Recent Op-Eds

Pain at the Pump

March 2, 2012

During the 2008 presidential election, then-candidate Obama stated that under his policies, energy costs would necessarily “skyrocket.” That same year, when national gasoline prices hit an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon, then-candidate Obama also said that he “would have preferred a gradual adjustment” to higher gasoline prices.

After three years of the Obama Administration’s policies, gasoline prices have officially doubled from $1.85 per gallon in January of 2009 to $3.70 per gallon in February of 2012. Worse yet, some analysts are predicting $5 per gallon gasoline as soon as May. 

It seems that increasing the cost of gasoline is one campaign promise President Obama has kept.

This dramatic increase in gasoline prices is crushing American families and small businesses who are still dealing with a historically slow economic recovery. In South Dakota, and other rural states with vast distances between towns, increases in gasoline prices cause great economic strain. The financial pain of high gasoline prices is not just limited to filling up our own vehicles, however. The price to transport the goods we use each and every day increase with higher gasoline prices and these costs are passed on to consumers. Additionally, high oil prices significantly increase the cost of doing business for our farmers and ranchers whose operations rely heavily on oil for inputs like fertilizer and diesel for their tractors and other equipment.

Unfortunately, President Obama is making the situation worse by restricting access to reliable energy sources here in America. The president often likes to say he supports an “all of the above” energy approach, but what he really means is “none of the above.”

After three years of extensive review, President Obama recently rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 20,000 jobs and delivered up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, America’s largest trading partner, and the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana.

Additionally, he has reduced the number of new offshore leases by half over the next five years and reinstated a moratorium on 97 percent of offshore areas, decreased new permits to drill in federal onshore and offshore areas by 40 to 50 percent, implemented a national backdoor energy tax through the unprecedented regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, and specifically targeted the oil and gas industry with new regulations, such as Tier 3 gasoline standards that could drive up the cost of gasoline production by up to $.25 per gallon.

I believe we need a true “all of the above” approach that would increase domestic production of oil and decrease prices at the pump. Increasing our domestic energy production would not only increase the global supply and decrease prices, it would help put America in control of our own energy destiny, rather than in the hands of unstable Middle Eastern countries.

The president's "none of the above" policy is simply not an energy plan and will keep us beholden to foreign sources of energy well into the future.

Recently, we learned that Senate Democrats agree with the president’s approach of outsourcing American energy and jobs when Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to go hat-in-hand to Saudi Arabia and beg them to increase their oil production by 2.5 million barrels per day. Simply approving the Keystone XL pipeline, drilling in ANWR, and opening up the Eastern Gulf of Mexico alone would produce 3 million barrels per day, as well as more American jobs.

The United States can and must begin to control its own energy destiny. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact policies that will increase American sources of energy to protect South Dakotans’ checkbooks from skyrocketing gasoline prices.