Barrasso Opening Statement on Bills to Secure American Uranium, Renewable Diesel & Sustainable Aviation Fuel

July 28, 2022

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a legislative hearing to examine and receive testimony on a number of energy related bills. Barrasso introduced three of the bills discussed at the hearing. 

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Mike Wech, administrator and chief executive officer of Southwestern Power Administration; Ms. Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Matt Leuck, technical services manager at Neste, U.S.; and Mr. Jeff Navin, director of external affairs at TerraPower. 

For more information on witness testimony and to see the full list of bills examined click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thanks for holding today’s legislative hearing. 

“I’m going to limit my comments to the three bills, which I have introduced. 

“The first is S. 3856, a bill to ban the imports of Russian uranium. 

“Earlier this year, Congress signaled its support for banning imports of Russian energy fuels. 

“Our efforts effectively forced President Biden’s hand. 

“In March, the president announced that he would ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal. 

“But President Biden chose not to ban imports of Russian uranium. 

“Russia’s currently our fourth largest uranium supplier.

“Russia’s sole nuclear company also accounts for about half of the world’s uranium enrichment. 

“And it was founded by President Vladimir Putin. 

“Let’s be clear about what this means. 

“By purchasing Russian uranium, we continue to fund Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

“If we are serious about choking off funds to the Russian state and helping the people of Ukraine, then we need to ban imports of Russian uranium. 

“The time for sitting on our hands is over. 

“My second bill is S. 4066, a bill to promote the domestic production of high-assay low-enriched uranium.

“This is a specific type of uranium that will fuel America’s advanced reactors. 

“That includes TerraPower’s Natrium reactor, which will be built in my home state of Wyoming. 

“It also includes X-energy’s reactor, which will be built in Senator Cantwell’s home state of Washington. 

“Currently, there are only two sources of high-assay, low-enriched uranium: one is Russia and the other is the Department of Energy. 

“My bill would ensure that companies, like TerraPower and X-energy, have a domestic source of high-assay, low-enriched uranium. 

“Specifically, it would require the secretary of Energy to produce this fuel from its excess inventories of highly enriched uranium. 

“It would also require the secretary to make sufficient quantities of high-assay low-enriched uranium available for the initial needs of our advanced reactors. 

“At the same time, the bill would accelerate the commercial availability of this fuel here in the United States. 

“If our advanced reactors are to succeed, we must help them secure the fuel they need here at home, in America. 

“My last bill is S. 4038, a bill to promote the production and use of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. 

“Renewable diesel offers among the most promising means to reduce carbon emissions from heavy-duty trucks. 

“Likewise, sustainable aviation fuel offers among the most promising means to reduce carbon emissions from aircraft. 

“Unlike conventional biodiesel, renewable diesel can meet the same technical specifications as petroleum-based diesel.

“That means there are no physical limits to how much renewable diesel can be used in today’s engines, fuel pumps, storage tanks, and pipelines.

“This bill would require the secretary of Energy to report on the domestic production and foreign imports of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. 

“That includes the type, volume, and origin of feedstocks. 

“This bill would also exempt renewable diesel from outdated and unnecessary labeling requirements. 

“My home state of Wyoming is a leading producer of renewable diesel.

“And that renewable diesel is used in California. 

“Last year, the California Air Resources Board wrote me explaining that existing labeling requirements are inhibiting the greater use and production of renewable diesel. 

“The bill that Senator Feinstein and I have introduced would solve that problem and allow California and other states to use much larger volumes of this fuel. 

“I want to thank the witnesses for joining us today. 

“I look forward to your testimony. 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”