three World Series games generated more than $25 million for Houston.  “The park also frequently hosts concerts and other major events to bring the Houston community together.  “Then there is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center at Jekyll Island, Georgia.    “This 5,500 square foot facility includes an exhibit area, visitor space, and a veterinary clinic.  “Jekyll Island – where the turtle center is located – receives more than three million visitors per year.  “And looking closer to my home, there is the University District in Spokane, Washington.   “The University District has five major universities and two medical school programs.   “The Health, Education, and Research Complex at the University District boasts some 90,000 enrolled students at eight regional universities.  “The University District also inspires economic development, such as Life Sciences Spokane, which supports the billion-dollar Intermountain Northwest health sciences sector.  “The Brownfields program has played a role in all these stories, improving the lives of Americans and bringing prosperity around the country.” REAUTHORIZING BROWNFIELDS “By reauthorizing the Brownfields program, we can build on these successes. “Brownfields extension has historically been a bipartisan goal for this committee. “And as an authorizing committee, one of our most important responsibilities are these regular reauthorizations, which help ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly and that programs like Brownfields are working and helping our communities. “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to review and, if possible, enhance the Brownfields program. “It’s a continuation of the regular order process that began last Congress. “This discussion draft is the next step, and as always, we encourage engagement from all members and stakeholders.” RESPONSIBILITY IN BROWNFIELDS “As we work this through the Committee process, and especially when considering the funding figures for the program, it’s important that we don’t neglect to remember just how much in taxpayer dollars was spent last Congress. “It is vital that we appropriate responsibly and allow for proper oversight to ensure accountability of these resources. “There are risks to dramatically increasing funding, including decreasing competition as well as quality among grant applicants. “We also need to make sure non-suburban communities, or those with less than 100,000 people, are benefitting from the program.” “We should continue the tradition of bipartisan action on this subject. “The Brownfields program continues to be an effective cleanup program with a purpose—encouraging economic growth and improving communities in places that have lacked investment. “Let’s stay focused on this goal, which has brought prosperity, revitalization, and opportunity to communities across the country.” 

Subcommittee Chair Bilirakis Opening Remarks on Proposals to Enhance Product Safety and Transparency for Americans

Washington D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee  legislative hearing  on proposals to improve people’s lives, increase safety, and encourage business practices that promote transparency.  “Welcome to today’s legislative hearing on proposals that represent the bread and butter of our jurisdiction on the safety of consumer products and services our constituents rely on. I want to thank all the bill sponsors with legislation on our agenda today, and we’ve got quite a few. “I appreciate all of their work aimed to help save lives and protect consumers from dangerous products, provide transparency regarding event tickets and lodging accommodations, disclose important information to consumers related to product claims, and raise awareness about the information and tools needed to get their vehicles repaired.” TRANSPARENCY IN TICKET PRICES   “ I am particularly excited to be moving forward with the TICKET Act, a bill that I have sponsored along with my colleague and friend, Ranking Member Schakowsky, that will bring upfront price transparency to consumers as it relates to event tickets. Live event tickets have long been plagued by hidden fees at the end of the checkout transaction, but I’m glad that the industry has recognized the need to change the process to bring ticket price transparency to the market.  “In the other Chamber in the Senate Commerce Committee, bipartisan companion legislation sponsored by my friends Senator Cruz, and the Chair, Senator Cantwell, has moved out of committee. We’re going to get this done.  “I’m certainly mindful of a broader discussion on other consumer harms to address, which is why we have included a discussion draft on the docket today that addresses the issue of speculative ticketing. I look forward to diving into these proposals further and to continuing my partnership with Ranking Member Schakowsky on this particular initiative.”  SAFETY AND CLARITY FOR AMERICANS   “ A few additional bills that I want to give a special acknowledgment to is Rep. Wasserman Schultz and Dr. Burgess’ pool safety reauthorization; Dr. Bucshon’s draft on cleaning product labeling; and Rep. Curtis’s Reinforcing American-Made Products Act.    “Rep. Wasserman Schultz and Dr. Burgess’ Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act will provide state and local governments with assistance for education, training, and enforcement of pool safety requirements. This program, which is named in memory of Virginia, who drowned while entrapped by a hot tub drain in 2002 and was enacted into law in 2008, has been well administered by the CPSC. I look forward to reauthorizing this program again.  “I am also pleased we will be able to discuss Rep. Bucshon’s proposal on ingredient labeling for cleaning products. This draft will ensure that we have one consistent and clear standard on cleaning product ingredient labels throughout the country. Consumers should know exactly what to expect when they purchase their favorite disinfectant, scrubbing spray, or other supplies needed to clean their homes. That shouldn’t change if they cross state lines.  “ We also cannot overlook Rep. Curtis’s bill, H.R. 5556 the Reinforcing American-Made Products Act, which will ensure that we have one national standard for 'Made in America' labels on American products.  This commonsense measure provides certainty for businesses, manufacturers, and consumers alike, to ultimately ensure we keep our incentives to companies to make their products here at home. I know this has historically been a bipartisan initiative and I’m very hopeful it will remain that way moving forward. “As anyone who remembers the old School House Rock video on how a bill becomes a law, there are a lot that don’t ultimately make it to the finish line. Some of these proposals are surely ready for prime time while others are not, but this hearing represents an important step to review these bills, find areas for improvement and consensus, and move forward through regular order.”

