News

Environment, Manufacturing, & Critical Materials Updates


Feb 15, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Carter Opening Remarks on Harmful EPA NAAQS Standards

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee legislative hearing on the EPA’s harmful new particulate matter standards that will crush American manufacturing and jobs. CURRENT NAAQS STANDARDS  “The Clean Air Act requires the promulgation of NAAQS for six criteria air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and lead.  “Under the current structure of the statute, EPA is required to review periodically the scientific data upon which the NAAQS are based and revise the standards if necessary to maintain an adequate margin of safety that is requisite to protect public health.  “Today, we will hear testimony and receive feedback on the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2024.  “This discussion draft would update how the standards are reviewed and implemented and provide more clarity in the law to enable better control of harmful emissions like wildfire smoke.  “This hearing is of the utmost importance to many districts across the country.  “Southeast Georgia—where I’m from—is poised for a manufacturing boom. Our favorable climate, access to ports, low electricity rates, and welcoming business environment have made it one of the best places to invest in the country.  “We are growing quickly.  “Billion-dollar manufacturing investments have been made and further opportunities are quickly presenting themselves.  “In addition to these developing areas, we have legacy industries that are the backbone of our economy.  “Georgia is the number one forestry state in the country and according to the Georgia Forestry Commission, the industry provided over $1.5 billion in economic output to my district in 2022.  “These sectors are looking to grow, and while they grow, they are seeking to do it with the highest environmental standards in the world.”  DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON AMERICAN COMMUNITIES  “However, actions like the Biden administration’s recently finalized annual PM2.5 standard threaten to slam the brakes on these investments and economic drivers.  “One of the main concerns is that, because of the success of the Clean Air Act already, new standards are getting closer and closer to background levels.  “Because of this, even areas that meet the standard will not have enough room or 'headspace’ to allow for permitting new or expanded construction.  “This recent action by the EPA is counterproductive to our goals of onshoring supply chains and boosting American manufacturing.  “According to a report conducted by Oxford Economics, the EPA’s recently finalized PM2.5 standards will threaten up to $197.4 billion of economic activity and put nearly one million jobs at risk.  “We’ll hear today about analysis of permitting from three dozen different industries, including pharmaceuticals, paper and wood, and electric vehicle batteries. The analysis shows that the recently finalized PM2.5 standard would result in the failure to permit nearly 80 percent of those projects.  “And these are industries that already control emissions to the highest standards. We learned in a hearing last fall that most of the PM2.5 emission do not even come from these sources.”  IMPROVING THE RULEMAKING PROCESS  “After 40 years, something is not working with our system to set and enforce standards. The Clean Air Act was not established to kill American productivity and prosperity; it was established to enhance our success.  “We must make practical reforms to ensure the NAAQS process works in a way that makes sense. It should reflect the experience of 40 years of implementing air quality standards.  “The discussion draft reflects some of this experience. Among other measures, it would provide more time to develop new standards while providing time for EPA and the states to focus on implementing standards.  “It ensures that State air pollution agencies responsible for, and expert in, implementing the standards have a larger voice in the process.  “It would make clear that wildfire and other exceptional events can be reliably excluded from compliance data. And it would make it easier to reduce wildfires and lower harmful pollution levels.  “I invite constructive comments from the panelists both on PM2.5 implementation challenges, what those indicate about the current process, and how reforms may address those challenges.  “I should note that we sought to have EPA testify today, but EPA declined to attend at this point. We will continue to work with the agency, including examining the comments it supplied on our bill.  “We will also continue to work to get this right. America has the best environmental standards and wonderful economic potential. We will work to make sure this remains the case going forward.”



