Q&A: History shows renewable energy works With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: What’s your take on the so-called Green New Deal?
A: The Green New Deal is a throwback to FDRs New Deal from decades ago. It ostensibly was proposed to address climate change. However, a closer look at the details reveals an out-of-touch mindset and off-the-wall overreach by big government extremists. Proponents of the plan staked out pie-in-the-sky proposals with a sky-high $93 trillion price tag and no practical plan to achieve these goals. The Green New Deal’s radical agenda would undermine the U.S economy and drastically alter our way of life. It would dictate ordinary decisions Americans make every day, from how they get to and from work to the choices they may find on the lunch menu. For example, it outlined banning air travel and scaling back the cattle industry. The Green New Deal seeks to restructure the economy and redistribute resources Americans have invested a lifetime of sacrifice and work to build. What’s more, it disregards longstanding conservation, innovation and investment already underway to protect and preserve the environment. Just consider America’s homegrown, renewable clean energy industry. From biofuels, biomass, geothermal, solar and wind, the United States for decades has taken an extraordinary lead to curb carbon pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As a champion for clean energy in the U.S. Senate, I’ve witnessed how public policy can help drive growth and investment for the public good. In fact, America’s tax and regulatory regime has primed the pump for the U.S. renewable energy portfolio to take shape and thrive. Wind Energy Week was observed in August and the industry has much to celebrate. More than 114,000 Americans are employed in the wind industry in all 50 states. Iowa leads the way with cost-effective and efficient wind energy production, producing up to 38 percent of its electricity from wind and growing. Iowa’s advanced and affordable clean energy grid is attracting economic development and employers to the state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics says a wind turbine technician is the second fastest-growing job in the country along with other careers in research and development, manufacturing, engineering, construction, transportation and more. Wind industry not only generates clean electricity, it powers good-paying jobs in rural communities and diversifies a new cash crop for farmers. On the other hand, the Green New Deal would deal a blow to American agriculture. The livelihoods and way of life for America’s farmers and ranchers depend on Mother Nature. Take it from me. As a lifelong family farmer, our fourth-generation farming operation conserves and protects Mother Earth’s natural resources that are vital to sustain crops and livestock from one growing season to the next.
Q: How did the 1973 oil crisis shape U.S. biofuels?
A: The 1970s oil crisis underscored the lasting economic consequences of energy dependence and shaped geopolitical policies for nearly a half-century. The oil embargo created massive disruption and instability for consumers and the U.S. economy. It triggered an effort among U.S. policymakers to diversify homegrown energy production and boost fuel economy and energy efficiency standards. My crusade for biofuels started when I first got to Congress and I have continued to lead a bipartisan, bicameral coalition to champion homegrown renewable energy whenever and wherever possible. As a matter of public policy, U.S. energy independence carries sweeping national security, foreign policy, military, environmental and economic implications. No one would have believed the United States would become a net energy exporter when the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Countries (OPEC) in 1973 imposed an embargo on oil exports. Since then, America’s all-of-the-above energy strategy has taken shape and turned the tables on global energy markets. Arguably, the disruption of the 1970s oil crisis jumpstarted investment, innovation and conservation policies that changed the trajectory of the global carbon footprint. And the United States continues to lead the way by focusing on conservation, alternative sources of energy and domestic energy production.
As a farm state lawmaker, I have championed the development, production and use of biofuels as a winning public policy victory for public health, a clean environment, economic prosperity in rural America and U.S. energy independence. I will continue to stand strong for U.S. biofuels and work to ensure President Trump’s commitment to ethanol is fulfilled by federal regulators and decision-makers in the Trump administration. Let’s not forget the lessons of history. For decades, OPEC had a stranglehold over the U.S. economy and American consumers at the pump. Nearly 50 years later, America’s homegrown biofuels stand ready to meet the nation’s energy needs and help solve climate challenges. Now more than ever, America needs clean-burning biofuels to help curb greenhouse gas emissions and pump up struggling commodity markets in the U.S. farm economy.