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Mike Garcia: America’s Energy Security and National Security Go Hand-in-hand

Pens an op-ed in Los Angeles Daily News

Click here to read the full op-ed.

America’s national security and energy security go hand-in-hand. If we want America to remain safe, secure, and prosperous as our adversaries become more brazen, we must return our country to energy independence.

We have seen over the last year under the Biden administration just how dangerous overreliance on other nations for energy is. When President Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline on day one of his presidency, he didn’t just eliminate thousands of high-paying American jobs – he significantly hindered our nation’s energy independence. President Biden continued to hack away at America’s energy independence when he did Vladimir Putin a favor and waived bipartisan, congressionally mandated sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline. 
If America wants to regain energy independence and remain secure, the White House and Congress must commit to an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy. We must do more than simply put Midland before Moscow when it comes to where we get our oil. It also means encouraging investments and cutting red tape to accelerate the deployment of zero emissions and low emissions energy technologies, including many American nuclear technologies that are near commercialization. In addition to emerging nuclear energy production technologies, American companies are also developing novel ways to manage nuclear waste through nuclear waste recycling.

As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act (SALSTA), which would invest in American innovation regarding nuclear energy and carbon capture. This legislation would help improve America’s energy independence and reduce emissions. Recently, I joined fellow Committee Republicans in sending a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to emphasize the need for a clear licensing process for advanced nuclear reactors, which play an essential role in making our clean energy future a reality. 
Increasing America’s nuclear energy exports will make America more secure. We recently saw how amidst Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, they quickly seized Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in a bid to prevent Ukraine’s transition from Russian to American nuclear fuel at the station. This is a continuation of a concerning trend – as U.S. nuclear export competitiveness has declined in recent years, Russia has seized the opportunity and now accounts for two-thirds of globally exported nuclear power plant projects under construction today. We must reassert America’s dominance as the leader of nuclear energy.

In addition to waging an unjust war against Ukraine, Russia is also leading the negotiations of the disastrous Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran Nuclear Deal. It’s disappointing to see that amidst all of this, the Biden administration is continuing to negotiate with both Iran and Russia to renter this disastrous deal. Biden claimed we would reenter the deal and it would be stronger and longer – but the deal currently being negotiated by our adversaries would be weaker and shorter. This deal is good for Russia and Iran and bad for America. We must once again put America first. 
In California, the state that President Biden is said to be using as his blueprint for how to run America, we have seen the state fail to keep up with the energy demands our state requires. California has enacted many clean energy mandates that have driven up energy prices and hindered access to energy for low-income individuals. In 2020, California experienced massive rolling electricity blackouts due to a lack of reliable power supply. Californians are also told at times they need to cut back on their electricity use to help avoid maxing out the energy grid. 
Right now, California is looking to shut down their last operating nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, by 2025. In February, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted in support of efforts to keep the nuclear plant open. This plant alone provides roughly 9% of California’s power. Not only would decommissioning this power plant result in less energy produced for the state at a time where we need more, but it would eliminate a source of clean energy. 
If California and America are serious about ensuring we produce clean energy and regain our energy independence, then we should not be eliminating our facilities that produce clean nuclear energy.  We should instead be increasing domestic energy production and cutting red tape to allow America’s emerging nuclear energy technologies to thrive.