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Restoring Energy Security with America’s Resources

By Sen. John Thune

October 21, 2022

South Dakotans are no strangers to challenging winters. Freezing temperatures are inescapable in the Great Plains, and it unfortunately looks like the frigid winter winds will bring with them record-high energy costs this year.

We are currently experiencing the longest streak of double-digit increases in utility bills in decades. Utility gas is up 33 percent, electricity bills are up 15.5 percent, and home heating costs are expected to rise 28 percent this winter. Today, it costs nearly $1.50 more for a gallon of gas than it did when President Biden took office, and South Dakota producers and truck drivers are paying twice as much for diesel in the peak of the fall harvest.

The way out of this energy crisis is simple: unleashing American energy production. Responsibly developing our vast energy reserves, as well as leveraging homegrown biofuels, is essential to ensuring our nation’s economic and national security. But from canceling the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office to discouraging investment in our oil and gas sector with a radical environmental agenda bent on stifling the energy production we need, President Biden has shown a hostility to American energy that puts our energy and national security at risk.

One in six households is behind on a utility bill, yet Democrats recently approved billions of dollars in new taxes and fees on conventional energy producers that will increase energy development costs and household utility bills. Then, rather than encouraging actual production of oil, President Biden has drawn down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to its lowest level since 1984, mortgaging U.S. energy security to soften painful and unpopular high gas prices right before an election.

President Biden and Democrats have made it clear they want a Green New Deal future. I have long supported alternative energy, including the abundance of wind and hydroelectric resources we have in South Dakota, but this technology has not advanced to the point where we can solely rely on it. A truly “all-of-the-above” energy strategy can leverage America’s vast natural resources, from fossil fuels to wind and hydroelectric power as well as biofuels and nuclear. This approach limits our reliance on foreign sources of energy while our own energy sector evolves. The Biden administration rejects this strategy at its own peril.

We don’t have to look far to where Democrats’ single-minded energy agenda will take us. California’s overreliance on alternative energy has resulted in an electrical grid that is incapable of sustaining the state’s demand. As a result, this summer, residents were asked to ration their energy use. In New England, households are bracing for exceptionally high energy costs this winter because they have chosen to depend on foreign gas rather than build the infrastructure needed to utilize American natural resources.

We know the right solution is unleashing and encouraging domestic production of conventional energy. It’s how we became energy independent three years ago – something we need to return to as soon as possible. High prices – for energy and just about everything else – have become the distinguishing feature of the Biden economy, and it is harming South Dakota families and small businesses every day. Unless the president changes course, high energy prices and dependence on foreign energy will help define his legacy.