2:16 PM EDT

Ed Whitfield, R-KY 1st

Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material on S. 2012.

2:16 PM EDT

Ed Whitfield, R-KY 1st

Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of the House amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.

In December of last year, the House passed H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, which is a large portion of the language we are considering today. This legislation, together with provisions from the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on [Page: H3199]

Science, Space, and Technology, would be the first major piece of energy legislation in 8 years, and it addresses many outdated aspects of our Federal energy policy.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton), the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

2:17 PM EDT

Fred Upton, R-MI 6th

Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish the chairman a happy birthday.

It has been nearly a decade since we last considered an energy package like this. In that time, a lot has changed. Continued innovation and discovery across the energy sector have brought about a new landscape of abundant supply and tremendous potential for economic growth. This has been a multiyear, multi-Congress effort, and a lot of work has gone in to make sure that the bill that we put forward to support the future of American energy is truly comprehensive. Together with our colleagues,

I am proud to be moving this legislation one step closer to becoming the new reality for energy producers and consumers across the country.

This bill is about jobs. It is about keeping energy affordable. It is about boosting our energy security here and across the globe. H.R. 8 is the embodiment of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. One of the most important provisions is, in fact, modernizing and protecting critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid, from new threats, including severe weather from climate, cyber threats, and physical attacks as well.

It helps to foster and promote new 21st century energy jobs by ensuring that the Department of Energy and our labs and universities work together to train the energy workforce and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. It makes energy efficiency, including Federal Government energy efficiency, a priority, and focuses less on creating new mandates and subsidies to incentivize behavior and more on market changes and using the government as an example.

Finally, it helps update existing laws that bring some added certainty to permitting processes and helps to promote using our abundant resources to aid in diplomacy. For example, by streamlining the approval process for projects such as the interstate natural gas pipelines and LNG export facilities, the legislation will allow businesses at the cutting edge of research to keep putting the full scope of energy abundance to work for consumers both here and abroad. This allows us to provide an energy

lifeline to our allies across the globe.

Provisions within H.R. 8 and others that have been included in the amendment under consideration today also seek to capitalize on energy sources that the administration has rejected. H.R. 8 brings much-needed reforms to the hydropower licensing process as well, a clean energy source that, together with nuclear, provides some 25 percent of the United States' electricity, with no greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative that hydropower remains a vital part of any future.

The all-of-the-above energy strategy also means that the future of American energy does not need to be a series of choices between the environment and the economy. By introducing 21st century regulatory reforms that reflect our energy abundance, and with the DOE's Quadrennial Energy Review as a guide, this bill will help bring about needed reforms and continued innovation across the energy sector.

The legislation before us today is the product of a thorough assessment of the gap that we face between our stale energy regulations and our budding energy supply. H.R. 8 closes the gap. I urge my colleagues to support it.

2:18 PM EDT

Fred Upton, R-MI 6th

Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish the chairman a happy birthday.

It has been nearly a decade since we last considered an energy package like this. In that time, a lot has changed. Continued innovation and discovery across the energy sector have brought about a new landscape of abundant supply and tremendous potential for economic growth. This has been a multiyear, multi-Congress effort, and a lot of work has gone in to make sure that the bill that we put forward to support the future of American energy is truly comprehensive. Together with our colleagues,

I am proud to be moving this legislation one step closer to becoming the new reality for energy producers and consumers across the country.

This bill is about jobs. It is about keeping energy affordable. It is about boosting our energy security here and across the globe. H.R. 8 is the embodiment of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. One of the most important provisions is, in fact, modernizing and protecting critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid, from new threats, including severe weather from climate, cyber threats, and physical attacks as well.

It helps to foster and promote new 21st century energy jobs by ensuring that the Department of Energy and our labs and universities work together to train the energy workforce and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. It makes energy efficiency, including Federal Government energy efficiency, a priority, and focuses less on creating new mandates and subsidies to incentivize behavior and more on market changes and using the government as an example.

Finally, it helps update existing laws that bring some added certainty to permitting processes and helps to promote using our abundant resources to aid in diplomacy. For example, by streamlining the approval process for projects such as the interstate natural gas pipelines and LNG export facilities, the legislation will allow businesses at the cutting edge of research to keep putting the full scope of energy abundance to work for consumers both here and abroad. This allows us to provide an energy

lifeline to our allies across the globe.

