- - Wednesday, April 27, 2022

America should be leading the world in clean energy and emissions reduction—not relying on energy from Russia, Iran, Venezuela, or China. In order to achieve energy independence and ensure reliable and affordable options, President Biden must prioritize innovative American technologies to supply the energy our country needs.

Iowa already makes great use of renewable energy resources including wind, solar, ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass. As one of the country’s top wind energy producers — we get over half of our electricity from wind and have been an energy exporter since 2008. However, renewables are not the only option and they don’t work for every state. We have the opportunity to introduce innovative technologies like carbon capture to our biofuels refineries or advanced nuclear energy to make up for lost clean power from decisions that have hampered U.S. energy production.

We all want to leave a cleaner, healthier planet for our children and grandchildren. That entails finding ways to work together, across party lines, to create strong climate policies based in realism. For example, if we reduce our emissions in the U.S. while advanced economies like Russia and China don’t do the same, have we really made any progress?

We need to think global when it comes to climate and lead with America first. U.S. emissions are becoming a smaller and smaller part of the global total. Unless we hold other nations accountable, our efforts at home will never be enough to solve the problem.

American manufacturing is cleaner and higher quality. Global industry China in particular is much dirtier than American industry. Numerous laws, programs, and voluntary actions by our industry have resulted in a much cleaner and more reliable economy.

Climate solutions also should not and do not have to compromise our economic competitiveness or energy independence. We have an abundance of opportunities in innovative emerging technologies that have the potential to create millions of jobs along the way. Here are a few big energy ideas supported by the Republican Party:

We need to leverage American innovation. We have already reduced emissions here in the U.S. by a larger margin than any other country in the past two decades. American innovations like hydraulic fracturing and carbon capture have made this possible. We need to continue bringing innovative American-made technologies to market.

We need to improve our regulatory and permitting processes. Clean energy and grid modernization projects present tremendous economic opportunities. However, burdensome permitting regulations and overreach from the federal government prevent these projects from coming to fruition in a timely manner. Currently, new projects take an average of five years to come online. Our permitting process is outdated. We are relying on laws like the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act that do not support innovation and are in drastic need of updating.

We need to be energy independent and regain global leadership over China and Russia. While American manufacturing is the cleanest in the world, countries like China and Russia don’t have the same high environmental standards. We can ensure American leadership in, for example, steel and cement manufacturing, by penalizing imported products that don’t meet global cleaner standards and rewarding American-made products that actively work to improve their environmental standing.

We need to unlock American resources. Currently, we are too reliant on countries like China to supply critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, rare earth minerals and graphite that we need to support our energy projects. This dependence handicaps American businesses and only adds to global emissions. Making it easier to source these materials here in America, therefore employing American workers, is necessary to ensure our energy security.

We need to work with Iowa farmers who are already leading with solutions. Natural climate solutions, planting trees and farming practices like cover crops and biochar that improve soil health, have a major impact on reducing carbon emissions while making forests and farms more sustainable and resilient to floods and fires. They are also profitable and create good paying and reliable jobs across our state.

This approach is based in realism and puts America first. Here in Iowa, with our strong workforce and abundant resources, we are in a prime position to support the U.S. as a global energy leader. It is time to take our place as a world leader in energy production and hold bad actors accountable.

• U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D., Iowa Republican, represents the second congressional district. She serves on the Education and Labor Committee, Homeland Security Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee , and is a member of the Conservative Climate Caucus.

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