Rep. Smith Leads Energy and Environment Policy Delegation to Washington, D.C.

Staff Report From Newnan CEO

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

State Representative Lynn Smith (R-Newnan), chair of the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee, led a delegation of southern state lawmakers to Washington, D.C., from June 5 to June 6, 2018, to engage in meetings with senior officials from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior. Rep. Smith is chair of the Energy & Environment Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, which sponsored the delegation.

“It was an honor to lead this delegation of seasoned policymakers from across the South,” said Rep Smith. “As chair of the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee, I have often been frustrated by these agencies’ top-down approach to regulation. However, I am encouraged by the spirit of openness and cooperation exhibited by the agencies during our briefings, and I look forward to working collaboratively with them in the future.”

During the meetings, delegates received targeted briefings from high-ranking officials from the DOE, the EPA and the DOI.  As the nation’s energy infrastructure becomes increasingly interconnected, cybersecurity concerns persist. Doug Little, deputy assistant secretary of the DOE’s Intergovernmental and External Affairs office, provided an update on the DOE’s cybersecurity initiatives and the outcomes of GRIDEX IV, a biennial exercise designed to simulate a cyber/physical attack on electric and other critical infrastructures across the country. Preston Cory, director of the EPA’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, briefed delegates on the agency’s regulatory reform agenda, including the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and forthcoming revisions to the Clean Water Rule.  Delegates also received a briefing from Todd Wynn, director of the DOI’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, on the agency’s proposed expansion of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, as well as the newly created Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council. Through meetings and dialogue with these officials, delegates gained a deeper understanding of each agency’s policy priorities and shared their state’s perspective on pressing energy and environmental issues.

Other delegation participants were Senator Ed Emery, Missouri, vice chair of the SLC’s Energy & Environment Committee; Representative William E. “Bill” Sandifer III, South Carolina; Senator Robin Webb, Kentucky; and Senator Dave Sypolt, West Virginia.

As part of the trip, Rep. Smith also visited with Congressman Drew Ferguson on June 5, 2018, to discuss several issues of concern expressed by Rep. Smith’s constituents.