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McConnell Speaks on the American Energy Innovation Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the American Energy Innovation Act:

‘This week, the Senate has a good opportunity to update the laws governing the way we harness and deploy America’s tremendous domestic energy resources. It’s been well over a decade since the last time comprehensive energy legislation was signed into federal law.

‘But following our overwhelming vote yesterday to proceed to consideration of the American Energy Innovation Act, the Senate is on track to change that very soon.

‘The American Energy Innovation Act, put forward by Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin, is thoroughly bipartisan. It contains provisions sponsored or cosponsored by more than 60 of our colleagues. It’s come to include 50 individual pieces of legislation that the Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered last year.

‘Over the past three years, the Trump administration and this Congress have worked together to secure historic advances for both the producers and consumers of affordable domestic energy.

‘We’ve opened access to new energy reserves. Streamlined the regulation of liquid natural gas exports. Halted or reversed the most egregious Obama-era regulatory burdens. The growing record is clear. We’ve helped to usher in a prosperous new era of U.S. energy independence.

‘The legislation we’re considering this week is designed to build on these successes. It takes proactive steps to ensure the security, efficiency, and affordability of American energy for years to come.

‘First, it puts a strong tailwind behind programs, grants, and research efforts that are focused on energy innovation. That means significant investments in improving energy efficiency and grid storage technologies. New resources for the development of renewable geothermal, nuclear, and other energy sources to help sustain domestic energy independence. Reauthorization for the Department of Energy’s cutting-edge research at the Advanced Research Projects Agency.

And a renewed commitment to carbon capture, utilization and storage at coal production facilities.

‘In addition to energy innovation, the legislation also focuses on energy security. Since the last comprehensive update to federal energy laws in 2007, our nation’s critical infrastructure including the electric grid has changed significantly. And so have the threats it faces.

‘Our colleagues’ legislation tackles this head-on. It introduces incentives for electrical grid modernization and cybersecurity projects.

‘It encourages utility providers to take proactive measures to protect ratepayers from the devastating effects of potential cyberattacks. It makes new technical cybersecurity assistance available to municipalities and rural utilities and authorizes grant funding for on-the-job workforce retraining.

‘Perhaps most importantly, the legislation before us is not only designed for continued advances in areas where the U.S. energy sector has seen success. It’s also meant to take a sober assessment of where we’re falling short.

‘As my colleague, Chairman Murkowski noted yesterday, the United States currently relies on foreign imports to meet our demand for dozens of mineral commodities. We’re talking about rare substances with critical applications in manufacturing, energy production and national security. These are critical products. But at present, domestic production does not satisfy domestic demand.

‘That’s why this legislation provides for new survey and cataloging efforts to identify new domestic supplies of important materials.

‘And it invests in extraction technologies that would harness existing mining infrastructure in places like Appalachian coal country to help meet the demand.

‘As the senior senator from Kentucky, I know the importance of these investments firsthand. The working families and job creators in my state know that clean coal technologies and longstanding mining operations can continue to add tremendous value to the security and prosperity of our nation.

‘There’s a reason why this legislation has earned widespread praise from the researchers and energy industry leaders who would be affected the most. It is the product of serious, good-faith, bipartisan work. That’s why organizations from the National Mining Association to the Environmental Defense Fund have found common ground in endorsing it.

‘I’ll have more to say about this legislation in the coming days. But right now, I’m grateful to our colleagues on the Energy Committee for their work bringing it to the floor. I look forward to considering their important legislation in the days ahead and I encourage all members to join me in supporting this excellent work.’

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