Provisions within H.R. 8 and others that have been included in the amendment under consideration today also seek to capitalize on energy sources that the administration has rejected. H.R. 8 brings much-needed reforms to the hydropower licensing process as well, a clean energy source that, together with nuclear, provides some 25 percent of the United States' electricity, with no greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative that hydropower remains a vital part of any future.

The all-of-the-above energy strategy also means that the future of American energy does not need to be a series of choices between the environment and the economy. By introducing 21st century regulatory reforms that reflect our energy abundance, and with the DOE's Quadrennial Energy Review as a guide, this bill will help bring about needed reforms and continued innovation across the energy sector.

The legislation before us today is the product of a thorough assessment of the gap that we face between our stale energy regulations and our budding energy supply. H.R. 8 closes the gap. I urge my colleagues to support it.

2:21 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, when members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce first began to address a comprehensive bipartisan energy bill in the beginning of 2015, there was a sense of hopefulness, a sense of optimism that the committee would once again set the standard for working together to get things done on behalf of the American people in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation.

At that time, Mr. Speaker, many of us on the minority side had enormous expectations that we would draft a bill that would move our energy policy forward in a manner befitting the challenges facing our Nation in this, the 21st century.

Specifically, Mr. Speaker, from my perspective, a comprehensive energy bill would need to modernize the Nation's aging energy infrastructure, train a 21st century workforce, and address the critically important issue of manmade climate change. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, none of these issues are addressed in the bill that we are voting on here today.

This 800-page hodgepodge of Republican and corporate priorities is nothing more than a majority wish list of strictly ideological bills, many of which the minority party opposes and the Obama administration and the American people do not support.

Outside of just a few minor crumbs thrown in to represent the priorities of the minority party, including my workforce development legislation, the bill almost contains nothing that the American people could support or rally behind. Specifically, Mr. Speaker, the underlying bill, H.R. 8, does little more than take us backwards in terms of energy policy, while also providing loopholes to help industry avoid accountability and to avoid further regulation.

H.R. 8 contains efficiency provisions that will actually increase energy use and energy costs to consumers, putting industry interests above the public interest.

The bill's hydropower title weakens longstanding environmental review procedures and curtails State, local, and tribal authority over projects in their respective lands.

Mr. Speaker, the bill flagrantly binds the U.S. to an outdated dependency on fossil fuels while failing to offer any constructive, forward-looking policies to incentivize the development and the deployment of clean energy.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, many of the bills contained in the House amendment include controversial provisions that the minority party has repeatedly opposed at both the committee level as well as here on the House floor. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, many of these same poison pill amendments in the bill have already received veto threats from the Obama administration.

So, Mr. Speaker, with a bill that fails to modernize our energy infrastructure, that fails to invest in job-creating clean energy technologies, and that fails to cut carbon pollution, it is safe, Mr. Speaker, to proclaim to this body that we still have a long, hard, and cumbersome road ahead if we are ever to reach a point of finding consensus, bipartisan consensus.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support this bill before us. I urge my colleagues to oppose it as well.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:31 PM EDT

Frank Pallone, D-NJ 6th

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Rush for managing the opposition to the bill so successfully.

Mr. Speaker, today we are considering the House amendment to S. 2012, the mistitled North American Energy Security Act of 2016. This legislation once again shows us the vastly different paths taken by the two Chambers of Congress.

On the one hand is the Senate energy bill that the House intends to go to conference on. It passed by a vote of 85-15 because it is balanced and because it contains a number of nonenergy provisions that the public supports overwhelmingly, such as permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. On the other hand, the House energy bill was the result of a highly partisan process that the President threatened to veto.

As we prepare to head to conference, we have a second chance to do things right and to produce a new, bipartisan energy bill. Unfortunately, that is not what we are doing today. The Republican majority has decided to replace the consensus Senate bill with a new pro-polluter package that dwarfs the original H.R. 8.

When crafting the House amendment before us today, the Republican caucus decided to tack on over 30 extraneous bills to an already bad piece of energy legislation that the President promised to veto. While a number of these new additions are noncontroversial bills, many of these provisions are divisive, dangerous, and have drawn veto threats of their own.

The House amendment to S. 2012 weakens protections for public health and the environment, undermines existing laws designed to promote efficiency, and does nothing to help realize the clean and renewable energy policies of the future.

