As Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee, I am committed to developing policy that fosters job-growth and ensures a reliable and affordable energy supply. Through a commitment to North American energy production, we can ensure a steady supply of affordable and reliable energy, spur Michigan 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 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.
More recently, the president signed into law the PIPES Act of 2016, which I championed and helped move through the Energy and Commerce Committee. Our bipartisan 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. Additionally, I continue to work with the State of Michigan to ensure Enbridge is fully compliant and transparent with the laws on the books.
Ensuring Grid Reliability and Security
As the Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee, I have been leading the charge to secure our electricity grid from a myriad of threats whether they be cyber, physical, natural, or man-made. In 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which included language I authored giving the Department of Energy (DOE) more authority to prevent and react to threats to the electrical grid. While the FAST Act was a good start, I will continue to work with my subcommittee to ensure that our grid is as secure and reliable as it can be.Advancing Renewable Energy
In 2013, Congress passed bipartisan 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 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, creating jobs and enhancing positive economic benefits. H.R. 267 was signed into law in August 2013.
Supporting the Advancement of Safe Nuclear Power
I support a visionary nuclear policy that will create jobs, spur manufacturing, and reduce our reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Southwest Michigan is home to two nuclear plants – Cook and Palisades.
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. We have 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.