Washington, D.C. – Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) helped lead an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing to celebrate America’s energy leadership on the world stage and discuss how the United States, not China, continues to lead on unleashing clean energy across the board.
Below are excerpts from her remarks as prepared for delivery.
“The U.S. is blessed with tremendous natural resources, which we’ve been able to harness as a result of free market principles and an entrepreneurial spirit that’s uniquely American.
“We’ve harnessed the power of nuclear energy, electrified millions of rural Americans’ homes with clean hydropower, and ushered in the Shale Revolution, which continues to create millions of new jobs, bring manufacturing back to the U.S., and revitalize communities across the country.
“America is more energy secure today than ever before thanks to this legacy, which was built on the foundation of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and giving people the opportunity to choose which energy sources best suit their needs.
“American energy leadership is critical to ensuring we are not reliant on China, which maintains some of the worst environmental and labor standards in the world.
“Energy has been the lifeblood of our modern economy. America’s abundant energy resources have empowered people and human potential, resulting in the greatest technological achievements in history.
“By standing up for American values of free market competition, innovation, and environmental stewardship, we can advance this legacy.”
As chair of the committee, Cathy also welcomed Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer III, Founder of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) in Pullman, to share his expertise and deep understanding of Eastern Washington’s energy grid with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“Electric power is the only commodity that moves at the speed of light. 186 thousand miles a second. It travels from the Chair’s district in the northwest to southern California in only 6 milliseconds. Because of that miracle, excess solar and wind energy generated during the day can be economically stored behind the dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, and even farther north into Canada, for use when it’s dark and calm.
“In the past 30 years, we’ve seen new regulations, more difficulties permitting, prescriptions and proscriptions, subsidies, mandates, bans, incentives, and other market distorters.
“We’ve thrown so much sand in the gears of free enterprise that we now suffer long supply chains reaching all the way to China. What would happen if we take the sand out of the gears?
“Electricity is essential. And it is becoming more important: people expect to charge their electric cars and heat their houses and water with electricity.
“It’s high time that we unleash the spirit of free enterprise, together…the very
spirit that made America. Let’s free the hundreds of millions of minds in America to fully embrace our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“I am convinced we’ll be cleaner and greener – sooner too – when we unleash the spirit of free enterprise, as well as, safer, more reliable, and more economical.”
In addition to delivering remarks, the two leaders from Eastern Washington discussed how removing barriers to innovation can help ensure America continues to lead the way.
McMorris Rodgers: Dr. Schweitzer, I’m thankful you are here to celebrate how Eastern Washington is leading the way. You tell the story of electricity – the miracle of electricity – and … you also tell us about misguided regulations, permitting challenges, subsidies, mandates and bans, and other market distortions.
Is picking winners and losers through regulation and subsidy the right course?
Dr. Schweitzer: I don’t think the government is capable of choosing winners and losers. It seems that so many of the subsidies end up subsidizing losers and losers. It’s no substitute for the power of the free market.
McMorris Rodgers: How do we take the sand out of the gears of our free enterprise system? And if we do not take the sand out of the gears, won’t we lose our security to China?
Dr. Schweitzer: There’s no question about it that we are turning off reliable assets for generating power in this country – and trying to substitute intermittent sources such as solar panels made with predominantly Chinese resources – and that’s a dependence that should not continue to progress.
I’m delighted to hear many of you on both sides talk in favor of nuclear power. That is the answer.
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