And, of course, this so-called energy infrastructure bill provides absolutely no money to modernize the grid or our pipeline infrastructure.

The House amendment is a backward-looking piece of energy legislation at a time when we need to move forward.

Let me highlight some of the most harmful provisions solely from the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

This bill eliminates the current Presidential permitting process for energy projects that cross the U.S. border. Such action would create a new, weaker process that effectively rubber-stamps permit applications and allows the Keystone pipeline to rise from the grave.

It makes dangerous and unnecessary changes to the FERC natural gas pipeline siting process at the expense of private landowners, the environment, and our national parks.

It harms electricity consumers at all levels by interfering with competitive markets to subsidize uneconomic generating facilities. These facilities would otherwise be rejected by the market in favor of lower cost natural gas and renewable options.

It strikes language in current law that requires Federal buildings to be designed to reduce consumption of fossil fuels.

It creates loopholes that would permit hydropower operators to dodge compliance with environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, and gives preferential treatment to electric utilities at the expense of States, tribes, farmers, and sportsmen.

It contains an energy efficiency title that, if enacted, would result in a net increase in consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to current law.

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, this is not a legitimate exercise in legislating, and it speaks volumes about the total lack of seriousness with which House Republicans are approaching this conference. We should be trying to narrow the differences and move closer to the bipartisan Senate product.

Instead, we are going in the opposite direction, voting on an 800-page monstrosity energy package that the Republican leadership has stitched together from pieces of pro-polluter bills that passed the Senate only to die in the Senate or on the President's desk.

Voting once on these fundamentally flawed ideas was more than enough. We shouldn't make a mockery of the conference process and be using the House floor to try to raise the dead.

The House amendment to S. 2012 has one central theme binding its energy provisions: an unerring devotion to the energy of the past. It is the Republican Party's 19th century vision for the future of U.S. energy policy in the 21st century.

I strongly oppose the House amendment, obviously, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

2:35 PM EDT

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank the gentleman from Kentucky, Chairman Whitfield, for yielding me time.

I am pleased to support the House amendment to the Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Division D of this legislation includes the three energy titles from the Science Committee's House-passed legislation, H.R. 1806, the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2015, and H.R. 4084, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. Division D is both pro-science and fiscally responsible and sets America on a path to remain the world's leader in innovation.

America's economic and productivity growth relies on government support of basic research to enable the scientific breakthroughs that fuel technological innovation, new industries, enhanced international competitiveness, and job creation.

Title V reauthorizes the Department of Energy Office of Science for 2 years. It prioritizes the National Laboratories' basic research that enables researchers in all 50 States to have access to world-class user facilities, including supercomputers and high-intensity light sources.

The bill prevents duplication and requires DOE to certify that its climate science work is unique and not replicated by other Federal agencies.

Title VI likewise reauthorizes DOE's applied research and developmental programs and activities for fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017. It restrains the unjustified growth in spending on late-stage commercialization efforts and focuses instead on basic and applied research efforts.

Division D also requires DOE to provide a regular strategic analysis of science and technology activities within the Department, identifying key [Page: H3201]

areas for collaboration across science and applied research programs.

This will reduce waste and duplication and identify activities that could be better undertaken by States, institutions of higher education or the private sector, and areas of subpar performance that should be eliminated.

Title VII proposes to cut red tape and bureaucracy in the DOE technology transfer process. It allows contractor operators of DOE National Laboratories to work with the private sector more efficiently by delegating signature authority to the directors of the National Labs themselves rather than DOE contracting officers for cooperative agreements valued at less than $1 million.

Also included is H.R. 4084, Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber's House-passed Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. It provides a clear timeline for DOE to complete a research reactor user facility within 10 years. This research reactor will enable proprietary and academic research to develop supercomputing models and design next generation nuclear energy technology.

H.R. 4084 creates a reliable mechanism for the private sector to partner with DOE labs to build fission and fusion prototype reactors at DOE sites.

Overall, Division D sets the right priorities for Federal civilian research, which enhances U.S. competitiveness while reducing spending and the Federal deficit by over $550 million.

I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.

2:41 PM EDT

David Valadao, R-CA 21st

Mr. VALADAO. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues on both committees of jurisdiction here, Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources. The language that they allowed to be put into this energy bill from my water bill is something that truly makes a difference for the constituents of the Central Valley.

