Lankford Calls Out Democrats’ Newest Attempt to Cancel Traditional Energy
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s opening remarks on YouTube.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today raised strong concerns with Chairman Wyden’s bill, the Clean Energy for America Act. In the Senate Finance Committee markup, Committee Democrats today brought a renewed push to try to “cancel” traditional energy and only incentivize investment in renewable and “clean” energy options. Lankford pointed out how the recent extreme weather event in Oklahoma and the region in February left usually reliable renewable energy sources frozen and forced Oklahomans to rely on coal for a time, instead of our largely diverse energy portfolio.
Lankford participated in a Senate Finance Committee hearing on climate change, and he raised the issue and importance of energy diversity in the US, including the geopolitical significance of Russia’s ongoing push for energy leverage in Europe through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In March, Lankford sent a letter to President Biden urging him to follow the law and impose those sanctions. Lankford also recently led a group of 25 senators to press the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to act on vital energy infrastructure projects by immediately reviewing natural gas pipeline permits.
Lankford introduced Domestic Manufacturing Protection Act, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing any new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission rules or regulations until China and Russia adhere to the same emission reduction targets of the Paris Agreement as required by the United States. In a recent Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Lankford focused his questions on nuclear energy, noting that to get to zero emissions by 2050 using nuclear power, over 100 nuclear energy facilities would have to be built. In March in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Lankford noted how long it takes to build the necessary infrastructure that supports renewable energy sources that can meet the Americans’ energy needs.
Lankford also penned a recent op-ed on why cancelling traditional energy is not a viable solution to meet Americans’ energy needs.
It’s been interesting. The Chairman and I have had this conversation on the floor and several of us have. If I’m going to pull the crystal ball out and fast forward five hours from now or so, we’re going to have a 14 to 14 vote, and we’ll be locked up on this issue. I think it’s good that we can talk about it. I have to tell you, from a state like mine that is a truly all-of-the-above state, with a diverse energy portfolio, this kind of dialogue makes us nervous, not because we’re an oil-and-gas state and we’re enslaved to oil-and-gas folks—and the ‘dark money’ is rushing at us and we’re unrestrained…
And in that situation, our wind towers froze up, condensate coming out of natural gas well froze up, we have a lot of hydro—we accelerated the use of hydro. Our solar panels were covered in snow, and we were in a situation that’s very unusual for us in the Southwest Power Pool to be using a majority of coal. That’s not normal for us.
We use a majority of wind. Unlike some other states, we use a lot of wind in our state, and while other states talk about it, we actually do it. And that’s a major part of our portfolio. The fear for this is, in those peak moments, we’re about to disincentivize creating fuels and maintaining facilities that will carry us through those moments. And on the most dangerous days, when it’s hottest, when it’s coldest, what we’ll be dependent on is intermittent because the investments are not there. Now it’s not just restrictions or mandates. We all know around this group because we track it all the time, if you disincentivize certain areas, capital stops flowing to areas. So you stop getting capital to maintain pipelines. You stop getting capital to build new natural gas facilities.
And in this dialogue for a while, we’ve talked about natural gas as a bridge fuel, and now suddenly natural gas is evil. I have to tell you, I’m trying to track where we go in this dialogue, and I’m hopeful for a positive dialogue. But my fear is at the end of the day, I’ll be called a ‘climate change denier,’ and you’ll be called a ‘reality denier,’ because when we’re driving vehicles, 98 percent of them right now are running on gas, not running on electricity. And if we shut off all that flow towards that, that’s going to continue to raise prices on those that can’t afford it the most.
And if the push is going to be towards electric vehicles, to say, ‘Everybody just needs to shift to electric,’ I’d love for you to tell the folks that are working every day, because the electric vehicle in the manufacturing location are not being driven by the folks working on the line, they’re being driven by the folks in the office at the corner. And so they’re not available to everyone.
So I hope we can have a realistic conversation about what’s really happening and about how we can deal with fuel options and keep diverse fuel options and not try to disincentivize us from actually maintaining what we’re going to need as a country.