“America faces an energy crisis perpetuated by Joe Biden. We need real leadership and a plan that will consistently provide enough supply at a lower price point.”
– Amanda Adkins
Energy Security and a Healthy Environment
Under the auspices of limiting America’s climate impact, the Biden Administration has stressed the U.S. economy by forcing an energy transition that is costly to American families and businesses, while actually doing very little to protect the environment. As Americans continue to struggle with the rising costs of goods and services, and record-high energy prices, we must pursue policies that increase U.S. energy supply, encourage innovation – including clean energy options – and contribute to American security.
It is possible to pursue policies that decrease energy prices, increase U.S. energy security and promote a healthy environment, which is why I support:
- Increasing domestic supply of energy. Near-term needs include easing regulatory requirements and encouraging energy businesses to invest.
- Increased focus on the cleanest form of energy – nuclear capacity. All forms of energy should compete in the market. We need a balanced transition approach that is reliable while contributing to a cleaner environment.
- Pursuing strategic partnerships that advance our national interests. The U.S. must engage countries and allies that protect and advance the economic and national security of America. We should export our energy.
Increasing Domestic Supply
Americans – including Kansans – are facing the rising costs of inflation. We are paying more and getting less. One year ago, the average price of gas in Kansas City was $2.86 per gallon. As of June 2022, it was $4.59 per gallon and rising.1 Yet the Biden Administration and Sharice Davids continue to pursue out of touch policies that limit production, decrease supply and increase costs for our families and businesses.
America must be smarter when it comes to energy policy and protecting the environment. We need affordable, reliable, and clean energy solutions. Despite what the Democrats want you to believe, renewable energy is not a base load form of power. Until technology advances to the point that batteries can store power for use when we need it, we will always need a base power to pair with renewables. Democrats don’t want to face this fact which is exactly why Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are in the position they are today of reverting to coal power plants which are counter to their green energy goals.
In pursuit of their unrealistic energy goals, the Biden Administration, like much of Europe, is pursuing climate change policies that don’t work and weaken American security. Just this summer, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands all announced they are reverting to old coal power plants because they have become so dependent on Russia and miscalculated how important nuclear and natural gas are to bringing renewable resources online. Their policies are so bad they are forced to resort to old methods that are even worse for the environment. Yet Biden, Sharice Davids and the Democrats continue to push similar flawed policies for the U.S.
The cleanest solution is to pair renewables with nuclear power which is the most reliable source of energy. Next would be gas-fired power plants. Yet the Democrats have neglected both of these – and worse, their policies and regulations make it intentionally difficult to move these clean options forward.
Their flawed policies discourage future oil, coal, and natural gas exploration, production, distribution, and investment. This Administration has decreased production in Alaska and federal lands and waters and has made federal permitting processes more difficult, despite saying otherwise. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management in January 2022 approved just 95 permits for oil and gas wells versus 643 in April 2021.2
Rather than have a clear plan for energy production, the Biden Administration has only focused on several releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply on a limited basis. This has not made an impact and puts America’s national security at risk. We need to consistently increase supply in anticipation of projected demand, not limit access and put undue regulations on the energy sector.
While all of us in Kansas City are paying more at the pump, Sharice Davids’ only answer has been a gimmick to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax through the end of 2022. This does little to save us money and it jeopardizes the Highway Trust Fund which pays for federal surface transportation improvements. This flawed approach saves drivers only $2 a week or $104 a year. Compare this to the overall negative impact of inflation.3 This year an average household in KS-03 is projected to pay $5,500 more for goods and services according to Moody’s Analytics. A savings of $104 a year, while stealing from the Highway Trust Fund, is clearly not a viable solution to today’s energy problems.
The American people need a real solution, not Washington style theatrics. Instead of a temporary gas tax suspension, we need to consider a new way of funding transportation that doesn’t include a federal tax at the pump. Congress, working with the private sector and the states, needs to determine the true cost of transportation, separating the federal government’s role (core infrastructure) from projects that should be funded at the state level.
Encourage Business Investment to Increase Domestic Supply
The sustained Russian attack on Ukraine illustrates just how important it is for the U.S. to pursue energy independence. However, overregulation in the energy sector hinders companies from investing in innovation and production, and ultimately creates consistently higher prices. The U.S. can increase our domestic oil and gas supply, but it will require easing requirements and creating a consistent regulatory environment.