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Proposals to Enhance Product Safety and Transparency for Americans

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee legislative hearing on proposals to improve people’s lives, increase safety, and encourage business practices that promote transparency. “Welcome to all our witnesses who are advocating for people that we depend on every day, from those fixing our cars, to protecting us from fraud, to ensuring the products and services we use are what they claim to be.  “This hearing also serves as an appropriate follow-up to last week’s legislative hearing on supply chain management.”  PROTECTING AMERICANS   “We know that losing control of our supply chains can limit the availability of critical goods, harm production quality, and weaken the security and integrity of products and services being sold to American families and businesses.   “This subcommittee is leading to ensure people aren’t getting ripped-off, and even more importantly that families and communities are safe.    “My colleague, and the ranking member of this subcommittee, Jan Schakowsky, has been a tremendous leader for us on these product safety topics.  “Working with her when I was ranking was a pleasure, and I appreciate her continued efforts with Subcommittee Chairman Bilirakis on these issues.”  RESTORING FTC AND CPSC’S MISSION “We have an ambitious docket today. “Much of our work still lies ahead for us on these bills. “I hope we build bipartisan consensus and stakeholder support as we move them forward. “This committee has a rich history of coming together on behalf of those we serve.  “Many of these bills address issues that we’ve heard about directly from people in our communities to make products and services safer.   “Rep David Valadao’s proposal would combat romance scams by going after con artists who prey on lonely people, particularly adults over 60, who were scammed for $139 million dollars in 2020 alone.  “Rep Young Kim’s proposal will help travelers distinguish the good actors from the bad in the lodging industry by ensuring they know the full price of accommodations, including things like resort fees, up front.  “And a bill by Reps Ritchie Torres, Andrew Garbarino and Yvette Clarke would ensure that rechargeable batteries used to power products like e-scooters don’t explode because of their inferior quality.”  STOPPING FTC’S POLITICAL AGENDA   “This is the People’s House, and as representatives of the people, it is our responsibility to ensure their concerns are being addressed.    “That is why I remain concerned about agencies, like the FTC, losing site of its mission of consumer protection and fighting fraud scams.  “Surely, we can all agree, it should not be diverting resources to force a political agenda on job creators and family businesses.   “It should not be abusing its power to threaten small businesses with fines for actions they haven’t done.  “It should not be initiating rulemaking proceedings that go far beyond the scope authorized by Congress or weaponizing an extreme green agenda in order to ban affordable cars and home appliances that people rely on every day.   “All of these have sadly been on display by President Biden’s appointees over the course of this administration.  “Many of these actions can be attributed to a lack of accountability.   “I was pleased to see Republican nominees for the FTC and Consumer Product Safety Commission were finally considered by the Senate Commerce Committee last week.  “These nominees need to be moved to the Senate floor and confirmed expeditiously in order to start returning the agencies to their core missions.  “Until bipartisan input is restored, these agencies’ credibility and integrity will continue to be eroded.  “I hope to see a fully bipartisan and operational FTC and CPSC soon, in both people and practice, where input is welcomed by both sides, extremes are rejected, and the law is implemented as it was mandated by Congress.”  

