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Leader Upton Calls for Focus on Critical Minerals and Permitting Reform


05.19.21

Washington, D.C. — Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI) delivered opening remarks at Wednesday’s Energy Subcommittee hearing with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Excerpts and highlights from his prepared remarks:

THE SUBCOMMITTEE’S ROLE IN OVERSIGHT

“As you know, the Subcommittee on Energy is responsible for overseeing virtually every aspect of the energy sector and our members take this job very seriously.

“We focus on energy supply, including exploration, development, and generation of fuels and electricity; energy distribution, including the grid and pipelines; energy imports and exports; and energy use, including energy efficiency and conservation standards.

“We are also responsible for overseeing the management of the Department of Energy.

“Over the past two Administrations, we have been examining steps to modernize the Department of Energy to reflect the national, economic, and energy security challenges that will confront the nation over the coming decades.

BEING FOCUSED ON CONSUMERS

“This Committee has led the charge – from lifting the ban on crude oil exports to the FAST Act amendments to help DOE address emerging hazards and cyber threats.

“I am particularly focused on consumers, and the impacts that Federal energy policy will have on competitiveness, jobs, and energy prices.

“I believe it is important to recognize that, over the past decade, the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas creating millions of good-paying American jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenues to States and local governments. The United States has also reversed the decades-long trends of rising imports and dependence on the Middle East.

“We are now self-sufficient when it comes to natural gas – which has helped the United States reduce its greenhouse gas emissions more than any other nation. We have also become a world leading LNG exporter, pushing back on Russia and helping our trading partners reduce their emissions at the same time.

THE CHALLENGES AHEAD

“We are more energy secure today than at any point in our nation’s history.  However, there are still many challenges that lay ahead.

“First, I would like to focus on critical minerals. As the COVID pandemic has shown, we have become too dependent on unstable global supply chains and imports from China. Amazingly, China controls 80-90% of the critical minerals used in solar panels, batteries, and other advanced technologies.

“It is absolutely imperative that we get a handle on the supply chains or we could end up in the same position we were in before America’s shale energy revolution. I introduced the Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Act to increase the domestic supply of critical minerals and develop alternatives, and I look forward to working with you on this legislation.

“Second, we need to talk about permitting reform. As we all know, it has become virtually impossible to build large-scale infrastructure projects in this country, especially pipeline and transmission that crosses state lines. Pouring federal dollars on the problem will not solve it.

We need real reforms – strong lead agencies, timelines, and real certainty to encourage project developers to take the risk. DOE has an important role to play here, and we will rely on your leadership, especially when it comes to providing the energy analysis to inform the decision making.

SECURING AMERICA’S PIPELINES

“Finally, I am very focused on cybersecurity, and given what happened last week with the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, I believe Congress and the Department have an opportunity to work collaboratively to improve cyber response and harden our nations critical energy infrastructure.

“Chairman Rush and I have reintroduced our bipartisan bill, the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, to provide DOE with strong authorities. Chairman Pallone and Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers are original cosponsors of the bill – we all look forward to working with you on this legislation.

“The Colonial cyberattack revealed that a secure, reliable, and affordable supply of fossil energy is absolutely critical to our economy and our way of life. For the first time since the 1970’s, we saw widespread supply disruptions and long lines at the pump as fueling stations ran out of gas.

“We need to know what happen and appreciate your willingness to provide us answers, including in a classified briefing in the near future.

“We all support new technologies that allow us to use energy more efficiently, but we must ground our thinking with the realities that we face today. I look forward to working with you on realistic solutions to the real problems that are emerging today.

Press Release