EPW Hearing Statement: Clean Air & Nuclear Safety Subcommittee: Developing and Deploying Advanced Clean Energy Technologies

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held the hearing, “Developing and Deploying Advanced Clean Energy Technologies.” Below is the opening statement of Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, as prepared for delivery:

Abraham Lincoln once said that the role of government is ‘to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves.’ I believe that one of the most important roles of government in our country is to help create a nurturing environment for job creation and job preservation.  

“Today, our country is undergoing a clean energy revolution and that hasn’t happened by accident. For decades, the federal government has used a carrot and stick approach to foster that revolution. Congress has passed economic incentives and environmental targets to encourage investments in clean energy innovation, development, and production.

“For example, the federal government started setting clean air targets for the U.S. utility industry in the 1970s. These targets changed over time based on public health data and technological advancement. At the same time, the federal government conducted research and provided a long-term natural gas production tax credit from 1980-2002 to incentivize alternative methods of natural gas production. This tax incentive helped lead to the natural gas boom we see today.   

“During the Obama Administration, the federal government invested in clean energy, paired with tighter environmental targets to address climate and air pollution. As a result, $507 billion dollars was invested in the clean energy sector over the past decade and, today, our country is a leader in exporting clean energy technologies.

“After eight years of smart economic and environmental policies, most of our country has largely rebounded from one of the worst economic downturns in history. The clean energy sector has been central to this recovery. In 2016 alone, one out of every fifty new jobs added in the United States was created by the solar energy industry. While adding 16 million new jobs to the economy, the Obama Administration also ensured cleaner air for all Americans and initiated real actions to address climate change. And to top it off, these investments in clean energy have resulted in lower energy costs at the meter and the pump for all Americans.

“Rather than scrapping forward-looking standards, cutting investments in research and development, and eliminating incentives for clean energy investment, we should be looking at ways to continue to drive American innovation in the clean energy sector.

“Today, I look forward to hearing directly from expert researchers and scientists about how we can keep the clean energy momentum going. Our witnesses will give us a picture of what could be our future – what could be developed and built with American know-how on American soil. I see a great opportunity for the United States to lead the world in clean energy technology. Today’s hearing is about how we seize it. I’d like to thank our witnesses for being here today and thank Senators Capito and Whitehouse for holding this important and timely hearing.”