We have been suffering over these last few years, and what it has done is devastated our communities. We have unemployment numbers reaching as high as 30 and 40 percent. We see numbers even in some smaller communities as high as 50 percent. To see these things happen in our communities is a total tragedy, and it doesn't have to happen. All we need is some commonsense legislation.

We have tried reaching out. We have passed legislation out of the House a few different times. We have negotiated and tried to get somewhere, but we weren't able to do it.

So finding another way to get this onto our Senators' desks so that they can actually take some action and get it to the President's desk is of the utmost importance.

I appreciate all the leadership and all the help from both committees to help this move forward.

2:45 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd

Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, I want to say we have been here before. Last night we argued about undertaking the water wars of California. Once again, here we are. This time, as last night, legislation dumped into this energy bill that will gut the environmental protections of the delta and San Francisco Bay, destroy the fisheries, destroy the economy of the delta and water for millions of people.

Why would we want to do this?

Well, presumably, to take care of the water interests of the San Joaquin Valley, not southern California, but the San Joaquin Valley alone. It makes no sense whatsoever. It is the wrong policy.

We have to let science govern the delta. We have to operate the delta based upon the very best possible science available, do the pumping, do the exports, consistent with the protection of the ecology and the environment of the delta; that is fish, that is the land, that is the water systems.

The ESA, the Clean Water Act, and the biological opinions, cannot be overrun. Yet, this legislation does exactly that.

We ought to vote ``no'' on this bill. These particular sections should be removed.

2:46 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to reemphasize that, for the minority side to support this bill and its going forward, [Page: H3202]

there must be provisions included in the bill that will address the deeply felt concern that our Members have continually expressed.

Specifically, Mr. Speaker, our Members would like to see funding to modernize the Nation's energy infrastructure. Our Members want to see investment in clean energy technology. Our Members want to see resources to train a 21st century workforce. Our Members want to see policies to transition our economy away from the energy sources of the past and towards the sustainable energy sources of the future.

Mr. Speaker, without these provisions, this bill won't go very far.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage all Members of this House to vote ``no'' on this so-called energy bill. It is a relic. It is backwards-looking. It puts the Nation on a reverse course.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

2:53 PM EDT

Bruce Westerman, R-AR 4th

Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in strong support for the inclusion of H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, in the House amendment to S. 2012.

The House passed H.R. 2647 with 262 bipartisan votes last July, and it has been waiting for Senate action since then.

When we passed the bill nearly a year ago, we knew we were facing a severe wildfire season. We were correct. More than 10.1 million acres of forest land burned across the country, the largest number of acres ever recorded. Over 4,500 homes and other structures were destroyed.

Mr. Speaker, these fires destroyed valuable resources, and emitted in the order of magnitude of 100 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere while burning up the equivalent renewable energy stored in our forests of 20 to 30 billion gallons of gasoline. Tragically, these fires also claimed the lives of seven firefighters who worked courageously to stop the spread of these wildfires into communities.

When the House passed H.R. 2647 last summer, we hoped that the passage would spur action from the Senate. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. We have waited patiently for the Senate to offer its own legislation so we could sit down and negotiate a compromise. However, that has not been the case, so we should again ask the Senate to act on forestry reform.

H.R. 2647 is premised on a simple idea: that the Forest Service and the BLM need to do more work to restore the health and resilience of our Nation's forests.

We understand the problem clearly. Our forests are overgrown due to years of neglect. This problem cannot be solved immediately, but we have an obligation to our rural communities to do everything we can to help mitigate the problem.

In drafting this bill, we included provisions which would allow our Federal land management agencies to be able to shorten lengthy environmental review periods when they already understand the environmental impacts of a proposed management action. This bill also encourages and rewards collaboration between diverse stakeholder groups.

The Natural Resources Committee recognizes the chilling effect of unnecessary litigation and how that can prevent needed restoration work from occurring in our Nation's forests. The committee heard testimony from a variety of experts who testified about how restoration work is not being proposed by the Forest Service for fear that it will be litigated.

My bill takes the simple step of requiring anyone who litigates a forest management project to post a bond if they are challenging a project put forth by a collaborative effort. It is not unreasonable to ask a litigant who threatens an urgently needed project that is put forth by a diverse group of stakeholders to have some skin in the game.

