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Morgan Griffith: Jobs in the energy sector

morgan griffith“There’s no place like home.” Many Americans understand what Dorothy means when she says those words in The Wizard of Oz. We certainly do in Southwest Virginia, which is a fine place to live, work, and raise a family. Southwest Virginians are ready to work in the economy of the 21st century.

Part of this economy will no doubt include energy production. Energy has long been a major industry in our area, and with our abundant natural resources, there is no reason why it can’t be adapted for incorporation into America’s energy future. The economy of the 21st century can take root right here, encouraged by the hard-working people, low cost of living, and access to key transportation routes that our region provides.

I have consistently put forward proposals that would help Southwest Virginia diversify in the energy sector, including securing grant money to redevelop abandoned mine lands and introducing legislation, now signed into law, to streamline permitting for closed-loop pumped storage hydropower projects.

Unfortunately, a proposal by the new Democratic majority, as currently written, would not offer our citizens the ability to shape our own future without having to seek employment options elsewhere.

This legislation is numbered H.R. 1315. It was recently introduced by Subcommittee on Energy Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL) and was also the subject of a legislative hearing. It supposedly creates a workforce for clean energy jobs. Related legislation was introduced in past Congresses as a bipartisan effort. This year, however, Democrats opted not to cooperate, introducing their version without input from the Republican cosponsor of earlier versions or Republican committee staff.

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee did not even make their draft of H.R. 1315 available to the public. As I write this, days after the legislation was the subject of a hearing, the text is still not available on, where bill information is publicly posted.

H.R. 1315, assembled without any input of Republican members or staff, spends far too much, and the spending will go to urban areas, offering little to the broad swaths of the United States like Virginia’s Ninth District outside major cities. Although the bill’s cost is considerable, none of this funding will go to fossil fuel-related industries, even though coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels will continue to be part of America’s energy mix for the foreseeable future.

When the Subcommittee on Energy met to discuss the legislation, I asked the witnesses how H.R. 1315 would help our communities. Although they offered predictions about the bill’s general impact, none could cite any benefits for residents of areas like the Ninth District.

Southwest Virginians want to participate in America’s energy future, and we shouldn’t have to leave just to find work. But it will be more difficult when congressional majorities legislate without including us, or indeed, much of the country between the coasts. From my position on the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as my new spot on the House select committee on the climate, I will continue to fight for an economic future that respects our homes and our way of life.

Congressional Art Competition

Each year, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors the Congressional Art Competition, which provides a venue for students across the nation to showcase their artistic talents. The winner from each congressional district has his or her artwork displayed in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I am constantly impressed by the creativity and skill Ninth District students show in their submissions. Last year, Jade Williams of Carroll County High School won the competition with her work, “Papaw’s Porch.”

The theme for this year’s contest is “Handmade and Homegrown in the Ninth District.” I look forward to seeing how the young artists of the Ninth District will use their talents to explore this theme.

To read the complete listing of rules and guidelines or download the Student Release Form for the Congressional Art Competition, please visit Faculty or students with any additional questions about the competition can also contact my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

augusta free press
augusta free press