Feb 15, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Environment Subcommittee Hearing on Modernizing Air Quality Standards

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee legislative hearing on the EPA’s harmful new particulate matter standards that will crush American manufacturing and jobs.  “For decades, America has been the best place to do business, while also ensuring we have some of the highest environmental standards in the world.  “America has done more to lift people out of poverty and raise the standard of living than any other nation in the world.  “Unfortunately, that prosperity and opportunity is being threatened." BIDEN EPA WILL CRUSH THE AMERICAN ECONOMY   “Last week, the Biden administration’s EPA finalized a standard on fine particulate matter—or PM 2.5—a decision that will be devastating for American businesses, people’s livelihoods, and our economic leadership.   “This new rule goes well beyond the original congressional intent first laid out in the Clean Air Act, which stated goal was to promote ‘reasonable actions’ to limit or reduce emissions and pollution.  “The administration’s process to develop this latest rule was rushed, lacked transparency, and failed to incorporate feedback from stakeholders across the country who will be impacted the hardest.   “With EPA’s nearly 150 pending regulations, it’s just the latest example of President Biden’s extreme environmental agenda that is going to devastate our communities.   “As we will hear today, the EPA’s decision to finalize these unrealistic standards will result in far-reaching consequences for the economy.  “The harm would extend to nearly every sector of our economy, including manufacturing, power, agriculture, construction, and forestry, jeopardize hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. economic activity and millions of jobs, and make it nearly impossible to build new manufacturing facilities, making efforts to secure our supply chains and reduce our dependence on countries like China nearly impossible.”  ONGOING TRENDS   “By all measures, the nation’s air quality has improved dramatically since the Clean Air Act was enacted and the current standards are improving quality even more.  “The EPA itself has already concluded that the current standards are protective of public health and has reported that total emissions of criteria air pollutants have dropped 73 percent since 1980.  “The data is clear. U.S. air quality is the best in the world and only getting better.   “Despite this progress, the Biden EPA is taking steps to introduce these new standards that are completely divorced from reality to appease his radical base.”  NEEDED REFORMS   “Instead of more harmful regulations, what we need are reasonable solutions that appropriately balance protecting our environment with ensuring America continues to maintain its economic leadership.   “That’s the approach we’ve taken for decades, and it’s worked.  “As our air gets cleaner, the Clean Air Act provisions that were established decades ago, when air quality was much worse, should be revisited.   “We learned in our September hearing that as new PM standards get closer to natural background levels—the air pollution levels that occur naturally—there’s less room for traditional industrial sources to further cut their emissions.  “But the EPA’s new, stricter standards completely ignore this fact.  “Under those standards, permitting new economic development will be nearly impossible.    “This will severely hinder new manufacturing projects, including pulp and paper, steel, cement, the automotive sector, advanced batteries, and even pharmaceuticals.   “States will be forced to limit new economic opportunity for the communities that need them most.   “Additionally, limits in the current law prevent states from addressing other, naturally occurring sources of pollution, such as wildfires.”  MODERNIZING THE CLEAN AIR ACT  “We must update air quality standards responsibly in a way that reflects reality.  “The discussion draft under consideration today will ensure that measures to implement health protections are realistic and balanced in their approach.   “It will enable more orderly and reasonable requirements that states can actually implement.    “It will ensure regulators follow the law when considering how to promote healthy communities, taking into account things like adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, and energy impacts.    “It will also make it easier to reduce wildfire risk—something that is especially important for my home state of Washington.”  “Protecting our environment and our economy are not mutually exclusive goals, but in order to achieve both we must rethink how we address pollution levels that are outside our control.  “This discussion draft is a good starting point to maintain America’s economic leadership and ensure public health.   “I look forward to today’s discussion and I yield back.”



Feb 14, 2024
Blog

Voices Across the U.S. Warn that the EPA’s Radical Agenda Will Crush Local Communities and Economies

