Just when many of us were starting to feel the relief of lower gas prices, President Obama put forward a plan to increase the...

Kristi_Noem_portraitJust when many of us were starting to feel the relief of lower gas prices, President Obama put forward a plan to increase the price at the pump by about 25 cents per gallon.  Obviously, he does not recognize that many people are just trying to keep their heads above water financially.  Why hike costs when people are finally getting some room to breathe?

Earlier this month, President Obama put forward his final budget proposal.  Included in it was a $10.25 tax on every barrel of oil.  GasBuddy.com’s Patrick DeHaan reacted saying, “This proposal would trickle down and be a $10 per barrel tax on motorists – or 20 to 25 cents per gallon on refined fuels…. It will likely be completely passed to consumers in the years ahead.”  The White House confirmed DeHaan’s assessment, saying: “We recognize that oil companies would likely pass on some of the costs.”

Why would the President offer up such a hard-hitting tax?  To support his environmental agenda.

Time and again, this administration has put its anti-energy agenda above your financial security.  He rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have offered much-needed revenue for cash-strapped South Dakota counties.  He also announced a rule last month that would stop coal production on federal land as well as one that would make it more difficult for companies to produce oil and natural gas on federal land.

Perhaps the most concerning was the administration’s greenhouse gas proposal, which the President admitted would “necessarily skyrocket” energy costs for families.  By that he meant electricity costs could increase by as much as $17 billion nationwide and put a quarter-million people out of a job every year, by some estimates.  In South Dakota, power providers have already said wholesale electricity rates could increase by 40 percent, if changes aren’t made to the President’s plan.  Already, families in our state earning less than $50,000 per year spend one-fifth of their after-tax income on energy costs, which is double the national average.  Many can’t afford to pay even more.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s greenhouse gas proposal earlier this month – temporarily, at least.  As the judicial system is doing its job, I’ve been working in Congress to stop the President’s proposal as well. More specifically, we’ve passed legislation to stop it, although the President chose to veto it.  I also cosponsored legislation, which has already passed the House, requiring bureaucrats to institute regulations based on sound data and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.  It seems like commonsense – or something that should be happening already – but it isn’t, so I’d like to write that requirement into law.

We all want to preserve our environment for future generations, and in a place like South Dakota where we largely make our living off the land, that is especially true.  But that preservation should be done through innovation, not regulation. I’ve fought hard to make it easier to invest, produce, and build smarter technologies in America, but President Obama has opted for Washington bureaucracy instead of American ingenuity.


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