Skip to main content
Press Release Published: Jul 28, 2022

Herrell: Americans Deserve to Hear Testimony from Senior Biden Administration Officials

WASHINGTON — Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) opened today’s hearing on leaded fuel in the aviation industry by calling on Democrats to hold the federal government accountable to the American people. She noted that Committee Republicans have been calling on Democrats to invite Biden Administration witnesses for over a year and emphasized how Administration officials are now refusing to comply with both Republicans’ and Democrats’ requests to appear before the Committee. Ranking Member Herrell encouraged Democrats to authorize subpoenas to compel testimony from senior-level officials and highlighted the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Aviation Administration’s refusal to participate in today’s hearing. She concluded by explaining the positive impacts the aviation industry has had in New Mexico and stressed her commitment to working with leaders and stakeholders to reduce red tape and promote innovation in the industry.        

Below is Subcommittee Ranking Member Herrell’s remarks as prepared:

Thank you, Chairman Khanna.  And thank you to the witnesses for appearing today.

I am honored to participate in this subcommittee hearing for the first time as ranking member and am excited to lead my Republican colleagues on the subcommittee.

I would like to first thank Chairman Khanna for inviting the Administrators of the EPA and FAA to testify today on such an important issue.

Republicans have been calling on Democrats to invite Biden Administration witnesses for over a year and half, so that we can conduct the important work of the Oversight Committee and hold the federal government accountable to the American people.

As Mr. Khanna correctly noted in his letter to EPA Administrator Regan and FAA Acting Administrator Nolen, it is “unconscionable” that each official refused to testify at today’s hearing.

That is why I, along with Ranking Member Comer, called upon Chairwoman Maloney to issue subpoenas to EPA and the FAA to compel their testimony.  The American people deserve to hear testimony from senior-level Biden Administration witnesses.

I pledge to work with Chairman Khanna to ensure that Administration witnesses appear before us in the future to answer our questions on behalf of our constituents.

General aviation is an important industry that serves many purposes throughout the United States.

In my home state of New Mexico alone, the general aviation industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy and supports tens of thousands of jobs.

General aviation aircraft connect small towns across the country with the outside world; transport blood supplies, vital transplant organs, and other life-saving elements; and treat millions of acres of cropland per year.

The industry plays a vital role in the protection of our environment—by conducting wildlife surveys, patrolling parklands, and mapping soil erosion and wetland losses.

General aviation aircraft also fight wildfires, mitigating their spread into towns and saving millions of acres of land.

New Mexico is currently battling the largest recorded wildfire in our state’s history.

Aerial firefighting has played a critical role in its containment.

The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire has burned over 340,000 acres of land and damaged hundreds of buildings.

Although I am encouraged that the fire has reached a 95% containment level, I will continue to advocate for relief assistance and work to ensure that New Mexico is better prepared in the future.

The people of New Mexico are resilient, and we will get through this tough chapter in our history.

The general aviation industry is in the middle of a transition from leaded fuel to unleaded fuel—a transition that the car industry made a few decades ago.

The exposure to lead can have devastating health effects on humans.  This Committee would be hard pressed to find someone who did not want to find a solution to this complex problem.

Private companies are working toward this success.

Swift Fuels sells a 94 unleaded fuel alternative to 100 leaded fuel that can be used in over 60% of single engine piston planes.

I would like to thank Swift Fuels CEO Chris D’Acosta for appearing as a witness today and for his company’s commitment to finding a replacement fuel for the entire fleet of single engine piston aircraft.

The private sector will innovate as long as the public sector removes red tape and helps implement the transition.

I am grateful that the industry, relevant stakeholders, and, despite their refusal to testify today, the FAA are working together to find a solution through the EAGLE program.Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to today’s witnesses.