Last week, President Biden's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a standard on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that will have devastating consequences for American businesses and the livelihoods of millions of people. The standard further tightens restrictions on how much fine particulate matter the manufacturing and energy sectors can emit. This is despite the fact the EPA itself admitted that the U.S. has decreased PM2.5 concentrations by 42% since 2000 while at the same time our gross domestic product increased by 52%.  Studies show that nearly a million jobs and $200 billion in economic activity could be jeopardized as a result of the new PM2.5 standards. The EPA must reverse course on its harmful regulations that will make it nearly impossible to build or expand new manufacturing facilities in the United States.  Don’t miss what people across the country are saying:  Danny Seiden, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce: “If EPA continues to increase burdensome regulations and not provide solutions, all development could be halted.”  Jason Giannelli, R&G Fanucchi and Old River Farming Company in Bakersfield, California: “As our industry and community strive to recover, this air quality regulation couldn't come at a worse time for our families and community. In fact, a recent study published by the National Association of Manufacturers and Oxford Economics estimates that nearly $32 billion in economic activity and 120,000 jobs in California alone could be impacted by this specific proposed rule.” Alec Messina, former Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director: “EPA’s own analysis projects Cook County and several other parts of Illinois exceeding the PM2.5 limits contemplated in the proposed rule, setting the stage for arduous environmental assessments, project delays and the threat of withheld funding — and that’s just according to EPA’s sunny forecast.”  […]  “Biden has embarked upon an aggressive legislative agenda with the stated goal of re-establishing American manufacturing might. Unfortunately, his own regulatory actions are at cross purposes with that objective.”  Mike Alaimo, Director of Environmental and Energy Affairs, Michigan Chamber of Commerce: “They’re trying to go too fast, too quick.”  […]  “The science and data are lacking from this rule, so it’s very concerning for Michigan manufacturers.”  Michael Canty, President and CEO of Alloy Precision Technologies in Ohio: “The Biden administration has talked a good game when it comes to spurring domestic manufacturing, especially here in Ohio. It’s too bad that the administration’s own Environmental Protection Agency is undermining these efforts and threatening to worsen the inflation and soaring costs that have hammered businesses and consumers across the state.” […] “EPA’s own analysis shows numerous counties across Ohio already exceed the PM2.5 levels in the proposed rule. It doesn’t help that there are still parts of the country that are in nonattainment of the current standards. These communities in nonattainment face onerous regulations and increased permitting requirements, which grind construction projects and facility expansions to a halt and restrict federal highway and transit dollars, i.e., infrastructure projects.”  Jezree Friend, Assistant Vice President, Manufacturers and Business Association in Pennsylvania: “Overall, the regulations could make it extraordinarily difficult to create new manufacturing jobs and protect existing manufacturing jobs in areas out of attainment. The regulations could also prevent much needed infrastructure improvements in these areas.”  Tony Bennett, President and CEO, Texas Association of Manufacturers: “While PM2.5 concentrations in the U.S. have declined by over 40% since 2000, the EPA is ignoring this progress and lowering the boom on domestic industry, endangering some of the very projects the Biden administration has championed—from transit projects to semiconductor fabrication facilities. “There’s no question that air quality is vital to our quality of life, and industries do—and will continue to—invest millions of dollars in innovative technologies that are successfully reducing environmental impacts. However, the EPA’s proposal to ratchet up the PM2.5 regulations is a misguided attempt to bolster their environmental bona fides doing little to benefit the environment while placing an undue burden on American manufacturers and threatening thousands of jobs and the goods every American relies on.”  Steve Stolipher, President, Jefferson County Commission in West Virginia: “The issue here is that, of course, I along with many other West Virginians agree that our air quality should be regulated within reason. But what I do not agree with is overly restrictive and onerous regulations that the EPA is considering as part of a new rulemaking process. These new particulate matter thresholds from the EPA fall into the latter category.”  Gina Suydam, President, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce: “Continued technological innovation and our members’ commitment to environmental stewardship indicate that additional reductions are on the horizon.  “Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal would disrupt the win-win scenario that we have achieved in Pennsylvania by pushing significant parts of the state and the country into non-attainment with tightened standards. Non-attainment status poses a host of challenges including increased permitting hurdles and skyrocketing demand for compliance credits. This translates to higher costs for businesses and consumers.”  TUNE IN at 10:00 AM tomorrow for our Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials legislative hearing for more about our solutions that appropriately balance protecting our environment while also ensuring America continues to maintain its economic leadership.  



