As many of you know, this week we’ve been celebrating the fifth-annual National Clean Energy Week. Every year, CRES also uses the occasion to select top conservatives who not only stand up for clean energy but go above their call of duty to advance our energy sector with commonsense, economically sound state and federal legislation. These lawmakers are recognized as our Clean Energy Champions at a reception in Washington.
Previous awardees include Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Representative Elise Stefanik (R-LNY), Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA), and Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD).
This year’s honorees include Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who most recently worked to develop and pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This infrastructure package includes bills introduced by Sen. Portman, such as the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act, as well as the Carbon Capture Improvement Act, which would make it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage equipment, and direct-air capture projects through the use of private activity bonds.
Senator Portman is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC). As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, he led the effort in the Senate to reauthorize and fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which helps to protect Ohio’s Lake Erie. He is also co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus. Sen. Portman is retiring after his current term, but there is no doubt he will continue to champion clean energy and conservation for years to come as a private citizen.
Our second 2021 Champion is Senator Mike Braun (R-IN). Elected to the Senate in 2018, Sen. Braun has made his mark quickly. His signature legislative achievement, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, passed out of the Senate by an impressive vote of 92-8 this summer. A former agricultural business owner, he now serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and introduced the Trillion Trees and Natural Carbon Storage Act.
He launched the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus his first year in 2019. That same year, he was a featured speaker at the National Clean Energy Week Policy Makers Symposium; click here to watch his speech.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, we named Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) as our third Champion. Rep. Lucas is the Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and has been a longstanding advocate for energy innovation provisions no matter which party originated a bill. He was first elected in 1994.
He was essential to passing the Energy Act of 2020—the most comprehensive U.S. energy policy in over a decade—and the groundwork for America’s clean energy future. This year, he co-sponsored the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, which seeks to promote cooperation, collaboration, and trade with Canada and Mexico to expand energy infrastructure across the three countries’ borders. He also helped advance the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act to increase funding for storage, solar, hydrogen, critical minerals, fusion energy, and carbon removal research by 7 percent each year over the next five years.
Finally, U.S. Representative John Curtis (R-UT) is our fourth CRES Clean Energy Champion. Rep. Curtis made headlines this summer by launching the Conservative Climate Caucus. With 70 members strong, the new caucus has already made significant advancements in public awareness of conservative engagement on climate change issues.
In June, he was appointed to the House GOP Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force, which he said was important, “because leaving the earth better than we found it is an important priority for Republicans and the American people.” A believer in exporting American clean energy technologies to reduce emissions worldwide, Rep. Curtis also introduced the Worldwide Wind Turbine Act to reduce barriers on the deployment of wind energy to international partners.
Congratulations to all of our 2021 CRES Clean Energy Champions. In the coming days, we will publish blog posts profiling them in more depth individually, so check back soon!