Say “And,” Not “Or” To American Energy Generation

WASHINGTON — RealClearEnergy published an op-ed co-authored by CRES President Heather Reams and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) highlighting the Conservative Climate Foundation’s (CCF) field tour to Augusta, Georgia, and the importance of nuclear energy to the United States’ all-of-the-above energy approach.

Read the full op-ed here or below:

As chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus (CCC) and chair of the Conservative Climate Foundation (CCF), we have unique understandings of how conservative ideals – a free-market economy, small government and the desire to leave our planet better than we found it – have resulted in the United States leading the world in global emissions reduction.

When it comes to addressing emissions reduction, we know the Biden Administration’s one-size-fits-all government mandates will not work; we must adopt an any-of-the-above energy approach because when America produces more energy, global emissions go down.

We recently visited Augusta, Georgia, for CCF’s Nuclear Facility Tour. We learned firsthand how carbon-free, reliable nuclear energy benefits local communities in the southeast, and we toured the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant, the first nuclear reactor to come online in the United States in thirty years.

The Vogtle Plant is officially the largest nuclear facility and the largest generator of clean energy in the U.S. – serving as an example of what could be for communities across the country. Not only does the plant provide nearly 5,000 megawatts of affordable, baseload power, but it creates good-paying jobs in the region and contributes greatly to reaching American energy independence.

We were proud to bring members and staff together with local energy advocates and industry stakeholders to demonstrate the importance of Plant Vogtle and why America can and should lead in using nuclear energy to meet growing demand – but there’s more work to do.

In December, we traveled to the United Arab Emirates for COP28, a global conference focused on reducing emissions, to spread the message Republicans have been sharing here at home: The United States has an important role to play in reducing global emissions, and we can do so in a way that benefits both our environment and our economy.

That’s where nuclear energy comes into play. Around the world, leaders referred to COP28 as the “nuclear COP” because, for the first time, it was globally recognized nuclear power will play a critical role in cutting emissions and creating a cleaner future for all.

This is not news to us here at home. Nuclear is an integral part of our nation’s any-of-the-above energy portfolio, and we have witnessed a bipartisan push in Congress to ensure the U.S. is at the forefront of new nuclear development. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), for example, have led the effort to reform and modernize permitting and siting for nuclear power plants and advanced nuclear development, so Americans can continue to innovate, produce and export nuclear technologies.

These are the types of solutions we need – getting the government out of the way – if we are going to remain a global leader in energy production and lowering global emissions.

While this progress is encouraging, nuclear energy is only one piece of the puzzle. Renewable energy, like the incredible wind power generated in Iowa, and U.S. natural gas, which is among the cleanest in the world, also play a part.

CCC members and supporters understand: When it comes to American energy, we should always be saying “and,” not “or. Iowa is a great example of this. Wind energy makes up 62 percent of Iowa’s electricity – the largest wind power share for any state. Additionally, Iowa is the largest fuel ethanol and biodiesel producer, accounting for one-fourth of the nation’s ethanol production and one-fifth of the nation’s biodiesel production. Iowa plays a huge hand in ensuring the future of low carbon fuels and consumer choice.

The CCC, working in tandem with CCF, will continue to support clean energy technologies in the United States in a way that makes sense for our economy, our communities and our nation’s energy leadership – and we know we can do so while lowering global emissions.

Heather Reams is President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) and chair of the Conservative Climate Foundation (CCF).

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks represents Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and serves as the chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus (CCC).

Read the full op-ed here.

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