Chairs Rodgers and Carter Announce Legislative Hearing on Harmful EPA NAAQS Standards

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) announced a legislative hearing titled “Safeguarding American Prosperity and People’s Livelihoods: Legislation to Modernize Air Quality Standards.” “Changes to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) have consequences across the entire economy—from manufacturing, transportation, construction, housing, to agriculture—and for communities around the country. Recent efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including this week’s new PM 2.5 standards, could force American manufacturing overseas, jeopardizing hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. economic activity and millions of American jobs," said Chairs Rodgers and Carter. "This hearing will be an opportunity to discuss common sense solutions that modernize the EPA’s air quality standards process to build on the U.S.’s decades of success in reducing air pollutants without harming America’s economic prosperity and people’s livelihoods.”  Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing titled “Safeguarding Jobs and the Economy: Legislation to End EPA’s Attack on American Manufacturing.”   WHAT: An Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing to discuss the EPA's harmful NAAQS policies, and ways to reform them.  DATE: Thursday, February 15, 2023  TIME: 10:30 AM  LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building  Legislation to be considered :  H.R. ___ , the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2024  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Kaitlyn Peterson at Kaitlyn.Peterson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



Feb 7, 2024
Blog

E&C Republicans: President Biden's LNG Export Ban is Reckless and Politically Motivated

Washington D.C. — Energy and Commerce Republicans are demanding President Biden reverse his liquefied natural gas (LNG) export ban, which is a blatant political decision to appease radical environmental activists who are intent on shutting down American energy.  This week, Members spoke about how disastrous this decision is and urged President Biden to reverse course during an Energy Subcommittee hearing and during a special session on the House Floor, led by Rep. John Joyce (R-PA). Unleashing American LNG will reduce emissions, lower energy costs, and further U.S. energy security and the security of our allies. Don’t miss these key moments calling out the Biden administration’s disastrous energy policies: Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “The administration is ignoring the fact that natural gas continues to create millions of new jobs, bring manufacturing back to the U.S., and revitalize communities across the country.” […] “President Biden’s LNG export ban will end these benefits for local economies, kill good American jobs, and increase energy prices for people across the board. “It will send manufacturing overseas, increase our dangerous dependence on China, and discourage investment in future American energy production.” Rep. John Joyce (R-PA): “This is not a pause. It is the first step of a process to ban outright any future export of LNG. “This was a political decision to pander to the far-left that will increase energy prices for American households. “It will abandon our allies in their time of energy need, it will harm family sustaining jobs, and it will relinquish American global energy leadership.” Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN): “Thanks to American innovation and energy technologies, the United States is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and exporter of LNG.” […] “American LNG is a critical asset that not only keeps our energy sector secure and competitive, but also helps reduce global emissions and our global dependence on energy from adversarial nations, like Russia.” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “Even for a President known for inflation and global instability, this is an inexplicable move.” […] “I’ve yet to hear from any American clamoring to drive our allies to Russia and Iran, which is exactly what Biden’s LNG export ban will do.” Rep. John Curtis (R-UT): “Sometimes it feels to me like people hate fossil fuels more than they hate emissions." […] “We do produce [LNG] cleaner here than Russia, and not just by a little bit.” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ): “Stopping the progress of building U.S. LNG terminals is just simply an irrational decision. “I cannot imagine a worse conceived idea that is more detrimental to reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, and it also decreases world energy security and U.S. national security.”   Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN): “This export ban will fuel higher costs for families here at home and push our allies abroad into the hands of our adversaries.” […] “American LNG is the cleanest form of natural gas available and has allowed the U.S. to lead the world in emissions reduction.” Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX): “ LNG is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whether some here want to admit that or not.” Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA): “Because of [LNG], we have actually reduced our carbon footprint substantially here. And guess what, we’re getting no love for it. All they’re trying to do is put [LNG] out of business.” Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) : “Since Putin began his invasion of Ukraine, our European allies have raced to transition away from Russian energy by importing clean, American LNG. The administration’s short-sighted, dangerous decision accomplishes one thing, and one thing only, empowering Russia. “Claiming that this decision is based solely on protecting the environment is just absurd. Because of natural gas, the United States has reduced its own emissions more than any other country over the last 20 years. “The President’s ban on new LNG export projects is not an environmental decision. It’s a political decision.” Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA): “We can both have a cleaner, healthier planet and climate, as well as grow our economy and have affordable, reliable, secure, and abundant energy. “The greatest sense of environmental injustice to me is not allowing poor people or disadvantaged communities to be able to heat their homes because we make electricity unaffordable.” Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL): “Simply put, President Biden’s LNG ban puts politics over people, and America last." […] "Stopping LNG exports does not make the climate any cleaner or safer. In fact, the opposite happens. “Ultimately, this restriction will curtail innovation, investment, and the overall competitiveness of the United States energy sector in the global market.” […] “The White House seems more interested in taking domestic energy advice from TikTok influencers who are just in it for clicks, shares, and impressions.”