This bill also recognizes the reality that we must rethink the manner in which we fund the fighting of catastrophic wildfires. The Forest Service is burdened with having to transfer funds from other accounts in order to cover the cost of wildfire suppression. Just last year, the Forest Service was forced to transfer $243 million from other agency accounts during 1 week in August in order to pay for firefighting costs. These transfers disrupt the very work that reduces the risk of wildfires in

the first place.

H.R. 2647 addresses this issue by allowing catastrophic wildfires to be treated like any other natural disaster. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior would be able to access FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to help fight wildfires when all appropriated accounts are exhausted. This provision was drafted in a fiscally responsible manner to ensure that fighting these fires does not become a drain on our budget.

Mr. Speaker, this bill will not make a difference in the health of our Nation's Federal forests overnight, but it provides urgently needed tools to help our land management agencies to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires in our communities and to be good stewards of a treasured national resource.

I urge my colleagues to support the House amendment to S. 2012 so that we can go to conference and work out a solution to the many problems facing our Nation's Federal forests. [Page: H3203]

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:58 PM EDT

Jared Huffman, D-CA 2nd

Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Today I rise in opposition to the litany of bad, environmentally harmful bills that the House Republican leadership is offering in place of the bipartisan Senate energy bill.

Now, the Senate bill, S. 2012, was sound policy and represented real progress on many important issues, but the package we are considering today is a dangerous threat. Not only is this package bad for drought-stricken States like California, but it includes a wish list of giveaways for the fossil fuel and mining industries, it undermines vital Endangered Species Act protections, and it undermines public review.

[Time: 15:00]

This is not a promising start to conference negotiations. Why are we wasting our time on a package of partisan bills that we have considered before and which we all know will never be signed into law?

Even worse than the substance, Republicans shot down the request to consider this bill under an open amendment process. Now, I, for one, would have recommended many changes if we were allowed to consider this very controversial omnibus bill under regular order. Just to name a few:

The House amendment we are considering today continues the unending threats that Congress poses under current management to the health of the bay delta and the vital salmon runs that are so important to California and to my district, not to mention specific threats to the San Joaquin River and to the Klamath and Trinity River systems, their salmon fisheries, and the people that depend upon them;

The House amendment we are considering today would bring back from the dead the undeniably harmful Keystone XL pipeline;

The House amendment we are considering today would roll back building codes;

It would be harmful to forest management policy and wildfire mitigation because it uses a short-sighted model for funding instead of bringing forward the actual fix to the fire borrowing problem, the bipartisan legislation by Representatives SIMPSON and SCHRADER that I have supported each of the last several years but we never seem to be able to actually bring to a vote in this House.

I urge my colleagues today to vote for the Senate energy bill in its current form, in its original form, which is the result of true, bipartisan compromise, so we can actually get that legislation and all of its useful provisions over the finish line.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:05 PM EDT

Jerry McNerney, D-CA 9th

Mr. McNERNEY. There are investments that can be made to recycle water and find wasteful leakage. For example, the State of Israel recycles 90 percent of its water. California recycles only 15 percent. Instead, the Republicans have pushed language that results in diminished fish populations and worsens saltwater intrusion, which affects the water being exported that permanently damages some of our most productive farmland in the world.

Mr. Speaker, this is not a solution. It is a step backward. I am disappointed with this bill, and I urge my colleagues to oppose it.

3:06 PM EDT

Rob Wittman, R-VA 1st

Mr. WITTMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the House amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.

The House amendment includes the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2016, better known as the SHARE Act, which passed with bipartisan support in February in the House.

The SHARE Act is part of a group of commonsense bills that will eliminate unneeded regulatory

impediments, safeguard against new regulations that impede outdoor sporting activities, and protect Second Amendment rights. These packages were similarly introduced and passed in the 112th and 113th Congresses.

Outdoor sporting activities, including hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting are deeply engrained in the fabric of the United States' culture and heritage. Values instilled by partaking [Page: H3204]

in these activities are passed down from generation to generation and play a significant part in the lives of millions of Americans.

Much of America's outdoor sporting activity occurs on our Nation's Federal lands. Unfortunately, Federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management often prevent or impede access to Federal land for outdoor sporting activities. Because lack of access is one of the key reasons sportsmen and -women stop participating in outdoor sporting activities, ensuring the public has reliable access to our Nation's Federal lands must remain a top priority. The SHARE Act does just

that.

