July 21, 2022
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday to warn about the potential for blackouts and brownouts across the country due to the Biden administration’s misguided energy agenda. Blunt pointed to the administration’s efforts to shut down traditional forms of U.S. energy production, resulting in energy shortages that could increase costs even further and leave families and businesses without power.
Following Are Excerpts of Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, that whole concept of going where real people live is an important one.
“And, you know, when people are facing higher utility bills every month, and a bigger bill every time they fill up their gas tank, it doesn't take long for them to figure out that policy decisions somewhere have changed something, and something that really dramatically affects their quality of life.
“And then, it didn't take long to figure out that those policy decisions in Washington are the decisions that have made that kind of difference.
“When a blackout causes the lights to go out, your refrigerator to stop working, the impact of energy policy becomes pretty tangible, and you understand pretty quickly that this is impacting you.
“That's the prospect that a lot of Americans are facing this summer. It's not theoretical. But, in too many places, it's happening, and happening over and over again.
“In late May, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation released a report that said nearly two-thirds of the United States could experience blackouts this summer as a result of reliability challenges of the electric grid.
“This report on the electric grid cited several reasons for heightened risks people are facing. One of them is that there's just simply too little electric-generating capacity in the middle of the country, where I live, following the closure of older baseload generators.
“Earlier this year, the Energy Information Administration projected 85% of the generators closing this year would be coal-fired power plants.
“So, if you close these plants, and don't have a replacement in line, look what happens. Maybe we should ask Germany what happened when they shut down one of their major energy sources without a replacement and, before you knew it, they were dependent on a source of energy, and a kind of energy, and a country to get that energy from that didn't work out at all.
“From day one, the administration has advanced policies to restrict the production of affordable and reliable American energy. We've gone from a net exporter of energy to an importer—in fact, even a pleading importer—of energy in an unbelievably short period of time.
“Electric prices in that period of time have gone up nearly 20%. Gasoline prices have more than doubled.
“If you're at the gas pump, and you fill up your tank, whatever you're paying, cut that in half. That's what you would have paid under the policies just a couple of years ago. Now you're paying 107% more than you were paying then.
“The push to rapidly transition to renewable energy sources will cause prices to go up even higher. We've already seen what happens. We should be able to figure out what happens if you do more of it without a plan.
“You know, what the administration wants to do here doesn't have to be painful. Transitioning from fossil fuels over a period of time doesn't have to be a painful thing.
“You just have to have a replacement in mind. You have to understand the economic consequences and understand if your timeframe is right, there are no economic consequences.
“Fossil fuels accounted for just over 60% of the electricity generated in the United States last year. Nuclear power generated nearly 20% of the electricity, wind 9%, hydropower 6%, solar power about 3%.
“And when you dedicate yourself to eliminating 60% of the electricity generated in the country, you've got to expect that bad things are going to happen, and they are.
“We're seeing what happened with reliability challenges in California, leading the way in this transition. But last summer, the state was doing everything they could as quick as they could to build gas plants, natural gas plants, to supplement its power, and to avoid blackouts.
“You went from plenty of power to new sources of energy, and then, suddenly, not enough power. Back to fossil fuels to desperately try to replace the power.
“Surely, we can learn that this doesn't have to be the way you make these realistic transitions from one way of powering things to another.
“Just to replace every vehicle in the country with electric models would require 25% more electricity than we produce today. Forcing the electrification of homes and buildings will drive demand even higher, and will cost more. Families will suffer.
“For now, all of the above still works. And, for the long term, we have to find out what works for all Americans, and how we have reasonable energy policy.
“Moving forward, all of the above is serving us well. As we move from that, we need to know what we're moving to, how we're moving there, and how we can do it with the least impact on the economy, on individuals, and on families.”