Chairs Rodgers and Carter Condemn EPA’s Unattainable PM 2.5 Standards That Will Crush American Manufacturing and Jobs

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) released a statement following the EPA’s finalization of a standard on fine particulate matter—or PM 2.5—that will be devastating for American businesses, people’s livelihoods, and our economic leadership. “The EPA’s new standards for PM 2.5 will make it nearly impossible to build or expand new manufacturing facilities in the United States. It further undermines efforts to grow America’s manufacturing base and increases our dependence on China. The damage will be felt in local communities across the U.S. and in nearly every sector of our economy, jeopardizing millions of good-paying jobs. We should be making it easier, not harder, to expand our manufacturing and industrial capacity in America. The EPA must abandon this reckless agenda.” 



Feb 2, 2024
Blog

Stopping Biden’s Radical Forced EV Transition

Americans Should Choose the Car They Drive President Biden and Democrats are leading a radical rush-to-green agenda that takes away people’s vehicle choice and forces Americans to drive electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are unaffordable and unrealistic for many Americans and a reliance on EVs cedes U.S. leadership to the Chinese Communist Party. Americans don’t want President Biden’s aggressive EV mandates—they want to choose what vehicle best suits their needs. That’s exactly what nearly 5,000 American car dealers told President Biden— twice —after EVs stacked up on their lots. They’re demanding the Biden administration “hit the brakes” on its unrealistic agenda. Electric vehicles continue to be more expensive than other alternatives and aren’t practical for many Americans—especially those living in rural communities. Furthermore, despite allocating $7.5 billion in 2021 to speed up its forced EV transition, the Biden administration just got its first vehicle charger up and running in Ohio one month ago. Hertz, a major rental car company, recently announced its plan to sell 20,000 electric vehicles and buy gas-powered cars instead. Additionally, according to a recent study by Consumer Reports, EVs have almost 80 percent more issues and are generally less reliable than vehicles with internal combustion engines. Earlier this month, electric vehicles across the country were failing to charge—or keep a charged battery—as a result of cold weather. Electric vehicles lose an average of 41 percent of their range when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. As reported by Fox Business , in Chicago, “charging stations essentially turned into car graveyards as temperatures have dropped.” This forced EV transition also plays right into China’s hands . China controls the vast majority of critical minerals mining, processing, and manufacturing for electric vehicles. China has 78 percent of the world’s cell manufacturing capacity for EV batteries. To further their grip on EV technology against America, China implemented export controls on graphite, the single largest mineral component of any EV battery, on December 1, 2023. There is currently only one graphite-producing mine in North America. Policy experts across the board are sounding the alarm on the national security consequences of Biden’s forced EV transition and how it will strengthen China’s foothold in the American auto industry for decades to come. More than a dozen former senior military officials recently warned President Biden that his rush-to-green agenda “will undoubtedly open the U.S. up to economic manipulations by China, identical to what Russia is doing with Ukrainian grain exports, and [poses] a major threat to our national security.” Senior administration officials, like U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, are also raising concerns about Chinese influence over the electric vehicle market, recently stating in a letter to President Biden that “China has developed and implemented a plan to target the EV sector for dominance.” Energy and Commerce Republicans are leading to stop the administration’s radical EV agenda, preserve people’s vehicle choice, and ensure America—not China—is leading:   H.R. 1435, the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, led by Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), protects America’s automotive future by stopping California and President Biden from dictating the vehicles Americans can drive. The bill passed the House in September 2023, by a bipartisan vote of 222-190.  H.R. 4468, the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act of 2023 , led by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Andrew Clyde (R-GA), prevents the Biden administration from imposing a de facto EV mandate and ceding America’s auto future to China. The bill passed the House in December 2023, by a bipartisan vote of 221-197.  H.R. 4469, the No Fuel Credits for Batteries Act of 2023 , led by Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), ends the EPA’s radical agenda that is reducing people's access to reliable, affordable transportation fuels and forcing them to transition to EVs. Bottomline: Americans—not the Biden administration—deserve to have the freedom to choose what vehicle suits them best.