One of the key provisions of this bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, will increase and sustain access for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Federal lands for generations to come. Specifically, it protects sportsmen and -women from arbitrary efforts by the Federal Government to block Federal lands from hunting and fishing activities by implementing an open-until-closed management policy.

It also, in the package, provides tools to jointly create and maintain recreational shooting ranges on Federal lands and allows the Department of the Interior to designate hunter access corridors through National Park units so that sportsmen and -women can hunt and fish on adjacent Federal lands.

The package also protects Second Amendment rights and the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle. It defends law-abiding individuals' constitutional rights to keep and bear arms on lands managed by the Corps of Engineers and ensures that hunters are not burdened by outdated laws preventing bows and crossbows from being transported across national parks.

This important legislation will sustain America's rich hunting and fishing traditions, improve access to our Federal lands for responsible outdoor sporting activities, and help ensure that current and future generations of sportsmen and -women are able to enjoy the sporting activities this country holds dear.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this important achievement.

3:09 PM EDT

Jim Costa, D-CA 16th

Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Huffman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the amendment in the Energy Policy Modernization Act that was reflected in Congressman Valadao's legislation, H.R. 2898, of which I am a cosponsor. It is an important effort to try to fix California's broken water system.

We cannot continue to kick this can down the road as we have for the last several years. Unfortunately, that is what has continued to happen. Farms, farm communities, and farmworkers are desperate to have Washington recognize that we cannot continue the status quo.

Our Nation's food supply is an issue of national security, and we are dependent upon it. We don't think about it that way, but it is a fact. The drought impacts in California and the West are not going to get better. With climate change, they are going to continue to get worse. Passing this bill is part of a continuing effort to try to get something done. The Federal Government cannot continue to ignore the drought and the devastating impacts not only in the San Joaquin Valley, but statewide

and Western States-wide.

Parts of the valley are parched and without water, and we must continue to raise this issue every way we can. That is why we are doing this. Getting this legislation passed is part of an effort to fix California's broken water system.

There was talk about issuing an allocation, and we were hoping for an El Nino. Guess what. It didn't happen. We got a 5 percent water allocation on the West side. Last year it was zero. The year before it was zero. Zero is zero. It means no water.

So let's try to work together. Let's put aside our talking points and the political posturing for not only California farmers, farmworkers, and farm communities, but American families who count on having nutritious, healthy, and affordable food on their dinner table every night.

3:11 PM EDT

Doug LaMalfa, R-CA 1st

Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for his help and for all his good work and for his vast knowledge of trees and forestry. I appreciate it.

Mr. Speaker, today the House has an opportunity to advance real reforms and modernize the outdated policies that are preventing responsible management of California's water resources.

Title I of division C of this measure includes language developed through exhaustive bipartisan, bicameral negotiations passed repeatedly by the House with bipartisan support. While the House has taken action on this issue, including this language today ensures that California's Senators can no longer ignore the crisis facing our State.

This Chamber has heard quite a bit about California's water woes over the last few years, including some claims that don't meet the threshold of fact, and it is time we set the record straight.

Some falsely claim this bill prioritizes one area over another. As the sole Representative of the source of the vast majority of California's usable water, I can state this measure includes the strongest possible protections for northern California area of origin and senior water rights. It safeguards the most fundamental water right of all: that those who live where water originates have access to it. That is why northern California water districts and farmers in my area strongly support this

bill.

The measure accelerates surface water storage infrastructure projects that over two-thirds of Californians voted to fund, updating the system last expanded four decades ago. One of these projects, Sites Reservoir, would have saved 1 million acre-feet of water this winter alone, enough to supply 8 million Californians for a year. We simply can't expect 40 million people to survive on infrastructure designed for half that, yet that is exactly what members of the minority party argue for.

We have heard wild claims about how this measure could harm endangered species, but in reality it lives within the ESA and the biological opinions. Rather than alter the ESA--and believe me, I would like to--this measure improves population monitoring techniques and technology. Wildlife agencies currently base orders to cut off water on hunches, not data. This bill would provide actual facts to end the arbitrary decisions we have seen in recent years.

