Noem: Energy unleashed | TSLN.com

Noem: Energy unleashed

With conflicts arising in energy-rich areas of our world, the importance of North American energy independence to our wallets, economy, and national security increases every day. Last week marked six years since permits were first filed to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline, a critical channel when looking to achieve a more abundant, affordable, and secure energy supply.

I am a strong supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Moving oil by pipeline has shown a number of public safety benefits. Doing so could also pull oil off the railroads, thereby allowing rail companies to focus on moving our commodities to market. The U.S. State Department has confirmed the pipeline's construction will have no major climate impact. And the construction of the Keystone XL promises to create thousands of jobs.

I have cosponsored the Northern Route Approval Act to move the project forward. I've written to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting he support the immediate approval of the pipeline. I've also joined more than 145 Members of Congress in reaching out to President Obama to encourage immediate approval. The administration and U.S. Senate have refused to advance the project.

Moving forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline is only part of what is necessary to achieve North American energy independence. I believe we need an all-of-the-above energy solution that includes natural gas, wind, biofuels, clean coal, renewable energies, and domestic oil. To accomplish this, energy innovators need Washington to get out of the way and stop burying American energy opportunities in red tape, taxes and mandates.

Consider the natural gas industry. Today, it is a reliable and affordable fuel that has moved us toward more energy-efficient utilities. Those advancements weren't possible until Washington stepped out of the way and allowed companies to explore for natural gas.

Over the last few years, I've worked to provide similar opportunities for other sectors of the energy industry. I'm proud to have led efforts in the House to extend tax credits for wind energy. I've fought back EPA regulations that threaten to increase electricity costs for hardworking families living paycheck to paycheck. And I've voted for legislation that would improve America's energy infrastructure so we can better use upgraded technologies.

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Our economy and our security are reliant on an energy supply that is accessible, abundant, and affordable. Without North American energy independence, countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela can manipulate the marketplace, using energy as a political weapon against us and our allies. Meanwhile, many believe some of the beneficiaries of our Middle East oil purchases could be using revenues to fund terrorist activities and organizations.

We should be powered by American energy. Relying on imports from Russia and Iran is not only inefficient, but a foolish risk to our economy and security. Constructing the Keystone XL pipeline is step one. It will help us transport North American energy resources more affordably and in a more environmentally-conscious way. But we must also focus on the larger effort of getting Washington out of the way of energy innovators. We have the potential; it just needs to be unleashed.

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