By Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Last week I was proud to participate in National Clean Energy Week, which is hosted annually to bring together industry leaders, lawmakers, and advocates to talk about ways we can improve our renewable energy sector. Finding innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions from existing energy sources and new ways to harness clean energy secures a cleaner, healthier planet for generations to come.
National Clean Energy Week offers us the opportunity to recognize innovative policies that allow the United States to limit greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating the economy and creating alternative jobs. I am proud to represent Iowa, which has been a net exporter of energy since 2008. With over fifty percent of electricity generated from clean energy sources, Iowa leads the nation in renewable energy production.
Clean energy sources, including renewable liquid fuels, renewable natural gas, organic materials, wind, and solar energy create affordable electricity that powers our transportation, residential, and business sectors. Iowa’s vast farmland allows solar and wind to thrive, and Iowans are constantly seeking new ways to expand our clean energy sector. This has brought jobs and revenue to Iowa and has helped the United States to be energy independent.
I have made clean energy legislation one of my top priorities in Congress. In July, I introduced the bipartisan Biochar Research Network Act of 2022. This bill would create a National Biochar Research Network where biochar can be further researched and tested. This research includes how well biochar sequesters carbon, improves water and soil quality, retains water to reduce irrigation, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and how it increases crop production, especially in marginal soil. Additionally, I cosponsored Representative Feenstra’s (IA-4) Home Front Energy Independence Bill, which would prohibit the imports of petroleum from Russia while expanding the production and availability of biofuels, eliminating Russian oil, and creating jobs in Iowa, and voted for the Food and Fuels Act which permits year round sale of E-15.
Last week I had the honor of being recognized as a “Clean Energy Champion” by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions for my commitment to conservative climate-friendly legislation that promotes innovation and alternative forms of energy. I will continue to support and introduce legislation that takes an “any of the above” approach to meeting our increasing energy demands and promotes economic competitiveness globally. I hope that as we continue to expand renewable energy at home, my colleagues will look to Iowa as a framework for the future.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.