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Rep. Byron Donalds Explains the Importance of Nuclear Energy, ‘All of the Above’ Approach

As Americans wrap up holiday shopping and prepare for quality time with family and friends, congressional leaders are preparing for what the next Congress has in store. Having successfully won a slim majority for the 118th session, House Republicans are cultivating legislative solutions to reduce energy costs, curb inflation, and create a positive economic future. 

>>>READ: Nancy Mace Outlines a Conservative Climate and Energy Agenda

Among these members is Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), who believes that one of the keys to powering a clean and affordable future is nuclear energy and an “all of the above” energy approach. Rep. Donalds recently joined C3’s Right Voices interview series to outline nuclear energy’s importance and what solutions Republicans are planning to unveil. 

Speaking on the GOP’s less-than-stellar showing on election night in November, Donalds pointed to a number of factors, including good messaging from Democrats. And while Donalds does not believe that energy policy played a central role in November, he does believe that it will matter in future elections. 

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“Do I think energy policy in the future can help us? I actually do. Because you have a lot of young people who have been conditioned, I’m choosing my words properly, they’ve been conditioned to believe that the only possible way to save the planet is with the Green New Deal, with solar panels, with wind turbines.”

He continued: 

“If you actually want to save the planet, what you need is an emission-less energy source that at the same time is plentiful, relatively cheap, and accessible and that is how I got to nuclear policy. The toughest part is that we have to unwind the dogma around nuclear, but I think we can definitely do that because once you do, you address the need for wanting to save the planet, and it’s a need I completely understand. I know why people want to do that, I want to do that, I don’t want to destroy the planet. I’m going to be alive a lot longer, so will my kids so I want to make sure that the planet is healthy for me, for my children, and everybody as well. At the same time you have to address the economic issues of having baseload power and baseload power is the way you grow economies. It’s the way people feed themselves, clothe themselves, etcetera.” 

Indeed, studies have shown that access to reliable and affordable energy is one of the most helpful ways for people to climb out of poverty and up the economic ladder. This is especially important for addressing global climate change because as countries become wealthier, they are able to invest in cleaner technologies and critical infrastructure that reduces natural disaster-related casualties. Rep. Byron Donalds has looked to spur nuclear energy by introducing several pieces of legislation to streamline regulations for nuclear power to get newer reactors built in America. Another bill that the Congressman introduced would expand the use of microreactors for disaster relief. Under the bill, these microreactors would replace diesel generators and provide reliable, clean power to communities affected by natural disasters.  

>>>READ: The House Republican Climate Plan is a Gamechanger

Understanding the importance of affordable, reliable energy in tackling climate change, House Republicans unveiled the Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force this summer which outlined a comprehensive agenda to bolster energy security, reduce global emissions, and unleash economic prosperity. Rep. Donalds called the Task Force’s approach the “appropriate step,” before explaining the importance of an “all of the above” energy policy: 

“Everything should be at the table. We shouldn’t pick and choose because of our own political predilections or whatever the case may be because the truth of the matter is there is not one member of Congress, or even all 435, have enough collective know-how to judge what the energy demands are going to be for America over the next 25 years.”

Representative Donalds and his colleagues have already begun to map out their goals for the next legislative session. For energy, one issue that is top of mind for the Congressman is building out key infrastructure such as pipelines, which he aptly called “the blood vessels of our energy system.” He continued by saying, “What we have not done in the United States is build enough arteries to get that energy where it needs to go which would lower prices. Because if you have less arteries, the prices go up because you have less product that goes to market for people to use. So we should be expanding pipeline access in the United States.”

Rep. Donalds is demonstrating the pragmatic leadership necessary for effective energy and climate solutions that will be crucial in a tightly divided Congress. 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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