Recent Press Releases

Thune: It’s Time for Biden to Prioritize American Energy Independence, Increase Biofuel Blending

“The president has pursued an energy agenda that has done next to nothing to help drive energy prices down – and is, in fact, almost guaranteed to increase energy prices long-term and increase our reliance on foreign sources of oil.”

March 16, 2022

Click here to watch the video.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today called on President Biden to prioritize American energy independence. Thune noted that President Biden could immediately set us on a path to lower energy prices by announcing that his administration will get serious about expediting American production of oil and gas and restoring the year-round sale of E15.  


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


“Mr. President, on Thursday the February inflation numbers were released, and the news wasn’t pretty.


“Inflation for February was 7.9 percent – the highest inflation since January of 1982.


“January 1982.


“40 years ago, Mr. President.


“We’re in the grip of the worst inflation in 40 years.


“American families have been hit hard by this crisis, as the price of everyday necessities has soared.


“And energy prices, particularly gas prices, are one of the top challenges facing Americans.


“Energy prices are up 25 percent on average from a year ago.


“Electricity is up 9 percent.


“Propane, kerosene, and firewood are up 19 percent.


“Utility gas service is up 23 percent.


“And prices at the pump are up 38 percent.


“The national average for a gallon of gas was $4.31 on Tuesday – up from $2.86 a year ago.


“That’s $1.45 more per gallon.


“That’s a big problem for American families.


“And it’s a big problem for our entire economy.


“High energy prices don’t just have an impact when Americans fill up their cars – they affect prices across the economy.


“High energy prices drive up the cost of operating a factory. 


“They drive up the cost of raw materials.


“And they drive up the cost of getting goods to customers.


“Mr. President, President Biden would like to blame the inflation situation, particularly energy prices, on Vladimir Putin.


“I don’t need to tell anyone how ludicrous this is.


“Our inflation crisis has been going on for a year – Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine three weeks ago.


“I’m afraid passing the buck to Putin doesn’t hold water. 


“Now it is true that the uncertainty surrounding Putin’s war and corresponding sanctions on Russia are partly to blame for the most recent spike in gas prices.


“But had gas prices been lower to start with, Americans wouldn’t be feeling the sanctions-triggered bump to the extent that they are.


“Mr. President, Democrats’ American Rescue Plan spending spree helped create our inflation crisis. 


“And Americans need look no further than the White House when wondering how the United States, a recent net exporter of energy, is not on stronger footing to weather these tumultuous times.


“The president has pursued an energy agenda that has done next to nothing to help drive energy prices down – and is, in fact, almost guaranteed to increase energy prices long-term and increase our reliance on foreign sources of oil.


“From the moment he took office, the president sent a negative signal to energy producers by making it clear that his administration was not going to be embracing conventional energy production.


“He set the tone for his administration on day one by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline – an environmentally responsible pipeline project that was already underway and that was to be paired with $1.7 billion in private investment in renewable energy to fully offset its operating emissions.


“He also almost immediately froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands – sending a clear signal to oil and gas producers that his administration would be reluctant to work with them to increase American energy production.


“Now President Biden has recently been touting the number of available permits for oil and gas development.


“Which is positive as far as it goes, but new permits have dropped precipitously this year.


“And issuing permits alone isn’t enough to get development going.


“The Biden administration has thrown up roadblock after roadblock to actual energy development.


“Companies are struggling to break through regulatory red tape to actually get oil and gas development up and running.


“For example, they’ve struggled to obtain right of way to build essential development infrastructure, like access roads to oil rig sites.


“They’re also struggling to get timely pipeline permits to transport the oil and gas they extract.


“Unfortunately they know exactly how this administration feels about building pipelines.


“And the Biden administration is fully responsible for these problems.


“The administration has the ability to immediately take action to expedite American oil and natural gas development by clearing away the red tape companies are facing.


“It’s refusing to do so.


“Instead, President Biden seems ready to increase our reliance on energy imports from despotic governments and volatile areas of the world.


“That’s not acceptable.


“Mr. President, energy independence – relying on homegrown production instead of foreign energy sources – is key for a number of reasons.


“For starters, energy security is national security.


“The more we rely on imports from other countries, the more we’re dependent on those countries.


“We’ve seen that during the current conflict in Ukraine.


“European countries like Germany have been unable to divest from Russian energy because they rely on that production.


“Without Russian energy, more than one country in Europe would face a dire energy shortage – as Putin is well aware.


“We don’t want to give another country that much power over us.


“Energy independence, and the robust energy production that comes with it, also reduces the risk to Americans from price spikes in the global market.


“The more oil and gas the United States produces as a share of the global market, the more we’re able to influence global supply, which is the leading driver of costs.


“Mr. President, the Biden administration has not been good for American energy independence.


“We’ve increased our reliance on foreign sources of energy during this administration, including our reliance on Russian energy production.


“And now that we’ve banned Russian energy imports, President Biden seems ready to replace Russian energy not with increased American production, but with oil and gas from human-rights-challenged countries like Venezuela.


“Mr. President, I realize that President Biden and many Democrats would like to see the United States focus solely on alternative energy production.


“But the fact of the matter is that we are a long way from being able to rely exclusively on alternative energy technologies.


“Whether Democrats like it or not, our country is going to need oil and natural gas for quite a while yet.


“And all of Democrats’ wishful thinking isn’t going to change that.


“And the answer is not to get that oil and natural gas from despots and volatile areas of the world, but to get it from American energy production.


“Mr. President, President Biden and his administration may not be solely to blame for high gas prices.


“But they have the power to help lower energy prices by unleashing American energy production – all of it, both alternative and conventional.


“And they are responsible for their failure to do so.


“We need an all-of-the-above energy policy that embraces everything from oil and gas to hydroelectric and nuclear to solar and wind.


“And when it comes to alternative energy production, we need to invest in all proven clean-energy technologies – not just the administration’s preferred technologies, like electric vehicles.


“The administration has neglected important clean-energy technologies like biofuels, which have demonstrated significant emissions reductions versus conventional gasoline.


“As a resident of a rural state, I’d like to see the administration get serious about leveraging American agriculture as an energy solution and work to expand biofuel production and consumption.  


“This means not only setting robust blending targets and rejecting specious small refinery exemptions, but approving advanced fuels from corn kernel fiber and restoring the year-round sale of E15.


“Last week I led a letter to the president with the Democratic whip and colleagues of both parties urging the president to enable E15 to be sold during the upcoming travel season to provide Americans with a lower-cost fuel that would help displace Russian oil.


“Yesterday, the president’s press secretary said E15 was on the menu.


“It deserves real consideration.


“American drivers can’t afford for the president not to take action.


“Mr. President, the president could set us on a path to lower energy prices today by announcing that his administration will get serious about expediting American production of oil and natural gas.


“If he fails to do so, then he really will be responsible for the prices Americans are facing at the pump – and for the hit our national security will take from our increasing reliance on foreign sources of energy.


“I hope the president will decide to unleash American production – and put our nation on a path to long-term energy independence.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”