Pallone Pushes Infrastructure Investment in House Panel Hearing

House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Thursday stressed how important it is for infrastructure investment to be included in energy legislation coming out of the conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate energy bills.

“I’ve made it clear that one of my top priorities in any final energy conference report is providing investments in our energy infrastructure to address some of the needs outlined in the [Energy Department’s Quadrennial Energy Review] such as grid modernization,” Pallone said during his opening statement.

Pallone said changes in energy markets, new technologies and consumer demand have transformed the landscape of energy security and make it necessary to pass updated energy legislation.

“The realities of energy security are changing as our energy mix changes,” Pallone said. “We can no longer simply look at oil supply when we think about energy security, our country must take a broader approach that encompasses cleaner energy technologies including renewable energy technologies, which are becoming more affordable. And beyond the realities of our energy mix, we must recognize the impacts climate change is having on energy security here in the United States and abroad.”

In his written statement, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz agreed that the current state of energy infrastructure could pose security risks.

“The April 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review concluded that in key areas, the country’s energy and related infrastructures have not kept pace with changes in the volume and geography of oil and gas production,” Moniz wrote.

“We are also now operating in a post-9/11 threat environment that provides a new context and framework for what we as a department are responsible for and do in emergency response,” Moniz added. “We know that adversaries and homegrown actors are interested in the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructures.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise – along with a House staffer, lobbyist and Capitol Police officer – “an attack on all of us.” In addition to the show of unity at the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game, lawmakers raised concerns about their own security and that of their district offices.

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