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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

OPINION:

The Biden administration‘s anti-American energy agenda has led to gas prices hitting all-time highs across the nation. Coupled with Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, it is more critical than ever that our nation establishes a strong, reliable, all-of-the-above domestic energy portfolio. Thankfully, we have a prime example of how to do just that.

I proudly represent a region of the country that exemplifies innovation, technological advancement, and an all-of-the-above energy portfolio: Central Washington. My district is home to our state’s largest wind and solar farms, as well as innovative biomass and new hydrogen technologies. Most importantly, we have the region’s only nuclear power plant and a system of powerful hydroelectric dams. And because we embrace clean and renewable baseload resources, my constituents enjoy some of the lowest energy costs in the country.


Central Washington will soon be home to the United States’ first advanced modular nuclear reactor funded by the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Advanced nuclear energy systems hold enormous potential to lower emissions, create new jobs, and build a strong economy, and this investment is not only going to help shape the future of clean energy innovation for the Tri-Cities and Central Washington, but for the entire nation. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will house the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Storage Launchpad, which will lead the country in energy storage research and development.

World-class scientists and researchers at the PNNL are also playing a critical role in our nation’s energy future by working with federal partners to design state-of-the-art turbines that are improving fish passage through hydroelectric dams—in our region and across the country.

The federal dams along the Snake and Columbia Rivers not only provide immense irrigation, transportation, and flood control benefits to local communities, but they generate clean and carbon-free electricity—all while maintaining a fish passage rate of over 90% for our native salmon species. Despite these remarkable statistics, misguided attacks on these dams threaten both our regional energy security and the very lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest. Given the threats facing our country, and the world, it’s imperative that we protect this critical infrastructure.

We have embraced progress, and we will continue to improve energy development, capacity, and storage for the whole country—if not the world.

While it’s easy to brag about my home state, the underlying message remains: We must restore American energy independence. Luckily for us, the path is clear. All it takes is supporting the many American energy producers we already have—with an emphasis on baseload energy resources. Wind turbines only spin when the wind blows, and solar panels only work when the sun is shining. Nuclear and hydropower provide baseload energy to the communities in my district all year long, and we have the capacity to take those benefits nationwide.

As Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, a group of 75 Members of Congress representing rural communities across the United States, I have spent the past year and a half hearing directly from rural Americans and lifting their voices in our nation’s capital. These communities agree that we must embrace the diverse energy resources our country has to offer for the benefit of our national security, our economy, and our environment.

In the United States, we produce energy cleaner and safer than anywhere else in the world, for traditional resources like oil and natural gas as well as for emerging resources and innovative technologies. That is why we cannot allow the Biden Administration and far-left Democrats to force us to choose between the two. When it comes down to it, we should not be looking at our energy portfolio as “or” but rather as “and.”

We need American oil and natural gas, and we need carbon-free energy resources like hydro and nuclear power.

Just as I am fighting for my constituents against attacks on our dams, I will continue to fight for the U.S. energy sector, defend our producers from wrongful attacks, and work to restore American energy independence. The American people depend on it.

• U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse, Washington Republican, represents the state’s 4th District in Congress. As Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, he uses his position to advocate for efficient, commonsense policies and regulation reform that spur economic development, strengthen local management of natural resources, support all-of-the-above energy solutions, and empower rural communities across the West and beyond. Newhouse is a third-generation Yakima Valley farmer and lifelong resident of Central Washington, bringing real-world experience to Congress as a businessman and former state legislator ready to work hard in support of conservative solutions that encourage job creation and economic opportunity for Central Washington‘s rural communities.


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