I believe it is vital we continue to bolster our nation’s energy independence, especially given our nation’s current economic situation. Transitioning to renewable fuels, such as wind energy, ethanol, and biodiesel, helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil while providing a much-needed boost to our economy by creating jobs and decreasing energy costs.

In addition to these homegrown fuels, domestic production of oil and natural gas is a critical component to America’s energy security. Advancements in oil extraction have allowed for expansive oil production from the Bakken formation in neighboring North Dakota. This increased domestic production capacity has led to the need for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have the capacity to transport approximately 830,000 barrels of oil per day to refineries throughout the United States. This will include 100,000 barrels of U.S. Bakken oil per day, which would relieve over one unit train per day and help alleviate the rail bottleneck that has severely limited farmers and other shippers from moving commodities and freight in a timely manner. The State Department estimates that the Keystone XL Pipeline has the potential to support 42,000 immediate jobs during construction and generate an estimated $17.8 million in revenue through local property taxes for South Dakota alone. However, President Obama continues to block the construction of this much-needed infrastructure despite widespread support and numerous reports from his own State Department debunking attacks from environmental groups.

Fuel costs have a direct impact on families, farmers, and small business owners across South Dakota. It is critical that Congress act to preserve low fuel prices and work to lower the cost of energy for all Americans, encouraging domestic oil and natural gas development while investing in the next generation of biofuels. However, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed rules that would drive up energy costs and place unnecessary regulatory burdens on energy producers. The EPA has proposed a backdoor energy tax under the guise of combating greenhouse gasses, which would require South Dakota to decrease its carbon emissions 35 percent by 2030. South Dakota households with annual incomes below $50,000 already spend one-fifth of their after-tax income on residential and transportation energy costs—double the national average—and should not be subjected to this additional government overreach.

South Dakota’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors are energy-intensive and particularly susceptible to higher energy costs. The EPA projects that natural gas prices will increase by over 11 percent on account of this new regulation, translating into higher costs for fertilizer and manufacturing in South Dakota.

It is because of EPA regulations like this that I have cosponsored legislation to ensure that before the EPA administrator establishes any new regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions on new or existing power plants that the regulation will not destroy jobs, will not slow economic growth, will not increase electricity rates, and electricity delivery will remain reliable.

As your U.S. Senator, I am committed to supporting policies that will increase our domestic energy security, create jobs, and provide affordable energy for South Dakota families and small businesses.