Sep 27, 2023
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers, Smith, Gallagher Seek Compliance After Ford Refuses to Cooperate with Investigations into CCP-Aligned EV Battery Partnership

Washington, D.C. –  While Ford Motor Company announced on September 25 that it has paused its partnership with a Chinese battery maker, lawmakers continue to have serious concerns that Ford has refused to comply with three separate congressional inquiries into its secret licensing agreement with CATL, a Chinese Communist Party-aligned EV battery firm. As first reported by  Reuters , C hair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)  of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,  Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO)  of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI)  of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party jointly wrote to Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley seeking Ford's immediate compliance with congressional investigations into its partnership with CATL. The lawmakers warned the Ford CEO that a persistent refusal to comply could result in the initiation of a compulsory process or notification to appear before Congress. In the letter,  the lawmakers jointly write , " Ford’s ongoing refusal to provide substantive responses addressing the serious issues discussed in the April, July, and September letters undermines Ford’s own commitment to 'act with transparency, integrity, and honesty' and raises serious concerns regarding its licensing agreement with CATL. "We write again today to seek a fully responsive production on the licensing agreement, Ford’s knowledge of CATL’s apparent attempt to shield its connection to Xinjiang-based companies, and Ford’s commitment to advance U.S. battery production. "If Ford does not comply fully with all of the Committees’ July 20, 2023, document requests and the September 1, 2023, Energy and Commerce document request by no later than October 6, 2023, we will consider other means to obtain the documents, including compulsory process or insisting that you appear before Congress to publicly explain your failure to comply." In  April ,  July , and  September  subsequently, the lawmakers each sought information from Ford regarding its licensing agreement with CCP-aligned battery maker CATL, including but not limited to: A copy of Ford's licensing agreement with CATL in both English and Chinese. Ford's knowledge of CATL's connections to CCP forced labor and human rights abuses. Ford's knowledge of CATL's attempts to shield its connections to Xinjiang-based companies that are banned from exporting product to the U.S. Ford's intention to import Chinese employees to take well-paying U.S. jobs. Ford's discussions with the Biden administration regarding its CATL partnership and EV tax credits. Chairs Rodgers, Smith, and Gallagher requested that Ford provide adequate responses to this most recent inquiry no later than October 6. The lawmakers concluded by jointly issuing Ford a document preservation notice regarding its deal with the Chinese owned and CCP-aligned company, CATL. Click  HERE  to view a copy of the letter or read below. READ:   Automaker’s Troubling Deal with Chinese Company Raises Questions About Democrats’ Electric Vehicle Tax Credits READ:  E&C Republicans Press Ford for Information on Planned EV Battery Plant with Ties to China :  E&C Republicans Press Ford for Information on Planned EV Battery Plant with Ties to China READ:  Smith, Gallagher Demand Answers on Ford’s Chinese Battery Partnership READ:  Chairman Smith Warns Treasury Must Act Immediately to Stop Tax Dollars from Flowing to China, Demands Automakers Provide Details on Foreign Partnerships

Chair Rodgers to Biden: “Tell American auto workers the truth—you're sending their jobs to China”

