Rep. Owens joins transportation committee; Curtis back on energy, natural resources | News, Sports, Jobs

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Utah’s delegation to the US House of Representatives, clockwise from upper left-hand corner: Reps. Blake Moore, Burgess Owens, Chris Stewart and John Curtis. All are Republicans.

With the public 15-round battle over the Speaker of the House — ultimately won by Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California — in the past, behind-the-scenes negotiations for committee membership have continued.

Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah’s 4th Congressional District announced Wednesday his placement on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Utah’s 4th District includes all of Utah County south of 400 South in Springville, land west of Interstate 15 in Lehi, Utah Lake and everything west until the county border.

“It is an honor to be the first Utahn selected to serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in over 20 years,” Owens said in a press release. “Utah is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, and we need a strong voice at the table to tackle water management, air quality improvement, the ongoing energy and supply chain crises, and more. I am proud to be a voice for our state on this pivotal committee and will work hard to ensure the strategic growth and responsible management of our nation’s infrastructure.”

In addition to all modes of transportation, the committee has jurisdiction over “clean water and waste water management, the transport of resources by pipeline, flood damage reduction, the management of federally owned real estate and public buildings, the development of economically depressed rural and urban areas, disaster preparedness and response, and hazardous materials transportation,” according to the committee’s website.

Owens is one of 17 new Republican members on the committee, where he will have influence on a variety of issues relevant to Utah County, particularly Utah Lake and housing.

In a press release, Missouri Republican and committee chairman Sam Graves called Owens “a valuable member of our committee as we work to develop solutions to improve our infrastructure, strengthen transportation programs, and help alleviate ongoing energy and supply chain problems on behalf of the American people.”

Rep. John Curtis represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Utah County north of 400 South in Springville and east of I-15 in Lehi, including the entirety of Provo and Orem. The district also extends from Summit County to San Juan County along the state’s eastern border.

Curtis told the Daily Herald on Thursday he will continue as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The energy committee, according to its website, is responsible for “matters including telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health and research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce among others.”

Since being elected to Congress in 2017, Curtis has been a leader in the GOP caucus on climate issues as the founder of the Conservative Climate Caucus through which he has advocated for finding conservative solutions to problems created by climate change, as well as clean energy. The 3rd District’s boundaries leave Curtis responsible for coal country on the state’s eastern border and in central Utah along with oil and gas in Uintah County.

He received overwhelming support in the areas while campaigning for reelection in 2022, he told the Daily Herald in November, by meeting people where they were and finding common ground.

“It validates, to me, this concept of ‘you’re oil and gas, you have a role in this. I’m not demonizing you. You have a role in lowering emissions, and we need you,’” Curtis said. “We don’t need to demonize anybody, we don’t need to destroy economies, we don’t need to give up national security, and we can still reduce emissions.”

While the full roster for the energy committee has not been released, he will be joined by several colleagues from the Intermountain West on natural resources. Other GOP members include Colorado’s Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn, Wyoming’s Harriet Hageman, Idaho’s Russ Fulcher and Montana’s Matt Rosendale.

Rep. Blake Moore of Utah’s 1st Congressional District was named to the House Ways and Means Committee — which has jurisdiction over tax, trade, health care, entitlement and other issues — while Rep. Chris Stewart, 2nd Congressional District, will remain on the House Appropriations Committee.


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