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Thune: Biden’s War on Conventional Energy Has Major Consequences

“By discouraging investment and curtailing the areas available for domestic production, the president is setting us up for a future in which we have to rely on other countries for a significant part of our supply.”

May 1, 2024

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the dangers of the Biden administration’s heavy-handed and radical energy policies, including a new ban on energy development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Thune also noted that President Biden’s attempt to force the widespread adoption of electric vehicles while simultaneously pushing regulations intended to shutter coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation would place tremendous strain on the grid’s ability to deliver affordable and reliable energy.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. President, ‘Amid explosive demand, America is running out of power.’

“That was the title of a Washington Post article this March highlighting some of the challenges facing our nation’s electric grid.

“‘Vast swaths of the United States,’ the article noted, ‘are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid.’

“Mr. President, the state of our nation’s electric grid is becoming a matter for serious concern.

“Our grid has been weakened by increased demand and the move away from conventional energy sources, and we are rapidly approaching a situation in which there will not be sufficient electricity to keep up with demand.

“And it is against this backdrop, Mr. President – against the backdrop of an aging, weakened grid struggling to meet even current needs – that the president is attempting to force the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

“Last month – the same month in which the Post published its report on how America is running out of power – the Biden administration finalized emissions rules for cars and light and heavy-duty trucks that will have the practical effect of forcing car and truck companies to electrify a huge portion of their sales lots.

“That will place incredible new demands on our power grid – demands that our grid is unlikely to be able to sustain.

“And to add insult to injury, Mr. President, at the same time that the president is preparing to place enormous new demands on our grid, he’s also implementing regulations that will weaken our grid even further.

“After endangering existing power plants with its so-called “Good Neighbor” rule last year, last week the Biden administration issued new carbon capture and emissions regulations that will reduce the amount of electricity plants provide to the grid and almost unquestionably force coal-fired plants – which still make an essential contribution to our nation’s electricity supply – to close.

“If not overturned, these rules are likely to result in a gaping hole in the United States’ electricity supply – just as the president is forcing more Americans to turn to electricity to power their cars.

“Not to mention the fact that they will saddle consumers and businesses with higher energy costs for less reliable energy.

“Mr. President, when he’s not trying to weaken our electric grid or force a move to electric vehicles that our grid cannot support, the president is taking aim at conventional energy production.

“Less than two weeks ago, the administration announced that it would be banning oil and gas development across more than half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

“It’s not the first time the president has moved to restrict conventional energy development, of course.

“But it was notable for the scale of the restrictions – and for the fact that his target was the National Petroleum Reserve.

“The National Petroleum Reserve was established specifically for the purpose of providing the United States with energy resources – of leveraging our abundance of natural resources to promote our security.

“Now more than half of that area will be closed to development.

“Mr. President, the president’s anti-conventional energy policies have consequences.

“By discouraging investment and curtailing the areas available for domestic production, the president is setting us up for a future in which we could have to rely on other countries for a significant part of our energy supply.

“And that’s a problem – particularly when you consider the fact that that could mean relying on hostile countries.

“As European countries learned the hard way after Russia invaded Ukraine, relying on hostile nations for your energy supply is not a winning proposition.

“Plus, foreign production can be far less environmentally friendly than producing oil and gas here at home.

“While the president fantasizes about eliminating the use of oil and natural gas and forcing all Americans into electric vehicles, the fact of the matter is that we are a long way away from being able to rely on alternative energy production to supply our nation’s energy needs.

“We are going to need conventional energy for quite a while yet.

“And the best way to get that conventional energy is by developing the United States’ abundant domestic resources in an environmentally responsible way.

“We need an all-of-the-above energy policy that embraces the full spectrum of available resources, from alternative energy technologies to existing coal-fired and future natural gas-fired generation.

“Mr. President, between overloading our electric grid and discouraging future conventional energy production, the president’s energy decisions and regulations are painting a bleak future for American consumers.

“But there are things we can do to check the president’s irresponsible policies.

“Thanks to the efforts of Senator Sullivan and Senator Ricketts, we will soon have a chance to vote on a Congressional Review Act measure to overturn the emissions rules that will force car and truck companies to electrify a huge portion of their sales lots – and strain our electric grid even further.

“And I anticipate Senate Republicans will also soon challenge last week’s power-plant rules.

“And I hope – I really hope – that there are at least a few Democrats who will join us to overturn these regulations.

“Our grid simply cannot bear the burden of the president’s new policies – and if Democrats care about more than winning votes from environmental radicals, they will see that and vote to overturn these regulations.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”