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement ahead of President Biden’s planned appearance at the United Auto Workers picket line in Michigan today, criticizing the President for claiming to support auto workers while simultaneously pushing policies that will send their jobs—and cede American auto leadership—to China:  “President Biden claims to be an ally to auto workers. Yet his administration’s radical rush-to-green agenda is forcing higher and higher costs on the very cars that their livelihoods rely on. At the same time, the administration is trying to force Americans to transition to 100 percent electric vehicles, which will ultimately lead to more American auto jobs being lost to China. President Biden's picket sign today should be honest with auto workers and read: ‘I’m sending America’s auto future and your jobs to China.'   “Instead of handing China the keys to our auto future with President Biden’s divorced-from-reality agenda, we should be embracing the legacy of the American auto industry which, for more than a century, has helped drive America’s economic success, provided well-paying, reliable jobs, and raised the standard of living across the country. Let’s work to make sure America continues to lead the auto sector for the next 100 years while also bringing down carbon emissions.” 

Chairs Rodgers and Latta on Rosenworcel’s Decision to Revive Settled Net Neutrality Debate

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) released a statement following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s announcement that the FCC will vote on a proposed rulemaking on net neutrality, which the FCC lacks the authority to impose. "Despite constant fear mongering, this debate was settled in 2017 when the Internet didn't break following the repeal of heavy-handed FCC regulations." 

Chair Rodgers Celebrates America’s Legacy in Clean Energy Leadership

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) kicks off National Clean Energy Week with a call to action to unleash clean, reliable American energy, which will make life more affordable for American families while making us less dependent on countries like China.   “We’re at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. America has led the world in reducing carbon emissions through innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, people across the country continue to have access to clean, affordable, reliable energy. And we’ve achieved this with some of the highest labor and environmental standards in the world. The Biden administration and Democrats, on the other hand, are taking steps to force an expensive energy transition. This transition is making life unaffordable across the board, undermining our grid reliability, and making us dangerously dependent on China.  “E&C Republicans are committed to maintaining America’s affordable, clean energy legacy, which is why we passed H.R. 1 earlier this year to improve people’s quality of life by restoring a strong energy mix of America’s abundant resources. This is the best way to flip the switch on American energy, bring down prices for families, and ensure we continue to be a global leader in reducing emissions and producing clean, affordable, and reliable energy.” 

Sep 22, 2023

Chair Rodgers, Guthrie, Griffith Statement on Wuhan Institute of Virology Debarment

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the Committee that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been debarred for ten years. “This news is long overdue and should have happened years ago. The federal government has no business sending Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to such a dangerous institution. The Wuhan Institute of Virology—under pressure by the Chinese Communist Party—was part of a group that stifled a global investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a continued loss of human life.  “The Biden administration is finally doing what the evidence and facts have demanded. It is outrageous that it took them so long. HHS must now consider a similar debarment for EcoHealth Alliance.  “The American people deserve every assurance that they will not be forced to fund risky research, especially in unsafe conditions within adversarial nations.”  READ:    July 2023 : E&C Republicans Statement on Suspension of Funding and Proposed Debarment of WIV  July 2023 : E&C Investigation Reveals Key NIH Officials—Including Dr. Fauci—Likely Served Unlawfully   January 2023 : Chair Rodgers: HHS’s OIG Report Confirms our Concerns with NIH’s Funding of EcoHealth Alliance   October 2022 : E&C Republicans to NIH: Why Resume Taxpayer-Supported Grant Funding to EcoHealth?   February 2022 : E&C Republican Leaders Push NIH for Stronger Enforcement of Grants Policies and Compliance Information Regarding EcoHealth Alliance   August 2021 : E&C Republican Leaders Request Further Info From NIH & NIAID Following Concerns of Wuhan Lab Biosafety Procedures   June 2021 : E&C Republicans Send Second Letter to NIH Director Regarding Grants Issued to EcoHealth Alliance