America’s Energy Policy Should be “All of the Above” Not “Everything But”
The recent arctic blast that left millions without power should be a wake-up call to all Americans and policymakers in Washington.
Republicans have an “all of the above” energy strategy that prioritizes American energy independence, embraces fossil fuels and renewable energy, and doesn’t allow Washington to pick winners and losers through massive subsidies. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have an “everything but” strategy that demonizes fossil fuels and other clean energy sources like nuclear their radical base doesn’t like.
The “everything but” position is bad for our economy, and our planet. For instance, no technology has done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the past two decades than fracking and natural gas. Innovations in that sector were driven entirely by the private sector, not top-down government mandates. Yet Democrats are fixated on undoing the very innovations that are giving us a healthier planet and economy.
Developing a sound 21st century energy policy should be a top priority for Congress. Americans deserve to power their lives and businesses with energy that’s reliable, affordable and environmentally safe. We also need a reliable grid that can withstand severe weather.
Yet President Biden and congressional Democrats have made clear that they are more committed to their “everything but” energy policy than whether our grid is reliable, or our energy is affordable. In an effort to appease the extreme wing of their party they have called for eliminating oil, gas, nuclear and coal from the United States power grid by 2035. In addition, President Biden recently announced that the U.S. and Canada will work toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. But the Biden administration is blocking the deployment of clean technologies that already exist (such as nuclear) to get us there while hindering the inventions and breakthroughs that need to be made to reach that goal. Republicans support updating the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act to help innovators develop and deploy clean technology breakthroughs – something Democrats refuse to address.
Trying to achieve unrealistic and unscientific Green New Deal goals (the plan would do nothing to lower global temperatures) will destroy American jobs, cede our supply chain to China and our impair our power grid.
While Republicans support clean energy, thanks to “everything but” Democrats, we’re a long way from being in a position to rely on technologies like solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. The fact is that around 80% of all U.S. energy comes from gas, oil and coal – with wind and solar accounting for around 5%.
Despite this inconvenient truth, President Biden is moving full speed ahead to destroy these critical energy sources. Only a week into office he signed an executive order to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline project and halted new oil and gas leasing on all public lands. This decision will not only destroy thousands of jobs – it will also jeopardize our energy independence and critically harm the power grids’ ability to overcome adverse weather like the recent winter storm.
Instead of including wind as part of a healthy energy mix, Democrats are incentivizing wind at the expense of oil, gas and nuclear. This means our energy grid is in some places overreliant on an energy source that is incapable of meeting the demand. For example, when wind turbines across the Midwest iced up and had to be turned off to avoid spinning the blades off, coal and nuclear were literally lifesaving energy sources for some.
While many power sources also had issues due to the cold blast, it was thanks to a variety of power sources that one – natural gas – was able to provide electricity to areas hit with the arctic temps. While this high demand also came at a cost, without it there would not have been power for hospitals or fire departments.
Thanks to decades of efforts by past administrations – especially from the Trump administration which prioritized an energy revitalization – we became a net energy exporter last year for the first time since 1953, achieving energy independence.
Green New Deal policies being advocated by President Biden and Speaker Pelosi will make our energy independence a short-lived victory.
To power the American Dream, we must have power that is safe, affordable and reliable. That means supporting an “all of the above” approach and rejecting the Democrats’ unscientific and ideological “everything but” agenda.
Ron Estes is a 5th generation Kansan and represents Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Tracey Mann is also a 5th generation Kansan and is the representative of Kansas’ 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Agriculture and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.