Republican clean energy leaders must be recognized


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Originally posted on The Hill

By Heather Reams and John Szoka

As Republicans who support clean energy solutions to lower global emissions and strengthen our economy, we know there is no better time than now — on the heels of a debt agreement that made important strides toward reforming our federal permitting processes — to advocate for policies that unleash American energy production. Americans want lower energy costs, reduced reliance on foreign countries, and access to reliable, affordable and clean energy; Republicans have the solutions.   

We serve as leaders of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a District of Columbia-based clean energy advocacy organization, and the Conservative Energy Network (CEN), a national network with chapters in 24 states across the country. Our respective organizations have advocated to protect and expand homegrown American energy for more than a decade. And while progress has been made, there is more that needs to be done. 

CRES and CEN work in tandem to educate and support Republican policymakers who champion clean energy in Congress, and this week, we are proud to bring state and local clean energy leaders to Washington to meet with more than 70 U.S. House and Senate offices.   

Our message is simple: Expanding clean energy is good policy and good politics. 

When America produces energy, global emissions go down — whether that be through efficient natural gas production, nuclear energy, innovative carbon capture or renewables like wind, solar and hydropower. 

American energy production is among the cleanest in the world, thanks to our country’s environmental protection laws, and Republican states and districts across the country are embracing new clean energy technologies and conservation practices that will help leave our planet better than we inherited it.   

Unfortunately, clean energy and climate solutions can be polarizing topics because of far-left scare tactics. We are working to ensure commonsense conservative solutions are part of the national dialogue. 

According to recent CRES Forum polling, 85 percent of Republicans support an all-of-the-above energy approach, and 87 percent of Republicans support the development of innovative technologies to make U.S. manufacturing cleaner, more affordable and more competitive. We recognize the strides the United States has already taken to reduce our impact on the climate, and we know top-down mandates can do more harm than good.  

Instead, we should continue to foster innovation with targeted federal investments and incentives, so that the United States can lead the world in clean energy deployment. We increase our manufacturing competitiveness by empowering U.S. industries like steel, cement, concrete and more to embrace cleaner technologies, so we can continue to lead in global emissions reductions and create American jobs. We should continue to remove barriers to federal permitting and project development, so we can reduce costs, modernize our energy infrastructure, and encourage continued deployment of innovative clean and renewable energy sources. And we should produce more energy here at home and strengthen our domestic mineral supply chain, so we can decrease our dependence on countries like China, increase energy storage capabilities and bolster our energy security.  

These are conservative principles that will result in lower global emissions and American energy leadership, and these are solutions that Republicans in Congress can and should support. 

When it comes to our domestic energy portfolio, we should be adding to it, not subtracting. And this means continuing to invest in American clean energy innovation. This is our message to members of Congress this week in D.C. and all year long. Our work is far from over, but we believe the tide is changing, and we are proud Republicans are leading the charge. 

Heather Reams is president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). John Szoka is CEO of the Conservative Energy Network.