Leaders Discuss Future of Energy, Climate Change Policy: Natural Gas a Top Solution in Fireside Chat
(Washington, D.C.) –Former Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL) and former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) held a fireside chat with Congressman Steven Horsford (D-NV), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), on the energy challenges and opportunities Black Americans face today. In their conversation, the three discussed the opportunity that natural gas presents as a solution to lower emissions and as a means to provide reliable, affordable energy for American families while creating jobs for millions of working-class Americans.
The need to address climate change has prompted leaders nationwide to consider alternatives to coal and heating oil to meet the nation’s clean energy goals. As climate change continues to rise in the priorities of lawmakers, the discussion during the CBC Foundation 52nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) centered around ensuring that historically overlooked communities have a voice in our energy future.
Rep. Horsford talked about the need to have an all the above energy strategy in America, with natural gas as a key element along with renewable energy, to achieve reliability and affordability for all communities.
“Yes, we do have a climate crisis,” said Rep. Horsford. “And that is why the legislation that’s been passed under President Biden and Vice President Harris is all about making the largest investment of any country in the world. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to convert to it overnight without the technologies, without the investments, without the infrastructure. That’s why it’s important to have natural gas as a reliable energy resource, in addition to the fact that it provides a ton of jobs and good paying jobs, union jobs that really do benefit the communities, particularly rural areas.”
Rep. Meek brought attention to the heavy burden of climate and energy on Black Americans. The former Florida lawmaker recently joined the Natural Allies Leadership Council – a national coalition that is raising awareness on why natural gas is best partnered with renewable energy like wind and solar as a pragmatic way forward to accelerate clean energy goals.
“Black communities shoulder the burden of coal-burning infrastructure that drives up their risk of respiratory illnesses,” said Rep. Meek. “Infrastructural and economic racism means many Black families struggle to pay their energy bills; installing solar panels is just not a realistic option for them. This is unsurprising when you consider the low representation of Black Americans within the energy sector – only 17% of which are in leadership positions. We need to make sure the voice and message of Black Americans is taken seriously in our conversations to build a cleaner, healthier future.”
“When it comes to energy policy, we need to think creatively,” said Sen. Landrieu, co-chair, Natural Allies Leadership Council. “While we work hard to land on bipartisan policy solutions to the climate question, there are folks all over the country who are concerned with how they will stay warm with winter approaching. Renewables are not yet an answer for middle-class Americans who are struggling to pay their bills, and we cannot overlook them. I am proud of the work we have done in Louisiana to fight climate change while maintaining affordability and creating thousands of jobs.”
Infrastructure for renewable energy takes time to build and is not always reliable, causing cities to utilize carbon-intensive sources like coal and heating oil during the cold winter months. Natural gas, said the policymakers, is the most realistic solution that can be deployed immediately as we continue to develop renewable energy infrastructure to reach the demands of America’s cities.
About Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future
Natural Allies is a 501c4 not for profit organization that seeks to better inform the public and policy makers about why natural gas is best partnered with renewable power sources to accelerate our clean energy goals. Among the industry leaders supporting Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future are: The Williams Companies, Kinder Morgan, TC Energy, EQT, National Fuel Gas, Enbridge Inc., Quanta Services, Inc., the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Union of Operating Engineers, Pipe Line Contractors Association, American Pipeline Contractors Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), INGAA Foundation and American Public Gas Association (APGA). To learn more visit: naturalalliesforcleanenergy.org.