I've long supported a comprehensive, commonsense “all of the above” energy strategy that utilizes our abundant energy resources. Through a commitment to North American energy production, we can ensure a steady supply of affordable and reliable energy, spur domestic job creation and manufacturing, and fortify our long-term energy security. With advancements in technology and innovation, we are experiencing a new era of energy abundance with the discovery and subsequent production of game-changing oil and natural gas reserves. Building the infrastructure to move these supplies to consumers is emerging as the real challenge of the 21st century.
An "All of the Above" Approach
An “all of the above” energy plan focuses on emerging clean energy technologies like renewables - solar, wind, and hydropower - as well as traditional energy solutions - safe nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas - that keep costs low for Southwest Michigan families and businesses.
I believe an "all of the above" approach, mixed with commonsense updates to our outdated energy laws, will spur job creation and economic growth and keep prices affordable for everyone.
Recently, the House advanced H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which was a product of more than a year of thoughtful work by the Energy and Commerce Committee. This landmark legislation aims to update our energy laws to maximize our energy potential and includes four main pillars: modernizing our energy infrastructure, protecting our electricity system, strengthening our energy security and diplomacy, and improving energy efficiency and government accountability.
Pipelines remain the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport energy supplies. In 2011, I worked with Michigan Congressman John Dingell, the former Democratic Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to craft and shepherd through comprehensive pipeline safety legislation that was signed into law in January 2012. Recently, the president signed into law the PIPES Act of 2016, which I championed and help move through the Energy and Commerce Committee. Our bill makes commonsense reforms that help to boost our economy while protecting our environment. Specifically it ensures that the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has the tools needed to enforce existing law and increases transparency and accountability for the agency. The PIPES Act of 2016 will also directly protect our Great Lakes by increasing inspections on pipelines such as Line 5, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.
Advancing Renewable Energy Resources
In 2013, the Congress passed bipartisan Energy and Commerce legislation (H.R. 267) that eliminates some of the regulatory inefficiencies in the hydropower licensing process, allowing companies to reduce the amount of time and money wasted in navigating unnecessary administrative obstacles and instead focus on creating jobs and providing affordable electricity. Now law, this bipartisan legislation has great promise for increased hydropower development, including here in Michigan, which has significant potential for small hydro projects. In addition, Michigan manufacturers produce many of the components vital to the hydropower industry, enhancing the positive economic benefits. H.R. 267 was signed into law in August 2013.
Supporting the Advancement of Safe Nuclear Power
Southwest Michigan is home to two nuclear power plants – D.C. Cook and Palisades – which not only provide our region with a steady supply of energy, but employ nearly 2,000 people and account for the largest revenue sources in Berrien and Van Buren counties. I support a visionary nuclear policy to create jobs, spur manufacturing, and reduce our reliance upon traditional fossil fuels.
When it comes to nuclear energy, it is absolutely critical to make sure these plants operate safely. I have remained in close contact with officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy Corporation to make sure Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township operates at the highest levels of safety. Following a tank leak in May 2013, I brought NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki to the facility for a firsthand inspection and to make sure all necessary actions were taken.
I also support a permanent storage site for our nation’s used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The need is urgent as spent fuel and waste continues to accumulate at sites across the country that were never designed for long-term storage. My Energy and Commerce Committee has continued to examine the work of the NRC to address the management and disposal of this material to ensure the public and environment remain protected.