Contributors

The deep state is recklessly supporting bad energy policies

Many of the fiercest battles I fought in Washington were to stop government from creating additional financial burdens on the Texans I represented. The 19th Congressional District of Texas, - stretching from Abilene, through Lubbock to the New Mexico border - boasts some of the hardest working Americans I have known. These men and women are the backbone of our country, but few of these households are especially wealthy. Most are solid middle-class people that value family, honesty and hard work.

Recently, I've seen Washington officials make another effort at advancing a tired argument that we should shift blindly toward renewable energy sources. The impact of this misguided policy on Texas, and the rest of middle-class America, would be unacceptable.

I'm not opposed to renewable sources of energy - to be clear, I support all domestic sources of fuel and electricity. Diversity can protect customers from disruption, painful price fluctuations and vulnerability to political risk from new regulatory decisions. Renewables like wind and solar can be part of this equation, but we should always support the most reliable and cost-effective mix of energy resources. Today, that is electricity generated from sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear power.

Last month, an initial version of a report by the Department of Energy, challenged many core policies Energy Secretary Rick Perry has championed. For a moment, (I'll leave aside the fact that this unauthorized draft report was leaked to the mainstream media by the so-called deep state of President Obama loyalists without Perry's blessing.) What's just as concerning to me is that this unapproved report is being used by elements of the environmental movement to argue that renewables are ready to take over as the primary source of electricity in America.

This line of thinking is elitist and absurd. It falls in line with the progressive agenda to make burning fossil fuels more expensive, thereby fooling everyone to think renewables are cost effective. Advancing such a policy would immediately increase monthly power bills for virtually every American and it would also put households at risk of dramatic blackouts because of the unreliability of these renewable sources.

Power companies have kept the lights on across Texas and the rest of the nation for decades. They manage an incredibly complex mix of energy sources to ensure that base load demand is consistently met. Homes, hospitals, nursing homes, police departments and other businesses require consistent and affordable sources of electricity - this is critical for the kinds of Americans that hold this nation together.

I am not reflexively against renewable energy. I continue to support energy sources like wind and solar, to the extent that they benefit the pocketbook of middle-class Americans, like those in my former district. To that end, most experts agree that renewables remain most reliable and cost-effective at the utility scale and power companies should be adding these resources whenever market forces allow.

Finally, I am looking forward to the final report, to be issued by the Department of Energy, that looks at all of our energy options, and sets out a plan to move us away from misguided Obama era policies. We can no longer put the creation of green energy ahead of everything else - including common sense - especially the effectiveness of the electrical grid and the ability of regular folks to be able to afford their utility bill. This was a misguided plan by the former president and voters in the last election soundly rejected it. Now, we have to move forward with an energy policy that's primary goal is to ensure that electricity in the United States is reliable, abundant and affordable.

Randy Neugebauer is a former U.S. representative of the 19th District of Texas. Neugebauer served in Congress from 2003 - 2017.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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