Dramatic policy swings result in distrust from business, hindering their willingness to invest in cost saving research and production. Not only is the energy sector subject to swings from one Administration to the next, but Biden himself has been inconsistent on his messaging and policies. He campaigned on ending fossil fuels and eliminating the fossil fuel industry. Now, he is asking this same industry to temporarily increase production.
Despite the international stresses on our energy supply, the Biden Administration continues to pursue an onerous regulatory agenda. The most egregious recent example is a proposed climate disclosure rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require companies to provide an accounting of their greenhouse gas emissions, the associated risk, and the response they are taking.4 It is projected this would include both tracking the companies and their partners or clients. The financial impact (workforce time, additional hiring of specialists or consultants, and potential penalties) would be devastating to business.
Businesses will seek to invest when they have more opportunities to not only meet U.S. needs, but to also export oil and gas to partners. Energy businesses have indicated that investment will speed up when they are in an environment that makes it easier to get energy to the market.
We need many of the reforms cited by current members of Congress in March 2022 including: speeding up the permit process by getting rid of unnecessary requirements; increasing production on federal lands; reducing uncertainty that prevents needed infrastructure (pipelines and transmission lines); and focusing on a mineral policy that reduces our dependence on China and Russia.5
Senator Tom Cotton has introduced legislation that would create a strategic reserve of rare-earth elements and products. This legislation, which I support, would reduce America’s reliance on Russia and China for elements that are needed in the production of nearly everything from batteries to fighter jets. If we are to achieve true American energy independence, we must support policies like this that put the U.S. in a better strategic position against China and Russia.
Diversifying Energy Production and Increasing Nuclear Capacity
Decarbonizing the environment requires multiple forms of energy, including wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear to compete in the market. In recent years, renewables, largely wind, have provided 45% of in-state Kansas electricity net generation. In 2021 Kansas had the third-largest share of electricity generated from wind.7 We must pursue policies that take advantage of this for our State, while strengthening the U.S. position globally.
Furthermore, a secure plan that includes renewables needs some form of “base load” power to run effectively and reliably. Nuclear power can deliver that without carbon emissions and help decarbonize the electric grid. According to the Department of Energy, nuclear energy is by far the most reliable energy source.8 Nuclear plants are 1.5 to 2 times more reliable than natural gas and coal plants and about 2.5 to 3.5 times more reliable than wind and solar plants.9
Nuclear energy is a great answer for those worried about the environment. It is clean, reliable, and cost effective. It is also safer than public perception alludes. Over 60 years of evidence has shown that nuclear power is a safe means of generating electricity.10
Although nuclear reactors are expensive to build – a new reactor can cost $7 billion or more11 – they are relatively inexpensive to operate, safer than eras past, and more reliable. A smarter economic path may include pursuit of smaller modular reactors (SMRs) that offer a different way to organize and run nuclear power, offering lower start-up costs, need for less staff, and faster implementation and scaling.
Nonetheless, expediting smaller scale modules may be hindered still by upfront certification, construction start-up and operation license costs. The U.S. needs to consider how to streamline the process and offer multi-year tax credits to nuclear power plants which are currently offered to other renewable energy producers.
The U.S. should lead the world in nuclear development, manufacturing, and deployment in order to meet our needs for clean, reliable energy.
America’s economic and national security policies are inevitably intertwined, and must be viewed in concert with each other. We must seek trustworthy partners in our work toward energy security who have shared values and seek to complement U.S. endeavors, not compete with or destroy them.
The U.S. may be the world’s largest oil producer, but it still imports about 43% for consumption.12 According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2021 approximately 75% of U.S. imports of petroleum came from 5 countries including Canada (51%), Mexico (8%), Russia (8%), Saudi Arabia (5%), and Columbia (2%).13 Rather than continuing to rely on others, the U.S. needs to increase our domestic supply, and then sell and export to allies.
The future of national and economic security depends on a U.S. energy security policy that puts American energy independence at the forefront, protects businesses from undue regulations, and lowers costs for Americans.