The 16th District of Illinois is a perfect of example of what it means to have an ‘all of the above’ energy approach. And as your representative in Congress, I’m working to replicate our successes on a national scale through an efficient and comprehensive national energy policy.
Our northern Illinois communities are home to nuclear generating stations, hydropower units, ethanol and biodiesel plants, in addition to wind, solar, and energy storage facilities. These energy sources not only power our homes and offices, they create good-paying jobs and generate substantial tax revenues for vital services ranging from first responders to local schools.
I’m privileged to serve as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and Environment. These assignments allow me to see both the domestic and the foreign implications of America’s energy policy, while providing a unique opportunity to ‘bridge the gap’ to ensure our approach to both fronts is cohesive, efficient, and successful.
Domestically, we have many things for which to be proud. Our energy portfolio continues to diversify while our emissions are on the decline. For decades Americans said we had to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. Then in 2019, for the first time in 67 years, the United States did just that when we became a net total energy exporter.
However, it’s not all quite so rosy. The world’s greatest source of clean, abundant, and reliable power—nuclear energy—is in a state of decline. Whereas once America led the world in harnessing civilian nuclear power, our existing fleet of reactors is in grave peril. In August 2020, it was announced that two of the four nuclear plants in our District—Byron and Dresden—will close in the second half of 2021. Thousands of families, and really entire towns, are hinging on these plants.
Internationally, we must continue to work with our partner nations to ensure they have reliable energy sources. This concern is partially addressed with our current slate of energy exports. But we must also ensure nonproliferation of certain technologies, and we must be vigilant to prevent Russia, Iran, and others from using their cheap energy as a lever of international power and influence. Blocking completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a first important step.