Jan 31, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on the Cybersecurity of America’s Drinking Water System

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing on safeguarding our drinking water infrastructure from cyberattacks.  “Good afternoon to my colleagues and our witnesses, and thank you, Chairman Carter.  “I look forward to working with you as you lead this subcommittee.  “Every day, more and more of our economy and way of life moves online.   “Our financial, health, public utilities, and energy systems are all increasingly being operated electronically.  “That includes our public drinking water systems. “This shift has significantly enhanced the efficiency of these systems. It has improved water quality, reduced unnecessary expenses, and helped get this vital resource to more Americans.   “As our technology becomes more advanced, though, these systems likely will move online more and more, making them increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks by adversaries and other bad actors wishing to do us harm.  “It’s vital that we take steps to safeguard this key infrastructure from future cyberthreats and work with utility companies and others to mitigate those risks.”  CYBERSECURITY ATTACKS ON THE WATER SECTOR   “Cybercriminals are estimated to have made nearly $8 trillion in 2023—a number that’s expected to rise to around $10.5 trillion by next year.  “Recent attacks on American drinking water delivery systems by Iran-tied cybercriminals underscore the need for strengthening their cybersecurity.  “The targeting of this critical infrastructure puts both our public health and our economy in jeopardy.  “The cybersecurity risks to these systems are expected to become increasingly frequent and complex.   “From ransomware threats, where a bad actor’s attack compromises internal, administrative information, like customers’ personal information, to criminals potentially gaining control of a drinking water system in order to compromise the quality of the water being sent out to customers.  “The implications of these attacks go far beyond our water systems.  “Compromising them could prevent doctors from carrying out medical procedures at hospitals, disrupt the delivery of electricity, or shut down altogether emergency services, like firefighting operations.      “These are not acceptable outcomes.   “Today will be an opportunity to hear from experienced and well-positioned stakeholders in order to better understand the threats as well as how we can most effectively address them.”  CURRENT CYBERSECURITY LAW   “It is important that we strike the right balance for local utilities as they take steps to improve the cyber-resiliency of their facilities, including ensuring the federal government isn’t getting in the way of those efforts to make progress.   “Current law mandates that, every five years, drinking water systems serving more than 3,330 people assess their vulnerabilities to attacks, and that they incorporate the findings of these assessments into their emergency response plans.    “This ensures water facility operators are better prepared to mitigate threats, while also protecting them from cumbersome and ill-suited regulations that could hinder their ability to quickly respond when threats do arise.    “While there is always room for improvement, granting the federal government sweeping cybersecurity authorities over this sector—as some have suggested—will do more harm than good.   “A one-sized-fits-all approach for the 50,000 unique drinking water utilities around the country is unworkable, and the federal rulemaking process is problematic.  “It is protracted and cumbersome. It fails to foster collaboration, and it advertises to adversaries the very systems intruders will need to target with cyberattacks.”  INNOVATIVE WAYS TO APPROACH WATER CYBERSECURITY   “Federal agencies play an important role in the overall cyber-resiliency of our water systems.  "And the Environmental Protection Agency, as the federal expert in drinking and wastewater, is the one best suited to serve as the lead in managing risk in this sector.  “EPA and others play important roles, whether that’s facilitating education and outreach with operators, or providing technical assistance.  “That said, the EPA should not be in the business of micromanaging water utilities or dictating how they maintain and operate their online systems.  “Today’s conversation will be an opportunity to explore the non-regulatory resources that the EPA and others already offer to the water sector, like the Water ISAC, which is an all-threats information sharing source for water utilities, or the Cyber Readiness Institute, which works with companies to empower smaller water systems with free tools and resources to help them become more secure and resilient.  “Resources like these can help water systems—without the in-house expertise—better implement cyber practices.  “In order to protect people and this critical infrastructure, we must ensure water facility operators are able to innovate and adapt to evolving cyber threats and protect the systems they oversee.   “I look forward to today’s hearing and discussing how we will enhance our cybersecurity to protect this infrastructure, which is so vital for the livelihoods of Americans’ lives.” 



