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Affordable Energy for South Dakota

In South Dakota, we have scorching hot summers and frigid winters. This means we require reliable, affordable energy to keep our homes and businesses at a comfortable temperature year-round. Thanks to the Missouri River, South Dakota produces and uses a significant amount of renewable hydroelectric power. We are also one of the largest wind power resources in the nation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind power provided around 30 percent of our total net electricity generation in 2016. Hydroelectric power provided more than two-fifths of South Dakota’s net electricity generation last year, the largest share of any energy source in the state. According to the Department of Energy, almost 94 percent of the energy we produce in South Dakota is renewable.

Additionally, our neighboring states provide us with natural gas and clean coal. We rely on this diverse array of energy sources to power our lives. Maintaining steady, balanced energy production allows us to meet our own energy needs, export energy around the world, create jobs here at home, grow our economy and strengthen our national security.

Since being elected to the Senate, I have served on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. One of our committee’s roles is to oversee the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the previous administration, the EPA overstepped its boundaries by attempting to implement the Clean Power Plan, or CPP, by regulatory fiat. I was firmly against this plan, which would have resulted in sky-high energy costs for consumers, all with very little benefit to the environment. It threatened job creation and economic growth. CPP was a prime example of ‘government-knows-best’ rulemaking in which government regulators attempted to circumvent Congress and implement this costly new plan. Fortunately, the Supreme Court blocked the implementation of CPP after more than two dozen states called for it to be stopped, and President Trump signed an executive order in March 2017 to suspend it as well.

The EPA recently announced their proposal to replace CPP, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, or ACE. This proposed rule, which is open for public comment and has not yet been finalized, respects the rights of individual states in setting energy policies that work best for them. I support this administration’s goal of providing reliable, affordable, clean energy to South Dakota families and businesses while at the same time working to protect our environment and natural resources.

According to the EPA, the proposed ACE rule would establish emissions guidelines for states to develop their own plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This means that South Dakota will have a strong voice when it comes to federal energy rules that affect us. During the previous administration, rules and regulations were promulgated with very little regard for the businesses and individuals who would have to abide by them. I appreciate that the current administration is attempting to regulate thoughtfully, and is taking into consideration the needs of the people who will have to follow their regulations.

I will continue working to promote South Dakota’s energy priorities, and am happy to work with the EPA as they seek to protect our environment and natural resources while providing reliable, inexpensive energy to families across the country.