Communities across the United States are feeling the impacts of the current economic and energy crisis. The policies being pushed by the Biden administration have caused gas prices to double, natural gas prices to nearly triple and the highest inflation in over 40 years. Many Americans are being pushed into energy poverty, with 24% of Americans saying that they have reduced or gone without basic expenses — including food and medicine — in order to pay their energy bill over the last year.
The complete absence of rational policy out of the White House and from many complacent congressional Democrats is failing the American people, and it is making us less resilient as a nation.
America’s coastal states and communities know better than most about resiliency. As life-long residents of states along the Gulf of Mexico, we share the experience of working to help rebuild communities following historic storms and are frustrated by the bureaucratic processes that slow down the time it takes to deliver relief.
Sometimes that relief includes providing basic modern needs — such as electricity — to communities. After Hurricane Ida, it took weeks to restore power to some areas of Louisiana. The 2021 winter storm in Texas caused widespread power outages that caused billions of dollars in damages and contributed to hundreds of deaths.
It isn’t just following natural disasters that Americans are confronted with a lack of power to keep the lights on at home or to run their businesses. As a result of Green New Deal-like strategies, rolling blackouts have become the norm in some parts of the country, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation cautioned that large areas of the U.S. face the threat of blackouts this summer.
Considering the underlying challenges facing the nation’s grid, this should come as no surprise. Not only is there aging infrastructure, but there are also physical and cybersecurity risks and changes in the sources of power generation that have made the grid less reliable. As part of incoherent energy and climate policies, zero-emission nuclear power plants that provide safe, reliable baseload energy are shuttering across the country.
Nuclear power provided nearly 19% of the electrical generation in the U.S. and 50% of all our carbon-free electricity in 2021. But this percentage is declining with more nuclear retirements. As more weather-dependent wind and solar power increases, baseload power must be more flexible — making it difficult to justify major investments in large-scale nuclear reactors that cannot quickly adjust to demand. In other words, reckless energy policies are resulting in the elimination of reliable, emissions-free energy sources and increasing the likelihood of sweeping power outages.
In order to ensure we have reliable power, we need to make smart investments and come to terms with reality. Advancements in technologies across energy sources are making our most reliable fuels even cleaner and our clean fuels more reliable. In fact, the United States is one of the world’s most efficient producers of energy, and it has led the world in emissions reductions.
Shutting down reliable power supplies needlessly sacrifices the resiliency of our grid. We can see this first-hand in states like California, where liberal extremists’ endless advocating against emissions-free nuclear power and cleaner, American natural gas left the state scrambling for emergency power in the hot summer months.
Americans must be able to rely on power for their homes and businesses, and the government has a responsibility to make choices that prioritize keeping the lights on regardless of the weather. Instead, the Biden administration wants to take the California model national, trade American energy for foreign dependence, and make U.S. energy more expensive and less competitive.
By pushing goals without a strategy and choosing foreign energy cartels over American producers and our own resources, this administration has failed to deliver affordable, secure and resilient energy. Moreover, this disjointed approach won’t reduce global emissions, and it ignores the jobs and value that the domestic energy sector provides for countless communities — including employing millions of Americans across the country.
The Biden administration’s reckless efforts to spend its way out of a changing climate are foolish. With energy demand growing long into the future, we can’t afford to take any resources off the table. We can’t shut down nuclear power, vilify American natural gas, or avoid the glaring need for permitting reform necessary to build new transmission lines and energy storage if we want to grow our economy. No amount of spending can change this fact. Instead, Republicans are focused on the reality of our growing energy demand and an understanding that energy security is national security. With strategic and smart investments in resilient, reliable power, and comprehensive permitting reform, we can protect our communities, our livelihoods and our environment.
• Garret Graves has served as the United States representative from Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District since 2015. Rick Perry served as the 14th United States secretary of energy from 2017 to 2019 and as the 47th governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015.
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