Science Committee Democrats

Dec 10, 2021

3 min read

Week in Review — 12.10.21

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee newsletter! The SST Newsletter highlights the goings on of the Committee, the hard work of our Members, and a look ahead. Sign up to get it delivered straight to your inbox!

Addressing Forever Chemicals

On Tuesday, the Committee held a hearing to discuss the role of federal research and development to better understand the class of man-made chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). There remains much uncertainty surrounding their toxicity and human health effects, how to safely and effectively remove them from the environment, and how to detect and quantify the thousands of different PFAS compounds that exist. The hearing provided an opportunity to explore gaps in federal research efforts, methods for improved interagency coordination, opportunities to collaborate with state governments and non-government entities, and ideas for improving public understanding and education about PFAS.

Given the scale of this issue & the cost to our communities, it’s clear we need to do more to support our municipalities fighting these harmful chemicals… If we don’t, the costs to our communities’ health will continue to compound & that is unacceptable.”

- Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) of the Subcommittee on Environment

“Exposure to PFAS chemicals continues to harm the health & wellbeing of families across America. My home state of Michigan has the most PFAS-contaminated sites in the country thus making it the state’s biggest environmental crisis in half a century.”

- Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology

You can watch the hearing and read testimony here.

PASSED THE HOUSE: NASA Enhanced Use Lease Extension Act of 2021

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5746, the NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act of 2021. H.R. 5746 extends Enhanced Use Leasing (EUL) authority to NASA to effectively lease any underutilized, non-excess property owned by the Federal Government, and under NASA’s jurisdiction, to private sector entities, state and local governments, academic institutions, and other Federal agencies. Under its EUL authority, NASA may retain lease revenues and apply proceeds towards maintenance, capital revitalization, and improvements of NASA’s real property assets. This bill provides a clean 10-year extension of NASA EUL authority. H.R. 5746 has been led in the House by Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA).

The legislation and one-page summary can be viewed here.

ICYMI: Chairwoman Launches Inquiry on Oil and Gas Methane Leaks

Last week, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent letters to ten oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin to understand whether each company’s existing Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs possess the capability to achieve wide-ranging, quantifiable emission reductions in oil and gas infrastructure methane leaks. The Committee is assessing whether additional policies and research may be required to support a stronger Federal role in monitoring, quantifying, and evaluating methane leak emissions. The Committee will be requesting that the companies disclose internal data regarding different aspects of their Permian Basin leak emissions and their efforts to quantify and mitigate those emissions.

Read our press release here. Find the letters here.

Washington Post: Lawmakers demand oil and gas firms divulge methane leak data

Politico: House Science asks Permian producers about methane leak tech

Associated Press: Exxon Mobil rolls out plan to cut emissions in Permian Basin

Science on Social

Coming up in Committee

There is no committee activity scheduled for next week.