Washington, D.C. — In a joint Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change and Subcommittee on Energy hearing on supply chains for renewable energy sources, Republican Leaders David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Fred Upton (R-MI) spoke about the need to secure American energy and its supply chains.
Excerpts and highlights from their prepared remarks:
FROM SUBCOMMITTEE LEADER MCKINLEY:
“Here in the U.S., inflation is at a 30-year high and energy prices are the highest in 7 years.
“Meanwhile, Europe and countries like China, are experiencing blackouts and energy rationing. They simply don’t have enough capacity to meet the demand.”
“Rather than rush to 100% renewable energy, wouldn’t it make more sense for the U.S. to invest in carbon capture and use fossil fuels as a bridge for the next several decades until we can build out renewables?”
“Fossil fuels can have zero emissions, just like wind, solar, and hydro, and the U.S. can develop a long-term strategy for acquiring critical minerals.
“Let’s put this in perspective, the World Bank Group and Center for Strategic and International studies estimate the demand for minerals production could increase by 500% to 1,000% by 2050.
“Where are we going to get these materials? Even the Administration’s own environmental justice report says, ‘no fossil fuel procurement.’
“But the U.S. is entirely too dependent on China and other nations for the minerals needed for renewables.
“For example, according to the National Mining Association, the U.S. imports 76% of its cobalt and 100% of its graphite, from places like China and the Congo, places with significant human rights issues.
“But this administration seems more interested in pursuing an anti-fossil fuel agenda by restricting mining in places like Arizona or Minnesota.
“Remember, just last year, former Energy Secretary Moniz told this Committee the U.S. should be mining more, not less.”
“Restricting mining in America to acquire the minerals needed for renewables but you don’t like getting them from China or the Congo, yet demand for energy is clearly outpacing capacity.
“I have to say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
FROM SUBCOMMITTEE LEADER UPTON:
“America’s economy is in trouble. Under President Biden, inflation is surging to record levels, driving up household bills and wiping out savings.
“Yes, we are in an energy crisis.
“The average prices for a gallon of gas in my Michigan district is over $3.40. The price at the pump has nearly doubled from last year.
“We’re also in a supply chain crisis. We know that. Shipping backlogs and trucker shortages reveal how critically dependent we are on imports from China and other parts of Asia.
“The congestion in U.S. ports is also hurting American small businesses and farmers who depend on a smooth supply chain to send their goods to market.
“American families and businesses are stuck in the middle. While the bills pile up, they are forced to wait on shipping delays and supply chain disruptions.
“The worldwide semiconductor chip shortage and the cascading impact across hundreds of industries, thousands of industries, proves what’s at stake when we become overly dependent upon China and overseas manufacturers.
“As a result of the chip shortage, American consumers are paying record amounts for new cars and electronics and appliances while dealerships and stores struggle to maintain their inventory.
“I’m concerned that we’re also dependent on China for nearly 90% of the critical minerals and materials that are required for some clean energy technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, batteries.
“When it comes to energy, we want to make sure that the supply chain is here in the U.S. so that our electric bills do not spike simply because of supply chain issues.
“In March, I introduced the Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Act to require DOE to address our energy supply chain vulnerabilities and encourage domestic production and processing.”
“America’s shale revolution enabled the U.S. to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, to undertake a clean energy transition while at the same time household energy prices dropped to the lowest levels in recent history.”
“Last week, the Energy and Commerce Republicans wrote to request hearings on the energy crisis and preparations for the upcoming winter. It’s here.
“We have serious concerns about rapidly rising energy prices and the negative impact that the price increases are having on the U.S. economy, inflation, and household bills.
“We are deeply concerned that the Administration’s anti-fossil fuel agenda is significantly contributing to the energy crisis.”