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September 22, 2022

King Highlights How Ukraine Conflict Shows Need for Clean Energy Independence

In Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator King discusses need for permitting reform and how reliance on adversaries weakens America’s economic stability and security

Watch or download Senator King’s remarks HERE 

WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today spelled out how the conflict in Ukraine and Europe’s resulting energy crisis demonstrates the urgent need for America to have a clean energy future that does not rely on foreign adversaries. In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, King questioned Spencer Nelson, Managing Director of Research and New Initiatives at ClearPath Clean Energy Foundation, on the importance of expediting the construction of domestic energy and mining infrastructure that will allow the country to independently achieve its energy goals. The Senator pointed to comprehensive permitting reform as an important, necessary step to reach these goals. Last week, King spoke from the Senate floor on the importance of permitting reform and America’s clean energy future.

“We've got to understand that in order to get to a clean energy future, we have to rationalize and correct the deficiencies in the permitting or we'll never get there, because we're going to need to permit transmission, we're going to need to permit pump storage projects, we're going to need to permit mining operations. And so you can't be for electronic vehicles and be against lithium mining in the US. We’ve just got to resolve that,” said Senator King. “Seven to ten years [to permit a mine]. What I say to people when they tell me something is going to take years is that Eisenhower retook Europe in eleven months. Don't tell me it's going to take ten years – that's ridiculous. I hope we're going to really make some serious inroads into those deadlines. Meaningful deadlines and coordination of agency consideration and conclusions within a reasonable period of time; otherwise we'll never get there. We will simply not get to the clean energy future that we desire.”

“I think deadlines are important, and the other piece is domestic supply chain. I met yesterday with two heads of state from European countries. We have in front of us the all-time example of how dangerous it is to rely on other countries for critical supplies. Europe is facing a really huge challenge this winter because of their reliance on Russia,” Senator King continued. “You look back and you say, what were they thinking? I don't want to be in that position ten years from now saying, what were they thinking about getting critical minerals from China that power our country? Mr. Nelson, am I right about that? I mean, it just seems to me we not only can see the problem, we can see the real impact of it right before our eyes this winter in Europe.”

“The more that our future energy system relies on other countries, the less control we have over it. We've certainly seen that our increase in oil and gas production has put us in a very strong position in terms of global energy production because we're now a net producer of oil and gas, and that's been helpful,” replied Mr. Nelson. “I think we can also be a net producer of energy storage technologies and all types of clean energy technologies as well.”

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King has advocated for climate solutions that support Maine communities, unlock America’s clean energy future, and strengthen national security. Along with his speech from the Senate Floor in support of permitting reform, King has been one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for improving energy storage technologies and development. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Senator King is also among the Senate’s loudest voices advocating for conserving public lands and encouraging outdoor recreation. Senator King helped lead the passage the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law; the legislation includes the Restore Our Parks Act – a bill led by Senator King – and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act. Over the course of his time in the Blaine House, Governor King was responsible for conserving more land across Maine than all Governors before him combined.

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