Politics: Infrastructure bill represents significant opportunity to support public power

GOP Senate candidates align with Trump in bashing bipartisan infrastructure bill

  GOP Senate candidates align with Trump in bashing bipartisan infrastructure bill Sen. Rob Portman, the longtime Washington veteran and savvy deal-cutter, is on the cusp of achieving a major bipartisan achievement that would amount to a capstone of his three decades of public service: The Senate's passage of a roughly $1 trillion package to rebuild the nation's infrastructure.Sen. Rob Portman, the longtime Washington veteran and savvy deal-cutter, is on the cusp of achieving a major bipartisan achievement that would amount to a capstone of his three decades of public service: The Senate's passage of a roughly $1 trillion package to rebuild the nation's infrastructure.

As Congress and the Biden administration close in on a deal to pass a significant investment in our nation's infrastructure, the not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities that power close to 2,000 towns and cities nationwide have a major stake in the contours of the final legislation.

Infrastructure bill represents significant opportunity to support public power © Getty Images Infrastructure bill represents significant opportunity to support public power

Public power utilities serve more than 49 million Americans, power 2.6 million businesses, and employ 96,000 people. For some context, the population of Canada is 37 million people.

As the voice of these utilities, the American Public Power Association (APPA) supports many of the provisions in H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, currently under consideration by the House of Representatives.

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  Biden delays Pope trip for crisis talks on infrastructure bill Joe Biden will fly to Europe on Thursday later than planned, delaying his trip to try and reach a deal on his flagship infrastructure plan. Biden is facing objections from within his own party.Biden was due to fly to Rome early on Thursday, ahead of his Friday audience at the Vatican.

Throughout the debate over this legislation, there has been widespread recognition that state and local governments often bear the primary responsibility for building and maintaining our nation's critical infrastructure.

In no area is this responsibility more apparent than the responsibility of these local governments to provide safe, reliable power to their residents. Cities and towns own most public power utilities, but many are owned by counties, public utility districts, and even states.

With that perspective in mind, public power utilities are closely watching several provisions in the bill's latest version.

The bill includes significant investments in energy infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the transmission and distribution systems that make up our electric grids, cybersecurity, and federal research, development, and deployment of cutting-edge energy technology. Robust federal support remains critical as public power utilities continue to transition to cleaner energy resources while simultaneously keeping their rates affordable and ensuring reliable service for their customers.

The US needs an infrastructure bank that models the World Bank

  The US needs an infrastructure bank that models the World Bank Congress should seize the opportunity to create an institution independent of government, separate from the appropriations cycle, and capable of bringing large-scale, permanent, long-term funding to bear. That is the way to jumpstart our infrastructure and launch a new era of American productivity.The Infrastructure Financing Authority could not have achieved these goals. As proposed, the IFA would have been a limited, government-dominated institution, with Congress directly controlling board membership, management structure and compensation.

As an example, APPA strongly supports the creation of a Department of Transportation grant program for entities, including public power utilities, to deploy alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure such as electric and hydrogen vehicle fueling stations. This funding, and grants to states for electric vehicle charging equipment, will help public power utilities as they support the specific transportation needs of their local communities.

Additionally, the bill funds essential programs to prevent outages and increase grid resiliency, deploy innovative smart grid technology, and add appropriations for the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to assist low-income families with their energy costs.

These common-sense programs will help ensure millions of public power customers continue to receive safe, reliable power in the face of growing and varied challenges that can cause service disruptions. These challenges range from cyberattacks on critical infrastructure to extreme weather - both of which have made headlines this year.

Voters oppose holding infrastructure hostage

  Voters oppose holding infrastructure hostage In the view of those surveyed, if representatives believe that the infrastructure bill is good for Americans, they should vote for it. If they don’t, they should vote against it. The poll results suggest that it will be very hard for both Democrats and Republicans to defend any other position in next year's midterm congressional elections.Keith Allred is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) and a former professor of negotiation and conflict resolution at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2011, the University of Arizona created NICD with founding honorary co-chairs George H.W.

With regards to cybersecurity, a reliable energy system is paramount. In partnership with the federal government, the electric utility industry has made strides in addressing cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities in recent years. But we must remain vigilant and redouble our efforts to keep pace with the changing grid and security threat landscape. This need is why APPA strongly supports the bill's increase in funding for energy sector cybersecurity.

Of particular importance to APPA members is the bill's requirement that the Secretary of Energy carry out a program to promote and advance the physical security and cybersecurity of electric utilities, prioritizing those with fewer resources. This provision builds on the existing successful public-private partnership between APPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) to bring greater resources, training, and cyber and physical security tools to small- and medium-sized electric utilities. By empowering the DOE, we can ensure that all appropriate resources keep our utilities and electricity infrastructure safe.

House Progressives and moderates united to pass a massive infrastructure deal

  House Progressives and moderates united to pass a massive infrastructure deal Democrats passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but their larger climate and social spending bill is still in doubt.The result was a major step forward for President Joe Biden’s agenda, but a blow to progressives who’ve long pushed for the two bills to be tied together. Progressives were able to extract a commitment from House moderates to vote for the spending measure by November 15, although that pledge came with an important caveat.

As public power utilities continue their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, public power utilities appreciate that the infrastructure bill builds on the success of the Energy Act of 2020 to fund DOE research on a host of innovative technologies, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, energy storage, advanced nuclear, and solar power. Maintaining and enhancing hydropower as a generating resource will also be critical to ensuring reliable power during this transition. APPA strongly supports the provisions of the bill that increase incentives for hydropower production and improvements.

Public power utilities genuinely appreciate that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recognizes the importance of energy infrastructure. It is no exaggeration to say that our energy infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economic and national security and is vital to the health and safety of all Americans.

We urge congressional and White House negotiators to continue to treat energy infrastructure as a front-burner issue in the infrastructure bill by supporting public power utilities in their mission to provide reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity to the American people.

Joy Ditto is president and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

13 Republicans under fire for breaking ranks on infrastructure bill .
Thirteen GOP lawmakers came under fire after bucking the party line and voting in favor of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with several defending their decisions Saturday morning. © Provided by Washington Examiner The lawmakers were slammed by those on the Right, such as Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for their votes in favor of the infrastructure bill, after which several of the 13 lawmakers took to Twitter to defend their votes. Republican Reps.

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