Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Capito’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate Floor regarding the failed energy and environment policies of the Biden administration. During her remarks, Senator Capito highlighted the damage created by President Biden’s attacks on energy producers and the irony of the administration’s unrealistic proposals, and discussed a pathway towards a reliable, American-made energy future.

Senator Capito’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

“Mr/Madam President—

“I rise today in light of the news that John Kerry, America’s ‘climate czar,’ will soon be leaving his post.

“Mr. Kerry’s exit presents us with an opportunity to comprehensively examine the Biden administration’s record on energy and the environment.

“For three years now, with energy regulation after energy regulation and climate mandate after climate mandate, President Biden has clearly and unapologetically put the American people last.

“His cabinet secretaries and unelected staff members, from the State Department to the EPA, from the White House to the Department of Transportation, have followed his lead.

“They have pushed an unworkable, untenable agenda meant to appease the global climate community and environmental activists alike.

“The problem is that these goals and proposals are completely detached from reality.

“Let’s start with Mr. Kerry’s recent comments that ‘there shouldn’t be any more coal power plants permitted anywhere in the world,’ followed by him signing an international pledge to do just that.

“This is a big statement for someone in his position, yet he has outlined no plan to replace this baseload energy source that is critical to our nation, especially in the winter months and on days like we see today and this past week with record, freezing temperatures. 

“He makes comments like this, but does not acknowledge that states like mine of West Virginia and states like Michigan and Minnesota, Kentucky, and Colorado all rely heavily on coal-fired plants for our electricity.

“Acknowledging this reality would not be wise for Mr. Kerry, because decimating the entire electric grid of dozens of states across the country and thousands of jobs with it, would not be a good look for the administration.

“But not to fear, the EPA has Mr. Kerry’s back when it comes to threatening America’s energy grid with policies not based in reality.

“Despite the Supreme Court knocking down the Obama administration’s previous attempt to close down coal- and gas-fired power plants in West Virginia v. EPA, the Biden administration has doubled down on this reckless policy.

“The Clean Power Plan 2.0 is again designed to prematurely force the retirement of these power plants and require the use of technologies that are not ready for primetime.

“Unfortunately for the American people, by the time the courts catch up as they did before, the damage is done, jobs are lost, the electric grid is undermined, and the lives of entire communities are disrupted.

“We’ve lived through this in West Virginia and wouldn’t wish it on any other parts of the country.

“But, the Biden administration isn’t stopping there. In a mind-boggling display of irony, the EPA is simultaneously pushing a rapid transition to electric vehicles.

As many Americans faced a cold-snap this week across the country, many owners of EVs found they could not hold a charge. A rapid and unreasonable transition to these vehicles, with serious reliability concerns, would also increase electricity demand as the agency works to shut down reliable baseload sources of power.

Again, ignoring reality, the Biden administration carries on.

“More recently, the EPA announced a tax on energy companies through a methane fee, using the Democrats’ disastrous Inflation Reduction Act to target and penalize American energy producers.

“And currently, a complex set of cases is winding through the courts on the EPA’s so-called ‘Good Neighbor’ air regulation. This policy would take away the authority of 23 states to determine how best to regulate ozone and reduce emissions in their own borders under the Clean Air Act, an alarming consolidation of power for Washington bureaucrats.

“The EPA’s approach ignores the cooperative federalism framework of the Clean Air Act and deprives states of their right to regulate first. Twelve states have already been successful in convincing courts that the program has serious legal issues and secured stays of the rule.

“And, this all followed the EPA’s disastrous ‘waters of the United States’ rule, or WOTUS, which illegally expanded the jurisdiction of the federal government at the expense of American farmers, builders, and landowners. Unsurprisingly, that was soundly rejected by the Supreme Court, including a 9-0 agreement that the scope of the proposal went too far.

“Yet, even as the highest court in the land sends clear warning signals that President Biden’s energy and environmental overreach is illegal – those down the street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just don’t seem to care.

“We’ve seen the resounding theme of federal overreach not just at departments and agencies, but also directly from the White House.

“As the administration touts investments being made in our nation’s infrastructure, investments I helped make and support, the White House Council on Environmental Quality has actually proposed making it harder to build and complete projects. They’ve championed burdensome permitting rules and red tape regulations, none of which were agreed to by Congress.

“And the White House Office of Management and Budget published a government-wide mandate on agencies to consider its flawed ‘social cost of greenhouse gases’ metrics.

“I have asked for transparency on how these numbers are developed and used, and have gotten no substantive answers in response. All we’ve received are broad public pronouncements that these numbers are to be used by departments and agencies when purchasing any goods or services, and when reviewing any proposed energy or infrastructure projects as they see fit.

“Again, the irony is astounding for those of us looking at this from a realistic point of view. The same White House boasting about infrastructure investments and growth is simultaneously hamstringing itself with climate mandates and memos that will impact millions of workers, families, and employers across America with all of the details hidden from the American public.

“After three years, there’s a clear message Mr. Kerry and President Biden need to understand: Regulations meant to signal climate action that don’t follow the law and aren’t based in reality are not the answer.

“There is a better way, one that we will unite us, and actually make our nation and world healthier and stronger.

“I’ve said many times before that our energy and environmental policies do not have to be at odds. So, instead of targeting natural gas production which was the major reason America reduced its emissions over the past 20 years, we should continue to support it.

“Doing so will boost American energy, make for a better environment, and help our allies abroad all at the same time.

“We can also support the future expansion of nuclear energy, which is already an emissions-free lynchpin of America’s energy grid, by enacting policies to drive development here on our shores and help it grow.

“And we can move ahead with permits for carbon capture, use and storage in states who want to harness innovative technologies, create jobs, and protect the environment all at the same time.

“There is room for that, if we stop the hyperbole and alarmism we so often encounter when discussing the issue.

“When I and so many Americans hear the ‘shut it all down’ comments from the ‘climate czar’ that are then mirrored in actual regulations from the federal government, it isn’t helpful and history has shown it only hurts us.

“So, as Mr. Kerry exits the State Department, let’s take stock of the path the Biden administration has taken us down. It’s clear we must reverse course, leave behind the unworkable proposals and job-killing overreach, and work together to allow realistic solutions to thrive here in America.

“With that, I yield the floor.”

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