Burdensome energy regulations are driving up the costs across the board, from transportation fuel to utility bills. While the regulatory onslaught from the Biden administration and congressional Democrats only worsens this crisis by making energy projects more difficult to build and permit, Republicans want to create a regulatory structure to encourage innovation. Encouraging innovation in the energy sector, instead of imposing regulations, will allow the United States to continue to attain energy dominance while leading the world in emissions reduction.
Whenever I have the opportunity to see our robust energy economy firsthand, I am always proud of how my home state of South Carolina leads the way in delivering clean and reliable power daily through innovation and an all-of-the-above energy approach. Last month, I had the opportunity to show off the remarkable energy industry of South Carolina to members of Congress from across the country.
I was honored to lead nine of my colleagues on an “all of the above” energy tour to demonstrate our leadership and critical role in energy innovation and production. It’s one thing to hear about nuclear energy production and all-of-the-above energy solutions, but it’s another thing to experience this firsthand at some of the nation’s leading facilities.
My colleagues and I began our energy tour at Clemson University, where we met with energy experts and learned of the university’s capabilities in energy innovation, research and education. Clemson is training the next generation of the energy workforce, focusing specifically on the utilization of alternate sources, from battery storage to hydrogen to wind power.
We also had the chance to visit the Bad Creek Hydro Station, which essentially works as a battery by storing energy and releasing it during times of peak demand when our communities need it the most.
While touring Oconee Nuclear Station, we witnessed a nuclear facility’s security from inside the control room. Our visit was eye-opening for many of my colleagues in proving that nuclear energy really is clean, reliable and, most importantly, safe.
The Oconee Nuclear Station was the second nuclear station in the U.S. to have its license renewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an additional 20 years. Like many nuclear plants across the country, the Oconee Nuclear Station is responsible for providing thousands of my constituents with clean and reliable electricity. In Congress, it is imperative we look to legislation that will keep the existing reactor fleet online, as well as incentivize new and advanced reactor development.
This is why I introduced the “Modernize Nuclear Reactor Environmental Reviews” Act, which would streamline the environmental review process for nuclear reactors, especially advanced reactors.
For the United States to maintain leadership in the nuclear industry, we must update our regulations to foster a regulatory environment conducive to nuclear investment.
Nuclear is the only carbon-free energy source that is available 24/7/365. South Carolina’s nuclear power reactors produce 95% of the state’s carbon-free electricity and over half of the state’s total electricity, generating enough electricity each year to power over 4 million households and employing nearly 3,000 people across the state.
As our nation struggles with an unprecedented energy crisis due to the Democrats’ America-last energy policy and overregulation, it is essential we utilize American energy and encourage innovation in fields like nuclear energy to regain energy dominance and security. Democrats want to limit our energy economy by overregulating certain industries out of existence, especially in the fields of nuclear energy and oil and gas production.
Unleashing American production is the first step in bringing down both gas and electric prices, which is why we need a regulatory environment that encourages long-term investment from companies. It’s time to end the Democrats’ regulatory war on pipelines and the supply of capital for energy projects.
We need to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, restart lease sales for oil and gas production on federal lands, roll back the regulations that slow infrastructure permitting and discourage investments in fossil fuels, increase production of oil and gas, and increase refining capacity in America. The “American Independence from Russia Act,” led by my colleague Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and myself, would do just that.
Republicans advocate for an all-of-the-above solution to meet our nation’s energy needs, letting markets pick winners and losers when it comes to energy production, instead of politicians. We believe in unleashing American energy production by utilizing our nation’s vast natural resources and innovation, which inevitably lowers energy costs for Americans and positively impacts the economy.
There is no doubt nuclear energy will play an integral role in this country’s energy future, and we hope to continue to pave the way for its future by removing regulatory red tape to encourage the private sector to reach its full potential. We understand that American innovation, not federal government intervention, is key to thriving industries and success.
• Jeff Duncan is an American politician who has been the United States representative for South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District since 2011.
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