Jan 31, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Carter Opening Remarks on the Cybersecurity of America’s Drinking Water System

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on safeguarding our drinking water infrastructure from cyberattacks. “Before diving into today’s very important hearing, I’d like to take a moment to thank Rep. Bill Johnson for his leadership of the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee over the course of this Congress.  “He leaves large shoes to fill, and I’d like to recognize his incredible work, especially on behalf his constituents in Ohio after the tragic events in East Palestine.  “I am honored to follow his example and thank Chair Rogers for entrusting me with this new role.  “As you all know, I represent the entire coast of Georgia, and I believe Georgia’s First Congressional District offers a unique perspective on the issues before this subcommittee.  “We have abundant natural beauty that people come from around the world to see, but it co-exists with a growing manufacturing base, including the mining and production of the critical materials necessary for our modern day of life.  “I believe it is an excellent example of how we can protect our environment and human health while pursuing economic growth and prosperity that our constituents deserve.   “I look forward to working with all the members of this Subcommittee on the important issues before us, like the one we are here to discuss today.”  PROTECTING OUR WATER FROM ADVERSARIES   “Water is the most essential compound on Earth.  “Americans expect that when they turn on the tap, safe drinking water is going to come out of the faucet.  “Every day, water and wastewater systems—and their employees—work to deliver on this expectation.   “Without clean supplies of potable water and systems to treat wastewater, our lives, our economy, and our communities would cease.   “We know this and so do our adversaries.  “China, Russia, Iran, and their proxies are constantly looking for ways to disrupt our critical infrastructure. Recent cybersecurity attacks on the water sector by Iranian hackers reminded us of this.” PROACTIVE IMPROVEMENTS TO CYBERSECURITY   “Luckily, these attacks did not impact the safety of our water supplies. However, we cannot be complacent and hope for fortunate outcomes in the future.  “We must learn from these attacks and enhance the cybersecurity of our water sector assets.   “There are just under 50,000 community water systems and more than 16,000 publicly owned wastewater treatment systems in the United States.  “Today, we will hear testimony from organizations representing all sizes and demographics of our country’s water infrastructure—from the largest, most urban water systems to our smallest, most rural systems. We’ll also hear from the State agencies that have a front row seat to their work and help these utilities fulfill their essential mission.  “As a former Mayor, City Council Member, and Planning Commission Member of a small, rural community, I understand the constraints facing many of our country’s water systems and the collaboration that must be fostered to help them achieve their mission.”  CHALLENGES TO OUR WATER SYSTEM   “The water sector frequently operates on legacy technology systems, and small systems regularly lack the financial resources to hire cybersecurity staff.  “Water utilities are also facing generational challenges.   “The average age of a water system operator in the United States is 57 years old. These are individuals who did not grow up using computers and operating cybersecurity systems. “Because of these circumstances, we must meet these systems and their operators where they are and build on the cybersecurity efforts already occurring in the sector.  “Big American companies are working with non-profits to pilot cybersecurity programs to coach system operators on cyber hygiene practices to protect these systems from bad actors.  “The Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a non-profit managed by the water sector, serves over 3,000 water personnel and provides essential two-way communication between the sector and their government partners on cyber threats.  “Rather than responding to these cybersecurity threats with one-size-fits-all regulatory standards that are costly and require and assume a level of technological sophistication to operate and maintain.” WORKING WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS   “We must focus on ways to increase cybersecurity collaboration within the water sector and opportunities for the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Homeland Security to work jointly with these systems to achieve higher levels of cybersecurity.  “The water sector is a willing partner in this endeavor, and why wouldn’t they be. “Water systems have an inherent interest in defending themselves from cyber threats and protecting the safety of the water for their customers. They do not need Washington agencies to remind them of this. “What they need is the technical knowledge and resources that help them protect themselves. “Cyber threats are not disappearing, and no amount of regulation, resources, or technical expertise can fully remove the threat. “However, by meeting the sector where it is and fostering an environment of collaboration, the sector’s cybersecurity resilience can be greatly enhanced. “I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about the diversity of our nation’s water systems and opportunities to enhance the cybersecurity of the sector.”