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On behalf of Americans for Prosperity in West Virginia, I urge you to support legislation repealing the ban on construction of nuclear power plants. This repeal would end the 25-year-old ban which restricts West Virginia from developing an innovative all-of-the-above energy approach. The federal government has recently taken important steps to remove and streamline some barriers to licensing for small modular reactors, West Virginia should remove unnecessary barriers for the creation of affordable and reliable energy.
I urge you to support Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 2882, Repealing the Ban on Construction of Nuclear Power Plants. We may include these votes in our 2022 legislative scorecard.
We have the same nuclear energy capacity in the U.S. as we did in the 1990s, and the average age of our nuclear reactors is 39 years old. More than a dozen states have restrictions on new nuclear reactors. There is also a variety of federal red tape adding years of delay to permitting, licensing, and other barriers to new nuclear units. Embracing the free market and unleashing entrepreneurs toward developing new technology has proven far more effective at protecting our environment and protecting ratepayers than any top-down mandate or regulation.
More than 30 million American households face high energy burdens and pay a substantial portion of their take home pay for electricity, heating, and fuel. The lowest income households devote more than 20 percent of their after-tax income on residential utilities and gasoline. Overregulation and barriers to the production, transportation, and consumption of energy would only make things more expensive for Americans while doing nothing to improve the environment. The United States has led the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the last two decades not because of command-and-control regulation, but bottom-up innovation.
Artificial barriers (bans, moratoriums, lengthy, and expensive permitting processes) result in a net loss for the economy. Ultimately, these actions result in consumers having to pay higher energy prices, hurting us all, especially the least fortunate in our society.
While there are currently more than a dozen states with bans or restrictions on nuclear power construction, an increasing number are repealing these efforts. Legislation recently passed in Montana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin with previous efforts being made in West Virginia, Hawaii, and Minnesota. Legislative attempts to repeal bans and restrictions on the construction of nuclear power plants should be supports and promoted because artificial barriers and regulations in the energy space make us less prosperous and secure.
We strive to let the market deliver the right mix of energy at the lowest cost, we support energy policies that are fuel and technology neutral.
West Virginia should continue to embrace the bottom-up innovation that will result in leaps in efficiency far greater than any artificial barrier.
We urge you to support Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 2882. These votes may be recorded in our 2022 legislative scorecard.