Recent Op-Eds

There’s No Substitute for Energy Security

By Sen. John Thune

April 28, 2023

A reliable, affordable, and secure energy supply helps to reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect our national security. Over the last few years, though, the Biden administration has used the heavy hand of government to discourage production of conventional energy in the United States, shocking utility and fuel prices, increasing our dependence on foreign energy, and imperiling our energy security now and into the future.

In his first week in office, the president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands, sending a clear signal to American oil and gas producers that his administration would take little interest in increasing domestic energy production. The president, with the help of congressional Democrats, continued this hostile agenda by raising taxes on domestic energy producers, which will further increase South Dakotans’ energy bills. And now, the president is pursuing a host of regulations that will effectively require two out of three new cars to be electric in the next 10 years, increase costs on truckers, and shutter power plants in 22 states.

Hardworking Americans are feeling the consequences of the president’s anti-conventional energy agenda. Since the president took office, the cost of energy has increased by more than one-third, and the national average for a gallon of gas hasn’t been below $3 in nearly two years. Rather than shifting to policies that deliver for working families, the president has doubled down on his Green New Deal-style agenda at home and sought foreign oil from countries that often don’t share our interests.

I’ve long been a supporter of renewable energy, and I’m proud that South Dakota is a leader in clean energy sources like hydroelectric and biofuels. But the president’s singular focus on transitioning to green energy is a problem because we still need conventional fuels to deliver dependable and affordable energy to Americans. The nation’s largest electricity grid operator recently warned that fossil fuel power plants are being forced to retire twice as fast as renewables can be brought on line, which is a recipe for blackouts, brownouts, and power rationing.

The Biden administration made the right decision by allowing the summertime sale of E15 fuel for 2023, an effort I led in the Senate. Filling up with E15 saved Americans $57 million at the pump last summer, and renewing this policy will provide relief from an expected surge in gas prices, especially as the summer driving season gets fully underway. But more needs to be done to secure reliable and affordable energy in the long-term, including making year-round E15 sales permanent.

Republicans are committed to supporting alternative energy while responsibly developing and deploying the conventional energy we need to keep the energy grid reliable and Americans’ energy costs down. The Republican-led House of Representatives recently passed a comprehensive bill to advance conventional energy development and clean energy technologies while reversing some of the president’s most harmful actions. Unfortunately, Democrats have declared this common-sense bill to bolster U.S. energy security “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

The dangers of President Biden’s misguided green transition are clear. It’s time for the president to work with Republicans toward an all-of-the-above energy policy that balances clean energy development with maintaining our energy security today. Doing so will bring down costs for South Dakotans in the short-term and promote America’s economic strength and national security in the long-term.