Finally, this bill sensibly allows more water to be stored and used during winter storms when river flows are highest and there is no impact to fish populations. Even as delta outflows surpassed 100,000 acre-feet per second this year, as we see in this graphic here, during 2016, the water saved was even less by a percent than during low-flow years.

3:14 PM EDT

Doug LaMalfa, R-CA 1st

Mr. LaMALFA. As a result, the lost opportunity of filling one of our largest reservoirs. San Luis Reservoir is barely half full. This bill ensures that, when we have more water, it is saved for later use, which helps all Californians. Why wouldn't we want to do this?

Mr. Speaker, we can't wait any longer. It is time that we end the rhetoric, end the obstruction, and address the crisis that threatens our State's strong economic livelihood.

If Marin County and San Francisco can get all the water they need, how is it fair that districts in the Central Valley get only 5 percent of their allocation when water is aplenty?

[Time: 15:15]

3:14 PM EDT

Jared Huffman, D-CA 2nd

Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Calling the Valadao water bill bipartisan does not make it genuinely so.

Let me just share with my colleagues what Senator Dianne Feinstein has said about this bill. She said it contains ``provisions that would violate environmental law,'' which she cannot support.

California Senator Barbara Boxer said the bill is ``the same-old, same-old and will only reignite the water wars.'' [Page: H3205]

The Obama administration opposes this bill. The State of California not only opposes these provisions, but has opposed all previous incarnations of this bill, which has been bouncing around for some time, long before the current drought gave it a new drought-related title.

I will just close with what the Fresno Bee has said about this bill.

The Fresno Bee says about this bill: ``In some cases, it's an unabashed GOP wish list'' that has ``little, if anything, in common with a 140-page draft water bill floated by Democrats.''

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Matsui), who has long fought to protect the delta and the interests of her region.

3:16 PM EDT

Doris O. Matsui, D-CA 6th

Ms. MATSUI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the House amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Although this bill contains some important provisions overall, it raises barriers to our clean energy future by reversing important progress we have made to curb emissions and combat climate change. House Republicans have made a bad bill worse by attaching harmful provisions that will have a negative impact on consumers, public health, and our environment.

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly concerned that this energy package is being used to advance irresponsible, short-term policies in response to California's drought. The provisions included in this bill will pit one region of our great State against another instead of providing a balanced, long-term solution.

We need to be taking an all-of-the-above approach to our drought by advancing wastewater recycling projects, investing in groundwater storage, and encouraging new technologies that allow us to responsibly manage our water usage.

I actually grew up on a Central Valley farm. My grandparents farmed in Reedley, California, and I grew up in Dinuba. So I understand that the debate over water is complicated and personal to so many, but I believe that we can balance the needs of our farmers and urban centers while protecting our drinking water supply and our ecosystems. Our American families deserve an energy package that brings us forward, not backwards.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015.

3:17 PM EDT

Bruce Westerman, R-AR 4th

Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy), our distinguished, hardworking, and, above all, compassionate and fair majority leader.

3:18 PM EDT

Kevin McCarthy, R-CA 23rd

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, there are places in this world that hold people's imagination--Washington, D.C., New York City, and Paris, the great rolling plains crossed by American pioneers, and the Himalayan mountains touching into the heavens.

I was blessed, blessed more than I knew, to grow up in such a place, a place called California. It is so distinctive and impressive, it is unreal. Warm, sun-drenched beaches, snowcapped mountains, great cities, forests, deserts, farmland growing fruits, nuts, and vegetables stretching as far as the eye can see. It is a place that is always filled with promise and potential. In many ways, California's history mirrors the history of America. It started as nothing much, but people came and they

built it. We grew and prospered. We became the envy of the world.

Like America, today, California faces great uncertainty. Some problems are the same, shared by the entire Nation, but California and almost the entire Western United States are enduring something much worse--the drought. The drought has lingered for years. El Nino helped alleviate some of the problem, but the drought continues. Communities have less water, farmland that once fed the world now sits dry. People are losing their livelihoods and their hope. There is no way to end the drought, but

it doesn't have to be as bad as it is.

Now, water that can be stored is being lost. Bureaucrats release freshwater out to the sea. Our most valuable resource is being wasted.

