Leader Rodgers: Securing America’s Energy Grid Will Be a Top Priority Next Congress
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sat down with The Hill’s Steve Clemons to share the importance of securing America’s grid, energy security, the need for permitting reform, and her plans for leading the Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress.
Below are highlights from her remarks:
SECURING OUR GRID
“Making sure that we have reliability is foundational. We’re putting more demands on the grid all the time.
“It is [important to] make sure that we are investing in that energy infrastructure.”
“As we’re putting more devices and more demands on the grid, it means that there’s more opportunities for bad actors to attack.
“Whether it’s a physical attack or a cyber attack, there are more vulnerabilities.
“When you think about our economy, our competitiveness, making sure that we have reliable, affordable energy and that our grid is able to meet all those demands [is essential].”
STRENGTHENING OUR ENERGY SUPPLY CHAINS
“Advanced nuclear reactors, next generation technology for nuclear power, [can help us] meet our [baseload] needs.
“We need low enriched uranium and right now we get too much of that from Russia. It is a damper on our ability to continue to lead in the small nuclear reactors, the advanced nuclear reactors, and this is one example.
“We used to mine uranium in my district. We don’t do that anymore.”
“Now, America is realizing that we have shut down mining access to critical strategic minerals and become dangerously dependent on other countries.”
PERMITTING REFORM IS ESSENTIAL
“There’s a growing recognition across the ideological spectrum that we need to address permitting in the United States of America.
“We can continue to uphold our high environmental standards. Cleanest water, cleanest air than most countries around the world. We’ve led the world.
“What we need in permitting is certainty.
“Whether you want to build a solar farm or build a nuclear plant, it takes way too long. It takes years, decades in some cases, and all of that means more cost and it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do anything.
“When it comes to energy infrastructure and investing in the energy infrastructure of the future, we must address permitting. I think it’s the single biggest barrier to us being able to really move forward right now, to do anything.”
“For as long as I’ve been in Congress, I have been advocating for permitting reform.
“I come from Washington state — we’re 70 percent hydropower. There’s hydropower in every state in the union. We could double hydropower without building a new dam.
“[But] it takes 10 years on average to relicense a dam. That’s way too long and that’s repeated over and over in every sector.
“As the incoming chair of Energy and Commerce, I am excited to go to work on this.”
IMPROVING CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE RESILIENCY
“We need to learn more and have hearings around the growing threat around cyber attacks.
“On the Energy and Commerce Committee, we are at the forefront of energy, health care, telecommunications, and technology.
“I believe it’s important that we address [cyber security] sector by sector where the experts, those that are on the frontlines, have the opportunity to come in and tell us what they’re experiencing.”