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Leader Rodgers to DOE Secretary: The Rush to Green will Undermine the DOE’s Core Work on National and Economic Security


05.19.21

Washington, D.C. — Republican Leader for the House Energy and Commerce Committee Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks today during an Energy Subcommittee hearing with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:

MORE DETAILS NEEDED FOR THE DEPARTMENT’S BUDGET

Today we are supposed to be evaluating the proposed budget priorities for fiscal year 2022.

This is necessary for Committee oversight. But we are at a disadvantage, because the Administration has yet to release a detailed budget for the Department of Energy.

What we have instead are general assertions about climate policy priorities and spending, outlined over two pages of text  that’s it.

Much of this reflects the Administration’s rush to green agenda, which our hearings this year have shown risks economic harm and deprives people of reliable, affordable energy.

The harm will only increase with a massive push for electric vehicles and limits on fossil energy.

This creates major supply chain risks and increases dependence on foreign sources that abuse human and individual rights, for energy system components.

Needless to say, additional details would be helpful.

We should question the aggressive priorities to dismantle our domestic fossil energy economy and radically transform our electric and transportation sectors.

We should ask if the rush to do this will undermine DOE’s core work on national security, and both energy and economic security.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S CORE MISSIONS

While DOE’s work spans the energy sector, at its core, it is a nuclear security agency — representing some 70% of the budget when counting its Cold War cleanup responsibilities.

The department, and its predecessor agencies, designed and produced every nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal; and now it maintains the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

DOE provides the technology to power the nuclear navy and serves central roles in nuclear nonproliferation, international nuclear security.

DOE was organized and now serves as the nation’s energy security agency.

It manages the strategic petroleum reserve, has established energy emergency programs, and works to assure the reliable supply of energy and power.

The gas supply crisis along the East Coast from the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline is a harsh reminder how important reliable supplies of fuels are for Americans.

As you’ve noted Secretary, it is a reminder how critical pipelines are, for clean, efficient, secure delivery of the energy people and the economy need to thrive.

This event should underscore energy security’s role at the Department.

DOE also helps assure American energy and energy technology serves our strategic geopolitical interests, the neglect of which could imperil our security in the future.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY LABS AND SCIENTIFIC LEADERSHIP

Of course, to accomplish its work, DOE relies upon its world-class science, engineering, and technological expertise across a complex of national labs, production sites, and facilities.

There is nothing else like DOE’s science and engineering. Its capabilities are enhanced by a synergy among the labs across the complex.

This synergy serves all the Department’s missions.

It produces tremendous benefits for our security, for advancing science and innovation, and will ensure American innovation across the energy landscape.

We should not undermine what is possible with new priorities that could break this synergy and undermine energy and economic security.

A well-managed DOE enterprise produces amazing benefits.

Consider, for example, the agency’s computational science and supercomputing used for science and weapons programs, and how this was put to service at Oak Ridge to screen compounds for a COVID-19 vaccine development.

The national security and environmental management materials programs at Pacific Northwest National Lab, near my district, are advancing cyber security protections and the science to help advanced batteries.

The Hanford site, the backbone for our nation’s Cold War nuclear work, is now providing new promise to support development of advanced nuclear technologies.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENERGY ACT OF 2020

Last year, Congress enacted the Energy Act of 2020 – the most significant bipartisan energy law in more than a decade – to  build on the agency’s work in clean energy technologies, and the deployment of those technologies.

We should understand how DOE plans to implement that law and fit it in with its other missions in a way that maximizes benefits across the complex  from nuclear security to cybersecurity.

This is no easy task, and it will be undermined if Departmental leadership is distracted by pursuing policies that turn away from DOE’s core missions. I look forward to talking about that this morning.

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