Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC — 
Senator John Thune (R-SD) tonight issued the following statement in response to the President's 2007 State of the Union address:

"I applaud the President for proposing ambitious plans to address unique challenges and important national priorities. I was specifically encouraged to hear the President lay out a bold agenda for increasing renewable energy research and production. America needs to wean itself off foreign oil supplies that come from increasingly unstable and unfriendly parts of the world. I support efforts to make a shift toward cleaner, more cost-effective, home-grown sources of energy like ethanol and biodiesel. This transition is critical for our national and economic security, our environment, and the agriculture producers in rural America who supply the alternative fuels industry.

"Tonight's address also put forth an initiative to make health care available to the growing number of uninsured Americans. This proposal is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction and I look forward to seeing more details. I welcome President Bush's commitment to renew No Child Left Behind, keeping the core principles of accountability with the goal of providing children with the quality education they deserve. These goals, coupled with fiscal discipline, are important steps we should be taking to ensure a stronger and more prosperous America.

"On the global stage, it is clear the terrorists have made Iraq the central front in their war against America and freedom. Failure in Iraq would embolden the enemy and put American security at grave risk. Tonight's speech sent an important message to our troops when they need it most: Americans stand behind you and we support you as you fight to win.

"Going forward, we must work together, Democrats and Republicans alike, to strengthen America from within, with policies to lower taxes and grow the economy, while bolstering our national security by stamping out terrorism at its source. With a new majority in Congress, we have the opportunity to put past differences aside and come together to make a positive difference for all Americans."

More on energy…

"The President's proposal to expand the 7.5 billion gallon annual Renewable Fuel Standard, which I worked to include in the 2005 Energy Bill, to a 35 billion gallon Alternative Fuel Standard in 10 years, would create thousands of jobs in rural communities and benefit South Dakota's farmers and producers who are already leading the way in renewable fuel production. Cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from switchgrass and other native grasses, would help to dramatically boost our nation's ethanol industry over the next decade. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I look forward to playing a role in bolstering alternative fuels production as we work to pass the Farm bill later this year.

"As the U.S. increases its domestic supply of alternative fuels like ethanol, we also need to ensure these fuels are accessible to the American consumer.

"While more than 6 million flex-fuel vehicles are on the road today, and our nation's auto manufacturers have pledged to produce more, less than one percent of our nation's gas stations have alternative fuel pumps such as E-85 ethanol. I recently introduced a common-sense bipartisan solution to help close this gap in distribution. My bill, S.331, the Alternative Energy Refueling Systems Act, would provide gas station owners with grants to install alternative fuel pumps—giving more consumers the opportunity to fill up on cleaner, American-grown fuels.

"With increased funding for alternative energy research and exploration, America has the resources and wherewithal to meet its own energy needs. We need to be vigilant in taking steps to increase domestic production and access to alternative fuels, and I'm hopeful tonight's speech will accelerate those efforts."