This matters today because we are considering a bill from our colleagues in the Senate--the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Before the Senate passed this bill, they added several provisions, including language to address water issues in Washington State.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that I am very happy that the Senate brought this up. After all, if we are going to address the water issue in Washington State, we should address the water issue across the West. So we included in our amendment to the legislation Representative Valadao's Western Water and American Food Security Act. We passed this last year in the House so we could build more water storage and increase our reservoirs while still allowing water to flow through the Sacramento

delta.

Water is so necessary for our constituents that we aren't stopping with this bill. We have already began consideration of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which includes even more provisions to deal with the drought.

So there is a simple message for our Democrat colleagues in the Senate. House Republicans won't stop. We will keep passing bills until our people get the water they need. Because once we get water, so much of the uncertainty facing California and the entire West will be brushed aside.

You see, California and America as a whole face a crisis of bad governance. Many look around and see life isn't getting any better. They wonder if our Nation is in decline.

But that is not who we are, not as Americans and not as Californians. Our best days are not behind us. We will not quietly manage our decline. I reject the idea that we have reached the heights of our shining city on a hill, and that it is time to come back down to a world of limits and uncertainty. The choice is ours to make because as Americans we write our own future. That is what this vote means for me and for every Californian. The laws governing water are broken. The bureaucracy is working

against the people. The system is holding us back, but this is not how it has to be.

California has long been a reflection of America's promise. We also helped America to realize its promise. We led the way in media, technology, agriculture, and even space. Bring the water back and I know we will lead America once again, and help to restore hope in our future.

3:23 PM EDT

Jared Huffman, D-CA 2nd

Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I share the majority leader's view that California is a unique and iconic and majestic place. I would only add that part of what makes it so includes the great rivers and iconic salmon runs in California from the Central Valley to the North Coast, where I represent, and the incredibly important bay-delta estuary, the most ecologically important estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, which despite all of the damage we have done to it over the past 100-plus years, still teams with waterfowl

and wildlife and still supports salmon that are the staple of the commercial salmon fishing industry, not just in California, but in Washington and Oregon.

That is why groups who advocate for these fisheries, folks who make their living by depending on these fish, are uniformly against the Republican water bill that has been added in by way of this amendment. Fishing jobs matter, too. It is part of what makes California great. There is no one that understands that better than my colleague, Mike Thompson.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson).

3:24 PM EDT

Mike Thompson, D-CA 5th

Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the amendment to the Senate bill that is before us.

California is in a true state of emergency when it comes to water. We are in a multiyear drought. And even after this winter's El Nino, only one of our State's reservoirs are filled to capacity.

The drought is having a serious impact on families, on farms, on farmers, on fishers, and on businesses across California. We need science-based, long-term solutions to our State's water challenges, and this bill is not the solution.

It won't help our State to improve water efficiency and make the most of the water that we have. It is based on the misguided assumption that our [Page: H3206]

water crisis can be remedied by pumping more water south. The truth is we haven't pumped more water south because there simply isn't enough water. We are in a drought.

The provisions we are debating today redefine the standard by which the Endangered Species Act is applied. This will weaken the law, increase the risk of species extinction, and lead to costly litigation.

You will hear the other side talk about how this is necessary because we are letting millions of gallons of water wash out to sea in order to protect fish when that water could have been pumped to farmers in California's Central Valley.

The reality is that water needs to keep moving through the delta so that saltwater doesn't wash in, jeopardizing water quality for farms and for communities, including cities in my district that rely on the delta for their freshwater supply.

It is important to note that this bill sets a dangerous precedent for every other State in our country. California has a system of water management rules that have endured for a long time, but this bill overrides water regulations developed by Californians themselves, and tells local resource managers and water districts how to administer their water supplies.

If we pass this bill, we are telling every State in America that we are okay with the Federal Government undermining local experts and State laws from coast to coast.

We need real solutions that are based on science and that work for everyone. If you can set the science aside in California, you can do it anywhere. You have no protection for your resources.

This isn't about farmers versus fish. It is about saving salmon, saving cities in the delta, delta farmers, north of delta farmers, and resources across our country.

I am not insensitive to the supply and demand reality of California's water. I understand the concerns of Central Valley farmers. Remember, I am one. Ag is big in my district, too. But if your well runs dry, the solution isn't to steal water from your neighbors.

This bill isn't the solution. It is bad for the millions who depend on the delta for their livelihoods, it is bad for California, and it is bad for States across our country.

I urge all of my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this measure.